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Sault College hockey set for home opener

The Sault College hockey team, in its first season, is the only Canadian team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association
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Sporting an unbeaten record in regulation time, the Sault College Cougars will get an opportunity to continue that run on home ice this weekend.

The Cougars, 7-0-0-2, are set to face Schoolcraft College in a two-game weekend set, beginning Friday night at the Rankin Arena in what is the first home action for the Cougars in American Collegiate Hockey Association play.

As the lone Canadian entry in the league, the Cougars are playing a shortened home schedule with five games scheduled to be played locally, including the pair this weekend.

For the Cougars, the program and the league is an opportunity.

“The big thing is that it gives some players and opportunity to continue playing,” said Sault College Coach Mike Hall. “Most of them have finished their NOJHL careers and their junior hockey and it still gives them an opportunity to play at a pretty competitive level and something to play for.”

The team played exhibition games against ACHA opponents last winter and the games allowed for the opportunity to see what the competition would be like this season and a chance to build the roster accordingly.

“That’s the big thing,” Hall said. “(Last year’s exhibition games) gave us an idea of what we needed to be competitive this year.”

Offensively, the Cougars have been led by locals Ryan Vendramin, Tyler Brown and Mark Khull, who have all exploded offensively out of the gate.

“The biggest thing is that we’ve got some guys who can put the puck in the net,” Hall said. “Our back end is really quick, and they really move the puck well.”

The team has also benefited from the solid play of blueliners Jared Binguis and Jamie Kamzol, who played in the exhibition series last year. Hall called the additions of Nick Trecroce and Cole Peck important to the success of the team as well.

Set to face off at 8 p.m. tonight and noon on Saturday at the Rankin Arena, Sault College and Schoolcraft College met for a pair of games earlier this season at Redford Arena in Redford, Mich. with the Cougars winning both games by scores of 9-5 and 9-3.