The Rookies: Preseason Lessons And A Familiar Face

Brady Pataki - Sudbury Wolves

Brady Pataki (left) warming up prior to a Sudbury Wolves preseason game, next to linemate Michael Pezzetta – Contributed Photo

With training camp behind them, Brady Pataki and Joseph Raaymakers suited up for their respective OHL teams for the first time in preseason action, and started to learn about the level of play the OHL offers, while preparing for their season.

“The speed is on another level, will definitely take some time to get used to and guys are stronger, you have to compete that much harder to be successful,” said Pataki of the challenges of playing his first OHL games with the Sudbury Wolves.

“I found that the speed was quicker, but it was consistent throughout the whole game,” added Raaymakers, of getting his first preseason start with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. “Also, all the players are very skilled that you have to be aware of.”

At least in their their earliest preseason action, the duo saw a familiar face on the ice, each other. However, after spending years as teammates with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, Pataki and Raaymakers were pitted against one another. In round one, of what could become a regular occurrence for the pair, Raaymakers made 32 saves and took the win in a 6-1 victory for the Soo Greyhounds over Sudbury.

“It was cool facing Joe and knowing that we are both doing well,” said Pataki, whose Sudbury Wolves beat the Greyhounds a few nights later. “But in another sense you want to compete and try to win.”

“It was different seeing Brady coming down with the puck on me but I enjoyed playing against him, it reminded me of our battles in practice last year,” added Raaymakers. “As Brady said you still have to compete and do your best in order to win.”

With the competition for a roster spot behind them, the two rookies will now compete for ice time as the regular season gets underway later this month.

Now, the real work begins, and both Pataki and Raaymakers are looking forward to achieving their goals in the early stages of the season.

“I want to do the little things right,” says Pataki of his focus for the start of the season. “Once I get that down big things will start to happen for me,” added the six-foot-three forward, who won’t turn 16 until almost a month into the season.

“My goal for the start of the season is to learn from my mistakes,” says Raaymakers. “And to be better than I was yesterday. Finally every opportunity I get, do my best.”

The best is all coaches can ask of young prospects such as Pataki and Raaymakers. With such high hopes placed on both however, scouts and coaches will be watching, and expecting that best every shift.

Raaymakers and the Soo Greyhounds kick off their 2014-2015 OHL regular season September 26 when they host the Sarnia Sting. Pataki and the Sudbury Wolves also open their season September 26, when they host the Niagara Ice Dogs.

“The Rookies” will be a season long feature following 16-year-olds Joseph Raaymakers and Brady Pataki as they enter the Ontario Hockey League. The Rookies will chronicle what it’s like to be an OHL rookie hours away from home, for two Chatham-Kent hockey players. We’ll follow all aspects of Raaymakers and Pataki’s lives, both on and off the ice, throughout their rookie seasons. Chatham’s Raaymakers, a goaltender plays for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, while Wallaceburg’s Pataki, a forward, plays for the Sudbury Wolves.

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