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Another Soo Eagle lands in the OHL - Junior Hockey News
Published: Thursday, 5 Jan 2012
Soo Eagles have developed yet-another player for the Ontario Hockey League.
Earlier this week, the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL promoted 1995 birth year defenceman Ramon Lopez from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League Eagles.
Lopez made his OHL debut with Saginaw on Wednesday in a 5-0 loss to the Plymouth Whalers.
A product of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Lopez becomes the third player from the NOJHL Eagles program to move up to the OHL this season.
A pair of 1994 birth-year players, goalie Jake Paterson and defenceman Nathan Glass, have been in the OHL since the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Paterson is the no. 1 goalie in Saginaw and Glass has played in all 37 games for the Erie Otters.
Paterson and Glass were both instrumental in helping the Eagles to the 2010-11 NOJHL championship as 16-year old rookies.
As for Lopez, he was taken by Saginaw in the fifth round of the 2011 OHL Draft as a forward. But Saginaw sent him to the NOJHL and the Eagles to develop as a defenceman.
In 23 games with the Eagles this season, Lopez has five points and was becoming one of the team's most-dependable defencemen.
"He was making huge progress with us," Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo said of the 6-foot, 201 lb. Lopez. "It's hard to believe how well he was playing as a first-year defenceman who was a forward before Saginaw sent him to us."
Saginaw's coach, Greg Gilbert, said he couldn't say for sure whether Lopez would spend the rest of the season in the OHL or return to the Eagles.
"But he's one of our top prospects, that's for sure," said the 49-year old Gilbert, who as a player, suited up for more than 800 NHL games with a number of teams.
Saginaw is chasing a playoff spot in the OHL and Gilbert was hired in December to replace the fired Todd Watson as the Spirit's head coach.
Author: Randy Russon
Russon brings a a lifetime of media experience to the JuniorHockey.com staff.
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