The newest member of the NA3HL, the Sugar Land Imperials, finished up their Final Tryout Camp this past weekend and with that brings a promising 2014-2015 season. Their 2013-2014 inaugural season began with missing the draft and being rushed to form a team before the start of the season resulting in a win loss record at home of 7-14-3 and away of 2-14-0. They clinched a playoff berth but had an unsuccessful playoff run. This off-season has been completely different and is showing on the ice.
Matthew Winkle, who is a returning Imperial really stood out on the first day of camp. Throughout the game Winkle was getting on the shot on goal for a rebound and making cross ice passes as well as entering the offensive zone and slowing down to set up the play. Winkle was definitely setting up the players with opportunities to score and showed signs of being a playmaker for this young team. Given the experience Winkle has in this league we can hope he’ll lead the new team down a winning path.
There were goaltender changes halfway through each game and neither were let downs on the silver team. On Sunday first in net was Nick Ross. Throughout one and a half periods Ross faced 13 shots, only allowing two in which gave him a save percentage of 85%. One of the Imperials recent signings Timothy O’Sullivan, played great in net over the weekend as well. O’Sullivan is a solid goalie as well as a homegrown player born in Alvin, TX. He’s played for the Jr Aeros, Team Houston Hitmen, BAHHA and just last season with the Houston Wild. O’Sullivan played during the 2014 USA Hockey National Championship ending with a GAA of 1.18 over a combined 50 shots throughout the Nationals.
The Sugar Land Imperials second season holds a lot of promise and the organization hopes to take the South Division and entire NA3HL by storm. The community certainly has high hopes for them as well and cannot wait for the start of team practices and the season to begin!