Beukebooms on rival benches now

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

For a moment, Jeff Beukeboom sounded more like the proud father and gleeful Soo Greyhounds alumnus than the assistant coach of bitter, old northern rival Sudbury Wolves.

His boy Brock, a strapping second-year Sault Ste. Marie defenceman, is the surprising leading scorer for the only unbeaten team left in the OHL -- the shocking 5-0 'Hounds.

"Everyone sees they've won five in a row but what not everybody knows is they also went 5-0 in the exhibition, too, so they've really won 10 straight," former NHL blue-liner Jeff said from Sudbury, "and for a team that only won (19) games last year, that's a pretty good start."

For Brock, it adds another dimension to those OHL stories he heard growing up.

His dad always said how great it is to play in Sault Ste. Marie when things are going well.

Nearly 25 years ago, Jeff played for the first Greyhounds team to make it to the Memorial Cup. That skilled Terry Crisp-coached crew went an unmatched 33-0 on home ice.

These new-look Hounds are pretty talented too. And they're all ears.

"It's just the guys all pulling together and buying into what the coaches (led by Denny Lambert) are saying," Brock said. "It's a good feeling (in the dressing room). We're not thinking we're the best team in the league or anything like that. We just want to keep it going.

"I've played on losing teams before and for the older guys, it's tough because it's not a situation they want to be in."

They're doing it without their best two-way forward Michael Fine, who was traded to Kingston yesterday.

They're doing it thanks to emergence of young stars like Brock Beukeboom, who wanted to ensure a duplicate of last season never happened again.

"I'm not a small guy, but last year as a rookie, playing against guys four years older than me, I can say I was a little intimidated," Brock said. "That's not an issue this year."

He fine-tuned his game in the spring under his father's eye at home in Uxbridge. He won gold playing for Canada at the world under-18 summer tournament, coached by former 'Hounds captain Bob Boughner.

"Of course, leading the team in scoring is in the back of your head but that's not what's important," Brock said. "I have a checklist for my season. I want to be known as a penalty-kill specialist."

And keep the winning going -- especially against his dad, who left the powerful Barrie Colts this summer for more opportunity in Wolves country.

"It's great I'll be able to see him once a month when we play each other," Brock said.

And it's pretty neat the son has helped kick-start an early puck party where dad once played.

"We haven't talked about it but there'll be a buzz (in the Soo)," Jeff said. "We've won three in a row here in Sudbury and I know there's a buzz about that, too."

Around the O

With Cody Hodgson back in Brampton, GM and head coach Stan Butler has to decide if it's better to keep him or -- like Oshawa with John Tavares last season -- deal him and speed up a rebuild . . . Saginaw head coach Todd Watson signed a five-year extension and was also elevated to GM. Last spring, the Spirit reached the second round for the first time since moving from North Bay . . . With goalie Josh Unice hurt, the defending Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires have turned to former Tier 2 stopper Troy Passingham, who took two shots at the Saint John Sea Dogs before being waived through the Quebec league. All the 18-year-old has done is rack up three wins with a 1.91 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage . . . Spitfire Taylor Hall is no gimme to win the OHL scoring title. Not with Plymouth forward Tyler Seguin emerging as a force in junior hockey. And they're both just 17.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca


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