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Whalers' Connor Carrick Fitting In With New Team

Plymouth plays in London today, then takes on the Knights in St. Thomas, Ontario, on Saturday

When he’s not coaching the Farmington High School hockey team, Mark Vellucci works as a referee and linesman at various levels of the game. 

He was working the Plymouth Whalers Training Camp scrimmages last week as a referee at when he said in the middle of the action, “What’s the deal with (number) 28?  Is he another Beau?”

Vellucci was referring to departing Whalers defenseman Beau Schmitz and new Plymouth defenseman Connor Carrick, who was acquired by the Whalers earlier this summer in a deal with the Guelph Storm.  Carrick was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 National Hockey League Entry by the Washington Capitals.

If the training camp scrimmages and Carrick’s first game as a Whaler mean anything, there are similarities:

Both are American, right handed and smooth skaters.  Both played for the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor before coming to Plymouth to play for the Whalers.

And while both are known for skating and offense, they see the importance of the other side of the ice as well.

“I try to be an offensive defenseman, but contribute on both sides of the puck,” Carrick said.  “I help out on the power play when I can. “I’m not afraid to play a gritty game, either – I’ll play physically, I’ll block shots, do things like that and help our team win.”

In the Whalers’ 5-3 win in Windsor on Monday, Carrick demonstrated just that, assisting on Ryan Hartman’s goal nine seconds into the first period and playing effectively with defense partner Mitch Jones on both ends of the ice.

“It’s been good,” Carrick said today before practice.  “I’m just trying to get my feet wet, get to know the guys and get to know the systems a little bit.  I get more and more comfortable each day.  It’s been a wild ride getting here, but I’m having fun.”

Carrick went into last Monday’s game at Windsor Family Credit Union Centre already knowing a Spitfire from the NTDP.

“I knew (Patrick) Sieloff, so that was cool,” Carrick said.  “The crowd was great and it was great to get the first-game nerves out of the way.  Obviously we won, so that’s a good feeling.”

Although Carrick and Jones played well together on Monday in Windsor, but that doesn’t mean they are a permanent pairing.

“Pairings have been switched between the scrimmages, practices and the game,” Carrick explained.  “Whoever I play with, I’m going to try to make them as good as they can be on that day and try to be the best I be can on that day.”

Plymouth (2-0) completes the preseason this weekend, playing in London, Ontario tonight at the John Labatt Centre (7:25 p.m., broadcast at www.plymouthwhalers.com) and then playing the Knights on Saturday night in St. Thomas, Ontario, at the Timken Centre.

There will be no broadcast of Saturday’s game.

THE NUMBERS GAME:  After wearing number 32 in the preseason, defenseman Gianluca Curcuruto changed his regular season number from 35 to 32…among the new Whalers, Alex Peters will wear number 2 during the regular season, Steve Duda #9, Zach Bratina #19, Connor Sills #23, Simon Karlsson #27, Connor Carrick #28, Riley Corbin #34 and Alex Nedeljkovic #39.

See the Whalers regular season roster here.

THE WYANDOTTE RECAP; A lot of people worked hard to make the Whalers preseason game in Wyandotte last Saturday a success.  Final figures are being tabulated, but the game was a financial success for the Wyandotte Warriors Hockey Association, Wyandotte Roosevelt Bears high school team and Wyandotte Figure Skating Club.

“I want to thank the Whalers for the help in raising funds for the Hockey Association, Wyandotte Figure Skaters and Roosevelt High School Hockey,” said WWHA President Lee Shifflett.  “We will put it to good use.”

JOIN THE OFF-ICE OFFICIALS:  The Whalers are looking for a good few men or women to help with the Plymouth Off-Ice officials crew.  The off-ice officials work as goal judges, tabulate plus/minus figures, maintain the Ontario Hockey League’s on-line scoresheet for all Whaler home games, work the penalty box area and other duties.

The position is non-paying, but gives the off-ice officials a unique and up-close view of the Whalers and the Ontario Hockey League.

If any one is interested, please contact Plymouth Whalers Director of Communications Pete Krupsky at (734) 453-8400 or email Pete atpeterk@plymouthwhalers.com.

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