The Beast on the Blueline

Before I get into the man of the hour, Ryan ” The Beast ” O’Rourke, or whatever nickname you want to tag him with, let’s briefly recap this past weekend.
Friday night saw the boys beat the top rated Kitchener Rangers 5-2 and notable players were Zack Trott who finished the game a plus 4, while posting a goal and an assist. In net, second year tender Ethan Taylor played a very strong game and made some timely saves.
Saturday the boys took their game to Saginaw and beat their foe 6-4  in front the of the Dow Event Centre faithful. In net, Christian Propp played a strong game and stalwart defenceman Jacob LeGuerrier had another consistent game posting a plus 4. On the score sheet, Jaden Peca, Cole MacKay, Robert Calisti, and Joe Carroll each contributed 2 points to pace the Hounds.
Next up, the Dogs entertain Sudbury this Saturday evening before a short shift where they will regroup to host the Peterborough Petes during an afternoon matinee at the Memorial Gardens. We are still in a holding pattern and will be for about a month regarding the status of Barrett Hayton, and Nick Malik; although the latter could land much sooner if Kyle Raftis can continue to work his magic. ICYMI, Brett Jacklin has been released by the Hounds and will continue his hockey career while attending university. Best of luck young man. 
Now for Captain Dynamite, Kid Rock, or whatever name you want to use for Ryan O’Rourke. This second year defencman has continued to impress me and has not missed a beat since last year. I like to refer to him as Ryan The Beast O’Rourke, as he plays with such a physical and unstoppable energy.
He hails from Pickering, Ontario and stands over 6 feet tall and weighs in at about 185 lbs. Adding to this is skill in all areas. Ryan is a poised and composed defenceman who has the maturity of a veteran. He knows where his teammates our at all times and rarely makes a mistake on the ice. When he does, he makes up for it. This past weekend Ryan proved his maturity as he not only dished out some heavyweight body checks, but when recieving one, he took it like man… but also took the plate number down.
Last year, we saw Ryan “hot brand” himself into the O with a couple of early season scraps to show the league that he has arrived and that he is not your normal timid and shy 16 year old. ‘I am here… deal with it!’ is what he is saying on the ice with his gritty play. Ryan also showed his skill level last year with a 22 point offering and a plus 8 rating as a rookie. Impressive indeed.
Ryan has also participated in the WHC -17 and I see World Juniors in his future.
Moving on to the games I have witnessed this year, Ryan has shown an extremely high level offensive IQ. Ryan is rushing the play and is not shy about going into the corners deep in the opposing zone. The great thing about this is that Ryan is not lazy and always manages to get back in the play. Rourky gave us a few great highlight reel plays this year so far. A well timed hip check a couple weeks ago saw a Battalion go flying in the air, but the referees for some reason, did not agree and gave him a brutal penaltly. Maturity once again showed as he did not complain outside of a couple choice words and went to the box.
Ryan has also shown strong defensive play by breaking up many two on ones. When #21s partner has been caught up the ice, there is no need to worry. On one of them a couple weeks back, Ryan broke up the play… with his face; I am not sure if it was the puck or stick, but he left the ice obviously in pain and showed his character by coming back 10 minutes later to finish the period.
I spoke with Assistant coach Jamie Tardif recently and he could not agree more about Ryan’s abilities and character. As Jamie said, “Rourky is definitely a leader on the ice, and in the dressing room takes the bull by the horns” in his approach. This shows a lot of character for a second year player and I am sure Coachs Dean and Smith would agree.
Keep it coming Ryan as you are a pleasure to watch.
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Go Hounds Go!
Ernest Skinner