ROOKIES MAKING THEIR TRANSITION TO THE AHL
By Andrew Tressler:
- Head Coach Rob Daum Talks About Plante, Sorochan, Motin
- Alex Plante Talks About Time In Springfield
- Aaron Sorochan Recaps Life In The AHL
December 10, 2009- At the beginning of the season, the Springfield Falcons were a veteran led team with a few rookies mixed in. With the recent transactions, call ups, and injuries, some of these rookies have been called upon to step into a larger role on the team. The Falcons have three rookies who have been on the roster all season long. Goalie Aaron Sorochan, Defenseman Alex Plante, and Defenseman Johan Motin are Falcons rookies who have become essential players each with their own roles on the team both on and off the ice.
Plante is a 20-year old native of Brandon, Manitoba, who before this season played five seasons in junior with the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Calgary Hitmen. The 6-foot-3 Plante took a major step forward during his third season with the Hitmen recording eight goals and 30 assists for a total of 38 points in 58 games. Plante also received 81 PIM during that year. The following year, Plante was hindered by injuries only appearing in 36 games for Calgary. Last season, his final one in the WHL, Plante once again performed well in 68 games with 157 PIM, eight goals, and 37 assists to make up his 45 points on the season.
“It’s definitely different than in junior,” said Plante on the differences between the WHL and AHL, “When you play against boys, now playing against men. Everything’s a little bit quicker, bigger, stronger, and faster so the timing and that sort of stuff is one thing, but everyone is also a lot smarter so you pick up on the little things that guys do to be successful.”
During his first 25 games with the Falcons, Plante has 54 penalty minutes to go along with three assists. As all rookies have, Plante has seen his share of ups and downs this season. But Plante has seen his role on the team increase, especially while playing with fellow blueliner Theo Peckham.
“We both play pretty similar type of games,” said Plante on Peckham, “We both try to take care of our own end first and any sort of offensive thing after that is just a bonus. Whenever you start playing with someone for a long period of time it definitely starts to help as well.”
Plante has also learned from his father Cam Plante who is a former NHL defenseman and brother Tyler Plante who is currently a goaltender in the Florida Panthers organization. Alex Plante has used what his brother and father have taught him about professional hockey to have a better understanding of what needs to be done in order to make it to the next level.
Unlike Plante, Motin has played professional hockey prior to this season in the Swedish Elite League (SEL) since the 2006-07 season. The 20-yeard old Motin has been playing professional hockey with men since was he was 18-years-old. Motin is considered a young mature defenseman with good size and strength.
“He is used to playing against men,” said Falcons Head Coach Rob Daum on Motin’s transition from the SEL to the AHL, “But the pace of the game, the smaller rink are all adjustments that he has had to make. You’ve seen nights where he’s done a good job and you’ve seen other nights where he’s struggled...Overall, I think he’s done a good job. I think he still has a long way to go as far as his play is concerned, but he’s making progress everyday.”
Last Saturday in Bridgeport, CT, against the Sound Tigers, Motin scored his first career AHL and North American goal. Motin also has three assists and six PIM in 25 games with Springfield this season. Motin is also dealing with a facial injury suffered in last Saturday’s game versus Bridgeport. Motin has participated fully in practice this week wearing a full cage facemask as he wore in last Sunday’s game against Adirondack.
While Motin and Plante have had chances to skate in games from the start of the year, fellow rookie Aaron Sorochan is just now getting into a routine of playing on a regular basis. Prior to Goaltender Devan Dubnyk being called up to Edmonton on November 22, Sorochan appeared in only three games, starting two of them. Since then Sorochan has played more frequently and along with Andrew Perugini has replaced Dubnyk in net.
“I think it’s starting to come,” said Sorochan on his progression this season as a rookie goaltender, “I think the results, wins-loss wise hasn’t been there, but with each game I’m growing more and more confident at this level and adjusting to the speed of play.”
The 25-year old Sorochan has appeared in eight games this season posting a 4.00 GAA, .876 save percentage, and 1-5-0-0 record. The Edmonton, Alberta native understands that he needs to just take everything one day at a time and continue to work hard at improving his game.
“You just got to take it in stride,” said Sorochan on dealing with those down games, “It’s a learning process here and you can’t get discouraged. You got to just keep coming out here and keep working hard everyday and things are bound to turn around.”
Sorochan played the previous four years for the University of Alberta, including last season where he was outstanding in goal posting a 15-1-2 record, 1.66 GAA, and .937 save percentage in 1,050 minutes. Sorochan has also played in the Western Hockey League from 2000-05 splitting time with the Prince Albert Raiders, Vancouver Giants, and Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Not only are all three in their first year with the Falcons, but they also live together off the ice as well. Making the jump to the pro ranks can be a unique experience, but Sorochan, Motin and Plante have already shown that their hard-work is paying off as they continue to develop in Springfield.