Junior B Hockey: Joel Mazzilli’s shot a strength that does the heavy lifting for junior B team

He doesn’t play for a powerhouse.

His twin brother Noah is no longer on his line — or team — to help out.

But in his first year of junior hockey, no one is putting the puck in the back of Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League nets better than Komoka Kings forward Joel Mazzilli -writes lfpress.com.

“The opportunity I had with ice time and the way things have fallen, I’ve been able to contribute on a nightly basis,” the recently turned 18-year-old Londoner said. “I don’t think I’m surprised by it. I’ve always had the ability to score goals.

“My shot is one of my biggest strengths.”

Mazzilli has 36 tallies in 42 games — 14 of them on the power play. He has accounted for an even 30 per cent of the Kings offence.

Komoka has some budding young talent, but it’s no team of snipers yet.

“I try to take on a lot of responsibility every game that if we want to come out on top, I have to score,” Mazzilli said.

He did just that last month, burying the overtime winner in a much-celebrated victory over the front-running London Nationals, the junior B juggernaut’s only loss since mid-November.

“That has been the highlight of our season,” Mazzilli said. “We went through a stretch where we didn’t have a full roster. We were short players and didn’t win too many games. But now, it’s better, and we feel like there should be a lot more highlights than just beating London that one time.”

They’re still in a battle for a playoff spot with Strathroy and St. Marys. But unlike most of their years spent in Lambton Shores, Roop Chanderdat’s Kings are the team being chased.

“The expectations have grown,” the former Jr. Knight said. “I’ve had lots of fun so far. The rink is 10 minutes from my house. I think the move to Komoka has been very good for the team and will help draw more players.

“After a few additions, there’s more energy and confidence in the room. We’ve had great coaching. (Assistant and ex-NHLer) Jason Williams has given us tons of useful information.”

It’s a little strange not to be playing with sibling Noah, who spent 10 games as an affiliated player with the Kings until opting to play high school hockey with Laurier.

“A bit different, since we’re so close and played together our whole lives,” Joel said, “but there were times we weren’t on the same line and I learned to play away from him. So this is just one of those times.”

Mazzilli still has OHL aspirations. His rights are held by the Niagara IceDogs and he plans to attend training camp again in the fall.

For now, he wants to help the Kings reach the post-season and challenge to win a series.

And the 40-goal mark isn’t out of the question.

He’s in good shape, but it won’t be easy.

“I’ve seen it a lot where the other coaches are matching their top defencemen against our line,” he said. “We’ve seen it more lately than the start of the year.”

The way he’s scoring, he better get used to it.

Read more news of London on our site.

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