Marcus Regina admitted he wasn’t quite sure what to think when the Fort Erie Meteors acquired his rights two years ago.
The 19-year-old Woodbridge native had skated a season with the Whitby Fury of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League when he was dealt to the Meteors.
“I had no clue. I didn’t even know where Fort Erie was,” Regina said. “It was tough but you have to make due with who you’re traded to and make the most of it.”
Meteors general manager/coach Nik Passero was interested in Regina immediately — it’s not often a 6-foot-3, 185-pound power forward becomes available.
“I got him on the ice and saw that for a big man he could move and was offensively talented and we took a shot on him,” Passero said.
Regina skated with the Meteors last season as the team participated in non-contact exhibition games during the COVID pandemic, but this year has really shown his potential. The rugged winger leads the Mets in goals with 18 and is second in points to rookie Joseph Macchione.
“He’s definitely been hot lately,” Passero said. “I wouldn’t say he’s been inconsistent but he’s definitely been ramping it up at the right time. It took a little while for him to get going.”
Regina came into the season with high expectations.
“Last year was tough but I was expecting a good season. We have a good group guys and it’s been good so far,” he said. “I’m very happy but I’ve also worked hard. I love the boys. We have a great group of guys here.”
Regina feels that chemistry has been a big factor in the Meteors strong season.
“It’s really important. It all starts in the room and transfers over to the ice. We can play with each other well and feel we can beat any team,” he said.
Regina was tried on a variety of lines earlier in the year before finding his groove with newcomer Brendan Krawczyk, who is averaging well over a point per game since joining the club.
“We were trying to find a spot in the lineup that would help him succeed. Bringing in Krawczyk, they’ve worked well together and have been hot lately,” Passero said.
Passero loves Regina’s skill set.
“He skates like a 5-foot-7 little water bug,” Passero said. “He’s a monster out there. He leans on guys and if he gets on your shoulder, you’re not stopping him from going to the net. He’s not afraid to go to the net. He’s scored some beauties driving wide and going to the net. He does a good job but there is still more power to get out of his game.”
Passero would love to see Regina return to the Meteors for his final season of junior eligibility.
“He is huge part of our core. There is still a level of his game we can tap.The last month has been really good. He’s very solid defensively and the goals are going in for him.”
The Meteors have won five straight games to improve to 24-19-0-1. They will finish in fourth place and take on the Welland Junior Canadians what will surely be the most closely contested first-round playoff matchup.
“We’re playing well,” Passero said. “The buy-in from the guys has been really good. Of course we would love for the playoffs to start now but there are some things we’re chasing after. We have some team goals so we’re not done yet. The four games the next two weeks aren’t going to be taken lightly. It’s all a ramp-up to the playoffs.”
Regina can’t wait for the post-season.
“I wish they started right now,” he said of the playoffs. “I’m very excited to see what our team can do and see how far we go.”
The Meteors are at Hamilton Thursday and home to Thorold Saturday.
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