Thursday, September 29, 2005

Plymouth alumni advancing in pro game

Chad LaRose was a big-time scorer for the Plymouth Whalers.

Tim Sestito was not.

Even so, both have been making headlines recently as they advance their professional careers.

Both were never drafted by an NHL team, but both are now bonafide pro material, especially LaRose.

The Fraser native set a Whalers' record in 2002-2003 with 61 goals and after the season signed with the Carolina Hurricanes. The past two seasons, he has played with the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL and Florida Everblades of the ECHL, but that looks to change this year as LaRose has all but assured himself of a roster spot in Carolina with a strong pre-season performance.

"So everybody else is seeing what I'm seeing," Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette said on Carolina's team website when asked about LaRose's ability. "It's hard not to like him."

LaRose, 23, said his lack of size (5-foot-8, 175 pounds) has been a knock as long as he has been playing hockey, so it doesn't bother him as much as it once did.

"That has been my whole life. I just try to prove people wrong and play with what I've got, right?" LaRose also said on the site.

Sestito, on the other hand, won't be skating in an NHL rink this year, but he will get to see the ECHL. Last season's co-captain earned a free agent tryout with the Edmonton Oilers this summer and ended up at Hamilton's AHL camp, where he signed an ECHL contract with the Greenville Grrrowl, another Oilers' affiliate.

"Edmonton's camp went really well," said Sestito, 21. "I had a great time and I think I made a good impression. The Greenville opportunity came up through my play with Edmonton."

While with Hamilton, Sestito became reacquainted with a former teammate during a pre-season game Sept. 27.

"(Hamilton's camp) has been fun," added Sestito. "I played against John Mitchell and that was different after playing with him for so long (in Plymouth)."

The original story on Sestito getting a tryout with the Oilers is here.

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