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Former Barrie captain providing offence in Owen Sound's historic run

Former Barrie Colts captain Cordell James, left, celebrates with his Owen Sound Attack teammates following Marcus Phillips' second goal of the first period during Ontario Hockey League action against the Sarnia Sting at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound on Saturday. The Attack has now won 13 straight games. James has three goals and two assists in three games since being dealt to the Attack at the OHL trade deadline. JAMES MASTERS/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Former Barrie Colts captain Cordell James, left, celebrates with his Owen Sound Attack teammates following Marcus Phillips' second goal of the first period during Ontario Hockey League action against the Sarnia Sting at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound on Saturday. The Attack has now won 13 straight games. James has three goals and two assists in three games since being dealt to the Attack at the OHL trade deadline. JAMES MASTERS/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Cordell James thought he'd finish his Ontario Hockey League career where he started it four years ago.

But the 20-year-old Hamilton native is a realist and the centre knew that likely wasn't an option with the way the season was going on Barrie.

And he was bang on with his evaluation as he was traded to the Owen Sound Attack.

"I didn't ask for (a trade), so it was more of a surprise," James said prior to scoring twice in Owen Sound's 7-3 win in Guelph on Friday.

The victory extended the Attack's franchise-record winning streak to 12 games. The Attack followed up another win on Saturday, a 6-2 decision over the visiting Sarnia Sting in which James scored his 16th goal of the season and also added a pair of helpers, to push the streak to 13 games.

"I knew that as an overage on a young team in Barrie that there was a chance I might get traded at the deadline,” he said. “I was there for three-and-a-half years and spent all that time with the same billets."

While James is leaving behind teammates, he's not leaving behind many longtime friends.

"It's a new change room this year and everybody I basically played with before is gone so it's nice to get a new start here," said James, who grew up not far from Attack overager Matt Schmalz.

James also went to the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars camp with Ethan Szypula this September.

What the Attack provides James in his final OHL season is a chance to extend it.

"The main goal is to win an OHL championship and I'm happy to come here and help these guys do it," said James, who describes himself as "a two-way centreman.

“I like to take care of my own zone and also chip in offensively as well,” he added.

For the Attack - which traded overager Justin Brack to Niagara to make room for James - the six-foot-two, 221-pound centre gives them more depth.

"He's a proven leader and he was a top-eight guy on a very good team there last year," Attack coach Ryan McGill said.

"He was their leading scorer this year,” the bench boss added. “He's a smart player. He's a heavy player. He's going to give us a lot of depth in being able to play four lines.

“He'll be a real good penalty killer for us and he's great in the faceoff circle,” McGill said. “Depending on what we do with our power play, he's probably going to have an impact there, too, because he's really good in front of the net."

James also wore the alternate captain's 'A' in Saturday's game against Sarnia due to an upper-body injury to defenceman Jacob Friend.

The Owen Sound Attack (29-13-1-0) is now off until Saturday when they travel to Barrie to take on the Colts (12-24-4-1).

bwalker@postmedia.com 



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