Don’t Knock it, ’till you Try it

Tales from the Timebox: November 14th

Two, four, six, eight… Count them, eight straight wins this weekend at the A.G. Ross Arena. Six games here on Saturday and six wins for the Avalanche. Two games here on Sunday and two more wins! Plus, a few roads wins in there. One for the Midget Friday night in Mallaig, and one for the Peewee # 3 team, on Sunday in Cold Lake, and another big win for our Bantam girls who are playing with the Tigers in Vermilion!
Earlier this year, Hockey Alberta mandated a half ice system for the youngest group of hockey players, the ones aged 4 to 6, the team we call the Micro-novice. This sounded like a waste of time to me at first. Each hockey association would have to purchase, at a very reasonable price, half boards that were easy to install and store on a special cart. The test came this past Saturday when Micro-novice Avalanche in their very first game of the year had a chance to try it, against the visiting Mallaig team.
After witnessing it for myself, I must say that I, being  one of the negative ones, have changed my mind and was sold on the idea, as soon as I seen the little Mico-novices in action. The half ice gives every kid, no matter what his/her ability, the opportunity to touch the puck. In years past, some players would literally stand in one spot for the full three minutes and never touch the puck. But there’s no standing around for our team this year. They only have 7 players registered in the line up, so only one spare on the bench.  Each one of them scored a goal , or had an assist, or blocked a shot in net.
Scoring right away in the first 30 seconds of the game was Theo ‘Long Horn’ Loughran. He added two more for the hat trick. Jaxon ‘Magic’ Marcoux scored a hat trick. One of his goals going up over top of the sprawling goalie to the top shelf where his mom keeps the cookies. ‘Jesse James’ Penner getting a hat trick and doing some mighty fine defensive work. He looked just like his big brother Nic the ‘Saint’.  Ryder ‘Rhino’ Malo with a hat trick and an assist and some sensation goaltending. ‘Major Tom’ Melnyk with two goals and two assists. William ‘Billy Bob’ Ballas looked sensational when it was his turn in net, blocking shots and clearing the puck to the side, he also scored a goal, fanned on two or three attempts and had three helpers. And, littlest guy of them all on the ice, Lennox St. Arnault was never credited with a goal, but he was working as hard as anyone out there; he did hit the goal post twice. Great job by our coaching staff, Chris Melnyk, Darrel Malo, Tyson Ballas and their team manager ‘Handy Andy’ Andrea Ballas .
Just before the puck dropped in the next game, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the Novice Avalanche stood at attention at center ice for a few minutes to remember those who fought for us in the past and those who are fighting presently, keeping our country free and safe.  Then after making everyone proud, they did one better, coming up with a 10 to 2 win over the visiting Cold Lake team. Sharp shooter ‘Wyatt Earp’ Fontaine, came out firing his six shooter, he put the first three bullets right into the middle of the target, he scored a natural hat trick. Brendan ‘Buzz Saw’ Kadutski cutting a path to the front of the net added two goals, plus two assists.  Miles ‘the Millionare’ Koren cashing in his chips with two goals, ‘Smitty’ Jaxon Smith and the ‘Coyote’ Riley Bourne adding one goal each. Rhyley Kozicky getting an assist. I believe this could be his first point of his minor hockey career; but just like his father Jesse, who played all his minor hockey here, it’s certainly not going to be his last.
Up next at 1o’clock, it was the Atom Avalanche to put on a show. They have been had a tough time winning any games so far this year. But not on this day,, a day to remember against the Vermilion Tigers. They came out skating strong,  even still found themselves down one to nothing at the half way point of the game. Then it was ‘Stellar Ella’ Ballas on the porch knocking on the door who scored the first goal on a tap in for the Avalanche. Assisted by hard working two way player Braylee ‘B.J.’ Lesyk. After that the seal was broken and nothing could hold them back, the flood gates opened up.
Grinder Charlotte Henderson hammering in two goals,  ‘BJ’ Lesyk with a goal . Evett ‘Snoopy’ Smereka with a goal and an assist and some tremendous play in our end moving the puck up. Kaysen ‘Dynamite’ DeMoissac with an assist, plus an number of breakaways that he was stoned on. ‘Hurricane Kayl’ Warawa with an assist and some great fore-checking. The big team leader, D man ‘Cyclone Cole’ Pierce with two assists and some coast to coast rushes with the puck. The final score 5 to 1 for the Avalanche.
The Peewee tier # 3 team has been having a great year so far.  Most of their games resulting within a goal or two. Some of them they win and some they lose; but never have they had a runaway like on Saturday when Lac La Biche came calling. The Avalanche winning this one 21 to 0. The coaches realized very early in the game it was going to be one sided, and doing the smart thing they moved players from defensive to forward giving them a chance to score too and have some of the glory.
Five goals for the slippery Seth Morton. The ‘Bionic Man’ Brady Hymanyk with four goals .  Kaleb ‘Formula One’ Flamand and  Brendon ‘Blue Line’ Haesch-Baker with a hat trick each. Bo ‘Diddley’ Fontaine with two goals , Madden ‘Mad Dog’ Flamand, ‘Wild Wyatt’ Pavol and Gavin ‘Giver’ Kadutski with one each. One goal and three assists for ‘Top Gunner’ Crawford. Dean ‘the Machine’ Ockerman with a couple of assists. Kaylee Radcliffe was set up a few times, but she missed the net. She was awarded the Inspirational Player of the Game by the coaching staff for her efforts.
On Sunday up in Cold Lake they would win again, this one was a bit closer 8 to 2 for the Avalanche.  The ‘Kid’ goalie Kade Fontaine, named the Inspirational Player of the Game. ‘Bo Diddley’ and ‘Formula One’ with two goals each,  ‘Top Gunner’ , ‘Mad Dog’ , ‘Wild Wyatt’ and ‘Blue Line’ with one goal each. Two assists for Timmy ‘the Train’ Cardinal.  ‘Giver’ and Kaylee also on the game sheet with an assist each.
The next team up on Saturday was the Peewee tier # 1 team who  came out flying winning 5 to 1 over St Paul.  ‘Mick Jager’ Fonatine with a hat trick and two assists. ‘King Kong Konnor’ Poitras with two goals and an assist. Fore-check, back-check and ‘Paycheque’ Cash Capjack with two assists and some solid fore-and back checking. Stay at home defensemen Sam ‘Spiderman’ Rogal and Ceajay Quinney also with assists.
Where have all the good teams gone? Or are we that strong ? Wainwright used to be very tough for us to beat at one time. The last game of the day on Saturday at 8pm the Midget Avalanche played the Bisons and walked all over them to the tune of 13 to 3.  The night before in Mallaig the midgets  had a little bit of trouble with the Monarch’s goalie who stood on his head, the Avalanche only winning this one  6 to 3. Then another big win again the next day, on Sunday at 5pm  the midgets hosted Lloydminister taking another  easy one 12 to 1. Way too many goals and assists to list them all, but the boys are playing really well; but I do believe they need to play some tougher competition  so they don’t pick up bad habits, like dipsy-doodling and hot dogging all over the ice. Sure it’s nice to score lots of easy goals, but one day the time will come when you meet up with a tough team , that’s when you need your grinders, who are not afraid to go to the net or into the corners. And that’s when everyone has a job to do on the ice, back-checking and picking up man. That should happen I would hope very soon with the re-tiering at the end of the month.
Only 8 skaters and a goalie for the Bantam Avalanche on Sunday afternoon at 3pm when they hosted Boyle; but that was all they needed to beat them 13 to 3. Once again we have everyone on the team with at least a goal and an assist.  Boyle beat our boys out last year for the opportunity to go to provincials; but this was a totally different team. Only two of their provincial winning players are still on the team, the rest moved up to midgets. Our bantams are very strong and getting into great shape playing every week with a short bench.
Some more great news from our Storm girls playing with the Vermilion Tigers, who with their help did it again this past weekend, winning a very tight game against the Lakeland Jaguars  by a score of 1 to 0. The Jaguars had beaten the Tigers in three early meetings this season; but as Laramie ‘Louis ‘ Parr stated, “the games are getting closer every time we play them”. This victory was a huge confidence builder for the Tigers. Skating and stick-handling through the neutral zone and dishing it off,  Jenna ‘Precious’ Poitras assisting on the only goal that was needed to win the game. It was scored very late in the third period. After that ‘Precious’ took a trip over to the sin bin for being a little too aggressive it seems! The Jaguars  pulled their goalie for the extra attacker in the final minute, but had major trouble getting past the Storm Troopers,  ‘Lady’ Jadey Capjack who plays an awesome game on defense and the fore checking center Sydnee ‘the Kid’ Crawford.
And now for the K. A. Campbell quote of the week. ‘You learn so much from taking chances, whether they work out or not. Either way you can grow from the experience and become stronger and smarter.’ – John Legend