The Long Drive Home

Tales from the Timebox: March 26th, 2019

The drive home is always shorter if you win. The Midget Avalanche put up a gallant effort this past weekend at the Midget B Provincial finals in Calgary but failed to make it into the finals or semi finals.
The weekend started off great on Thursday night during the skills competition our very own team captain Nick ‘Sparky’ Anderson was the only one, out of nine other team captains, to hit the net from the far blue line.

Game 1

The next morning, the Avalanche played their very first game defeating Edmonton SEERA 5-2. Sparky with a goal and two assists, ‘Lightning Liam’ Ludlage, Dallas ‘Cowboy’ Bristow and ‘Hank the Tank’ Rogal with the other goals. Charlie ‘Chuckles’ Rogal with an assist and ‘King Cole’ Bendixen with a helper as well. A half page of penalties on both sides of the sheet. The Avalanche cashing in on the power play; but did well and never allowed a goal while short handed.  Goalie Colton ‘Colt 45’ Van Maarion was solid between the pipes facing 29 shots.

Game 2

The second game, later that afternoon, the Avalanche rolled over the eventual Silver Medal winners La Crete Lumberjacks 6-1. A fantastic game for the team captain Sparky Anderson who scored a hat trick including one short handed and assisted on two others. Another goal each for the Cowboy and Lightning Liam. Liam’s big brother, the bruising blue liner Hayden ‘Hot Wheels’ Ludlage finding the mesh with one too as well as adding an assist. King Cole and Jaden ‘Jet Stream’ Van Maarion each had an assist.  Not near as many penalties in this game. Possibly a different referee who may allow them a little more liberties or just a clean game.

Game 3

Two wins to end the day on Friday, the Avalanche looking like they will make the semi at this point with no problem. The next morning it was a whole different story though, against the strong team from Airdrie, who had a full bench of bigger players and took it to our guys 7-2. The Avalanche taking quite a few penalties, Airdrie scoring two goals on the power play and one while short handed.  Sparky and King Cole with the goals for the Avalanche, brothers Lightning Liam and Hot Wheels with two assists each.

Game 4

The final round robin game was that day against the host team from Spring Bank Calgary. The Avalanche with a win would be guaranteed in the semi finals for sure,  Not a great start for the Avalanche though. Down by three goals in the first period and then down 5-0 after 40 minutes, the coaches would rally the troops and add 2 goals in the third. The final score 5-2 for the host.
Sparky and Evan ‘Batman’ Ockerman scoring for the Avalanche at this point in the tournament, three teams in our pool were tied with two wins each.  The Avalanche with the best goals for and against average would still be in the semi final on Sunday if Airdrie defeated LaCrete in the last game of the day Saturday. Don’t need to ask who the Avalanche would be cheering for;  Airdrie of course.
Airdrie with three wins, didn’t need to win to get in. Fate wasn’t in the hands of the Avalanche though, LeCrete defeated Airdrie and the Avalanche were packing up their bags and heading north.
Not making any excuses but lots of what if’s. What if the Avalanche had a full 17 skaters like some of the teams instead of 12 or 13. What if this was a 8 team tournament instead of a 10 team tournament? One less round robin game. What if the Avalanche had a better draw, played one game Thursday like some of the teams?  Instead of two game Friday and two Saturday. Would that make the difference? Or was the B provincial teams just that much better than a C or D provincial tournament?  The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.

Graduating Players

At the end of the day our guys still made us very proud. Some of them playing in their very last minor hockey games. Tears for sure for team captain Sparky Anderson, Dusty Pankiw, Hayden Ludlage, Chase Dorey and Tyler Jamieson. Thanks guys for all the great memories and highlights. Good luck in all your future endeavors whatever they may be.

Out of town players

In out of town action, Camrose product, novice aged defenceman, Bode ‘the Badger’ Bassett going coast-to-coast scored the game winning goal and was named the game MVP in the B final of a tournament held in Edmonton. Wonder whose grandson that is?
This coming weekend the annual Jim Vinge memorial tournament will be on Friday through Sunday. Guess I better get my skates sharpened!
Pro Tip: The kids are on spring break this coming week, the arena will be open every afternoon for public skating and shinny. And if they’re bored and burned out from hockey, the snow was great this past Sunday at Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort, just outside Cold Lake. Take the kids up there for the day.
K.A. Campbell quote of the week. Hockey players wear numbers because you cant always identify the body with the dental records. Author unknown.