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St. Paul Canadiens eager to rebound after close home opener loss to Vegreville

“We want to obviously get in the win column.”

A consistent franchise in the NEAJBHL for the past few seasons, the St. Paul Canadiens are under new direction with coach Shawn Germain behind the bench and new pieces to their lineup to maintain their winning ways.

The Canadiens will have two games this weekend, hosting the Killam Wheat Kings on Friday night and traveling to Vermilion to take on the Tigers on Saturday.

They got off to a tough spot last weekend against the Vegreville Rangers who beat St. Paul 5-4 in their home opener.

“It was a really great atmosphere leading up into that game,” said Canadiens coach Shawn Germain.

“The tailgate party went great so we had a lot of interest. The game was an exciting game and I think we put a good product on the ice. Obviously, the result wasn’t exactly what we wanted. But overall, I think we created the excitement that we wanted and we’ll just have to look forward to our game on Friday.”

“My main thing this year is I really wanted some grit and some hard-working players. I think with the mix that we brought back and the new guys that have come in – I think that we’ve accomplished that.”

An older core of skilled players including captain Dyson Roy, Alex Astasiewicz, Zach Bendall, Brayden Burak, have aged out or moved on, while returning veterans Brayden Goulet, Orrie Wood, and newcomer Tyler Nypower are shouldering the load.

“Brayden Goulet is our captain this year. He was a big part of our team last year. Orrie Wood has been around for a while and he’s one of our assistant captains. It’s great to have Orrie back. You look at [Tyson] Nypower, he’s been a tremendous leader early on.

“A guy like Tison Young, he’s stepped up in a big way. He’s become a great leader. And rounding out our group is Lane Wycotte who just gives you everything he’s got every single night. He more leads by example but he’s still very important for us.”

Nypower was acquired from the Nelson Leafs (KIJHL) over the summer and was impressive in his Canadiens debut potting one goal and three assists.

He’ll be a part of the offensive mold this year, said Germain.

“He’s a super dynamic offensive player. Absolutely great kid. Great attitude. He’s brought a ton of leadership to our group. And we’re really excited to have him.”

He said the team has a couple of goals at practice this week.

“We want to improve our D zone and our power play. Those are going to be two big areas to focus on this week. We know we’re going to get out of these two teams this weekend, they’re going to work extremely hard.

“Maybe adding some battle drills this week will be important for us, too. But it’s gonna be two real tough games this weekend. We want to obviously get in the win column.”