Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bantam Huskies overcome Hanna Colts in close, aggressive game

Josh Davis

The Crowsnest Pass/Pincher Creek Bantam Huskies have another win under their belts this season. On Saturday December 19 they hosted the Hanna Colts at Pincher Creek's Memorial Community Centre Arena. The game was high intensity and aggressive, and was tied 1-1 throughout the majority of it. The Huskies were playing well, but were hindered by penalties. They cleaned their game up in the third period however, winning 4-2.

#8 Brendan Roncin of the Colts scored the first goal of the game six minutes in, assisted by #18 Brenden Mckillop and #7 Devan Boos. #9 Spencer Dorge followed it up with a goal of his own, assisted by #11 Kyle Gualt. The Huskies were playing a solid defensive game even one man down, but they couldn't afford all of those penalties. Huskies goaltender #1 Wesley Krampe was in great form in this period, making crucial saves that kept the score tied. The Huskies had four penalties to the Colts single penalty in this period.

The Huskies were looking like a slightly stronger team than the Colts, but had difficulty converting it onto the scoreboard. Colts goaltender #29 Logan Pedersen was also in great form, and neither side scored a single goal. Tempers ran high, and the Huskies had a total of 18 minutes of penalty time in this period, to 4 minutes for the Colts. The Huskies were even in a 3 on 5 situation, but they've learned how to play through penalties, keeping control of the puck and waiting out the timer. Krampe was still in the net for the Huskies, and he was putting work in, making a great save in a one-on-one situation.

The Huskies cleaned things up in the third period however, only taking a single penalty. The Colts, seemingly emboldened by calls in the earlier periods, became more aggressive themselves, taking 8 minutes of penalty time. Dorge three goals in this period, including one in the final seconds on the game, and was assisted once by Gualt in one the first tie-breaking goal. The Colts #4 Liam Mckeage scored a single goal in this period, assisted by Roncin, but it was too little too late.

I'm a linguist, not a sportsman. I can say with certainty that every coach and referee in the league knows the game better than I do. But it appeared as if not all of the penalties in this game were the fault of the kids playing it. At a certain point, coaching staff need to be able to recognize and accept that the official refereeing their game is their referee. Engaging in a public insult war week after week with the officials can make a person, their team, and their town look bad. Furthermore, it doesn't encourage a referee to rule in their favour. At a certain point it doesn't matter how great a coach is with their kids. When they behave in this way they aren't setting an example; they're letting their kids down and encouraging bad sportsmanship from every player, coach, and official in attendance.

"They're coming along. It seems like our first year kids are getting a little more used to body checking, so that's a big thing," said Huskies Assistant Coach Rory Snider after the game about their progress in this season. "They're starting to play better as a group. They've still got a ways to go with some of the systems that we're trying to teach, but that'll come. Christmas is always a good judge for us."

Coach Snider said his team is doing very well in their tier. "I think a lot of it is they're playing more as a team, as a whole instead of as individuals." Snider called the first two periods "very physical. We had a lot of selfish penalties, and we probably played a full period shorthanded there. We've always told the kids that we're a better team when we're five on the ice. We asked them to try and stay a bit more disciplined in the third period, and it showed."

"Every game you play the referees are the bad guys,"said Snider. "Whatever call they make 50% of the time somebody is not happy with it. So its a tough thing for them. I always say that the referees have a different vantage point than we do as coaches, They see the game differently. They do the best that they can. Its a fast game and they've got to make reaction calls and sometimes the calls go our way, and sometimes they don't. That's part of hockey."

Snider said that Spencer Dorge was his pick for the days Most Valuable Player on offense. "His shots counted. It seemed like every game Spencer is doing pretty good for us. But we need other kids to step up, we can't just rely on a couple of kid's strengths. And it just comes down to confidence. Creating those chances and trying to capitalize on opportunities."

Snider said his pick for an MVP defensively was Lydon Ewen. "He was pretty solid back there. We've got some work to do on our defense, but I think that in our own end they've done fairly well for us. We just need to have those guys jump up and help out offensively."

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