TISDALE — The third time has been the charm for Mario Fortier.
As a 15 and 16-year-old, the Zenon Park product tried out for the Tisdale Trojans. This season the forward cracked the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League team’s roster in his final try and is playing a big role. As of last Thursday, he was tied for second on the squad in both goals and points.
“He’s wanted to be a Trojan since he was 15, so I think he is making the most of his opportunity … He’s earning more minutes each game,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said.
Fortier has long desired to be a Trojan. Last season, while playing for the North East midget AA team, he got into six games for Tisdale as an affiliated player.
“APing last year made me realize how hard it is to play in this league,” the 17-year-old said. “It made me realize how hard I had to work to play on this team, which has been my dream to play for my whole life.”
As of last Thursday, the 5-foot-9, 155-pound Fortier had four goals and 10 points in seven games.
“He’s just playing with confidence,” Kubat said of Fortier’s strong start. “He has put in the work. The guys who put in the work will see the results.”
Fortier said that “working hard and being dedicated each and every day has helped me early in the season to put up points.”
Kubat said that Fortier came into the Trojans fall camp without a spot. He worked hard to earn his place and continues to do so.
“He competes. He wants to get better,” Kubat said. “He wants to get to the next level. … He’s just earning his way up the lineup based on how he’s playing.
“He’s kind of a guy we want to model our program around with a high-compete level, character, work ethic. Just a good kid in the classroom and a good kid in the community.”
Fortier said that the best part of playing for the Trojans is going to the rink and hanging out with his teammates. He has enjoyed living with Stephanie and Chris Garland, who he called “amazing billets, very nice people;” their children, who love playing with their billet brother; and teammate Kayden Ostrom.
“It means a lot playing for the Trojans with such a great organization,” he said. “The support from the community is amazing and we always have great atmospheres at our games.”
Trojans Last Week
Friday, Oct. 11 in Tisdale
Regina 3, Tisdale 0
Pat Canadians Scorers: Carson Whyte, Noah Kuntz, Cal Caragata
Goalies: Boston Gelowitz, Tisdale, 21 saves on 24 shots; Drayden Ramage, Regina, 17 on 17
Notes: The Trojans were unable to capitalize on a five-minute powerplay in the second period. The Pat Canadians scored shorthanded and later extended their lead to 2-0 before the second intermission.
The physical, veteran Pat Canadians limited the Trojans’ quality scoring opportunities. “They play a good structured game,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “They didn’t go away from that.”
Sunday, Oct. 13 in Prince Albert
Prince Albert 4, Tisdale 1
Trojans Scorer: Mackenzie Carson
Mintos Scorers: Ty Bahm, Gabe Klassen, Chase Bertholet, Dawson Brace
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 31 saves on 35 shots; Joel Favreau, Prince Albert, 26 on 27
Notes: The Trojans trailed 2-1 after the first period. “I really, really liked our first period,” Kubat said. “We just didn’t sustain that for the whole 60 minutes.”
Young Team Improving
A youthful Tisdale Trojans team went 0-2 last week. Kubat sees his team improving.
“As a coaching staff, we talked about how this week was a lot better than last week,” he said. “We didn’t get the results that we wanted, but if you could take a positive from the weekend it is I think we are getting better as a team. We’re getting closer.”
The Trojans (2-6-0-1 this season) have a pair of home games this week. The squad hosts the Saskatoon Contacts on Wednesday and the Yorkton Maulers on Friday.