CARROT RIVER — Tyrell Nicklen has established himself as a key player as a rookie for the Carrot River Outback Thunder.
The hometown product was third on the team in scoring, as of Sunday, with 21 points, including 10 goals. Head coach Luke Folk said the 18-year-old “has stepped into a big role for us seamlessly.”
“Big hits, big goals, momentum changing plays,” Folk said of what the player bring to the team. “The more pressure there is, the better Nicklen performs.”
The head coach also stated:
“Tyrell’s a competitive guy. He demands a lot from himself and it’s shown through the year. He’s a guy we look to put up points on a regular basis along with his physically imposing game.”
The Junior B squad is not overly surprised by the 6-foot, 220-pounder’s ability to compete in the Prairie Junior Hockey League. While playing midget hockey with the Carrot River Loggers, he suited up in 10 games with the Outback Thunder over the last two seasons as an affiliated player.
“Even last year as an AP, Nicklen was able to play a physical game with confidence,” Folk said. “He opens up a lot of extra ice for linemates and is being rewarded with points.”
During those AP stints, Nicklen got to know some of the players. That helped influence his decision to choose to play in his hometown.
“I came to play this year because I knew what great guys they had coming back from last year and was excited to try and help turn the team around from last year’s season,” said Nicklen, who is working on the family farm.
He has formed a strong line with Calver’s Tyler Almen and fellow Carrot River product David Wiens, the team’s leading scorer. “I think the main reason I’ve been able to put up some points is the chemistry with my linemates,” he said. “Tyler Almen, David Wiens and I click really well and play like we have been playing together a few years already.”
Nicklen is also having fun playing high level hockey in Carrot River. When asked what he has enjoyed most about playing for his hometown team, Nicklen said: “playing in front of people I know from town that come out and support the team. It’s nice being able to play in front of family and friends all the time.”
The Thunder last week
Dec. 14/Dec. 15 in Kerrobert
West Central 8, Carrot River 5
Outback Thunder Scorer: David Wiens (2), Tanner Dutcawich, Triston Sorenson, Kayden Graham
Rage Scorers: Blake Fenning (4), Brayden Schultz (2), Keaton Haynes, Connor Clark
Goalies: Steven Soyko, Carrot River, 47 saves on 55 shots; Hudson Killam, West Central, 46 on 51
Notes: West Central led 6-1 after the second period on Saturday. Due to poor ice conditions, the game was called before the third period. The final period was played on Sunday before the second game of the weekend between the two teams. The Outback Thunder outscored the Rage, 4-2, in the third period.
Sunday, Dec. 15 in Kerrobert
Carrot River 7, West Central 2
Outback Thunder Scorers: Tyrell Nicklen (2), Kaden Suski, Tanner Dutcawich, Kayden Graham, Trey Hardie, Tyson Norris
Rage Scorers: Ryan Smith, Brayden Schultz
Goalies: Justice Haack, Carrot River, 27 saves on 29 shots; Jake Fegusson, West Central, 40 on 47
Notes: Carrot River led 2-0 and 3-1 at the intermissions. The Outback Thunder scored four third period goals. Dutcawich and David Wiens each had three points.
The Carrot River Outback Thunder (10-14-1) finish out 2019 by playing the Chiefs in Delisle on Saturday.