MELFORT — After a strong 2018-19 campaign, the Melfort Mustangs teams are seeking success again.
The Mustangs are coming off a season where they made it all the way to the SJHL finals before losing to the Battlefords North Stars, who are led by ex-Broncos hometown player and assistant coach Brayden Klimosko.
The team’s veteran coach will make history this season. Trevor Blevins needs 20 more victories to become the Mustangs wins leader. He would surpass Darrell Mann, who Blevins was an assistant coach for with Melfort.
Mustangs director of player development Rick Oakes expects this year’s team to be young, talented, and deep. There has been great competition in camp and exhibition games for roster spots
“We only have so many spots and a lot of talent to fill those spots,” Oakes said.
Departed are the dynamic trio of Justin Ball (league MVP and top scorer), Carson Albrecht (SJHL Player of the Year), and standout defenceman Kayle Tosh, among others. However, to a solid core of returning players the Mustangs believe they have added several talented newcomers.
Eleven Mustangs are back. Oakes said, “We are going to lean on our veteran guys a lot.” He explained the group has valuable experience from going to the league finals and can mentor the youngsters.
Up front the Mustangs return such players as Zach Anderson (16 goals and 32 points), Kenzie Arnold (12 goals and 32 points), Zack Smith (21 points), and Tyson Meyers (20 points). Among the new players looking to earn a spot up front is Tisdale’s Luc Marleau, who played midget AAA in Regina last season. While the team no longer boasts the dynamic Ball (SJH-high 54 goals last season), Oakes believes the forward group will be able to score.
Behind the forwards will be a veteran defensive corp. Among the players back are Jake Hobson (35 points), Nolan Kadachuk, Gabe Odowichuk, and Alex Rondeau, who was traded in the offseason and recently returned. Oakes said getting Rondeau back was big for team due to the contributions he makes on and off the ice.
The Mustangs expect to have strong goaltending with B.C. import Shawn Parkinson back in net. He had a 1.91 goals against average last season after being added in a trade. As of last week, the Mustangs had a trio of young players competing to share the crease with him. That group includes hometown product Tanner Martin, who helped the Tisdale Trojans to the bronze medals at the national Telus Cup championships last season.