TISDALE — Kylynn Olafson might not be the loudest Tisdale Trojan, but the team is looking for him to have an impact in several areas this season.
The Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League squad is counting on the second year forward offensively, defensively, and as a leader. The Lanigan 16-year-old, who head coach Dennis Kubat describes as a “quiet leader, is one of the team’s assistant captains. When Olafson was asked how he can help lead this team, he said:
“I feel like since I’ve played a year in the league that I will be able to lead by my play on the ice. I think that I lead through my work on and off the ice rather than vocally. I think that I can push my teammates to be better, which will bring success to the team in the long run.”
Now in his second year, Kubat said that Olafson knows the grind of the SMAAAHL. The head coach said that Olafson does everything right: “works hard in practice, great in the community, [and] works hard in school.” Kubat described the forward as a great kid and said that the “boys love him.” Last season Olafson and Ethan Lang were co-winners of the team’s Community Service Award.
So far this season Olafson has two points through three games, according to the league’s statistics, as of Sunday. In a pair of victories over Warman last weekend, Olafson scored the opening goal in the first contest and the winning marker, on a powerplay, in the second game. Kubat said the 5-foot-9, 150-pounder is a 200-foot player whose strengths are his skating ability, ability to make plays, and hockey IQ. As a 15-year-old, Olafson had solid rookie season. He scored five goals and recorded 19 points in 39 games. Kubat said that during Olafson’s time as a Trojan he has matured, improved his ability to make plays, and is starting to get more confidence. Olafson said he has developed many aspects of his game in Tisdale, including his skating.
“I think that’s one of the biggest parts of my game,” he said. “I also think that since I’ve been in a league with older and tougher guys that I have been able to add an edge to my game.”
Seventeen-year-old rookie forward Kaiden Korolchuk of Quill Lake and Olafson billet with Rick and Sherry Ellis in Sylvania. Olafson said he appreciates everything the family does for him and Korolchuk.
“From waking up and making smoothies for early morning practices to making big breakfasts and meals on game days. It doesn’t go unnoticed.” As well, Olafson appreciates the way people back the Trojans.
“The thing that I enjoy the most is the support from the community, and the enthusiastic fans and the support we get from them,” he said. “Another thing that I like is just the organization itself. All the people that are involved just make it a great team to play for. Meeting new people and getting close with the guys is one of my favourite things about being a Trojan.”
The Trojans last week
Friday, Nov. 13 in Warman
Tisdale 5, Warman 2
Trojans Scorers: Kylynn Olafson, Jacob Cossette, Clay Sleeva, Carter Briltz, Harper Lolacher
Wildcats Scorers: Tylin Hilbig (2)
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 31 saves on 33 shots; Alex Worthington, Warman, 17 on 21; Dylan Marshall, Warman, 7 on 8
Notes: Olafson scored first but Hilbig had two first period goals to stake the Wildcats to a 2-1 lead. The Trojans scored twice in each of the final two periods. Sleeva’s goal came shorthanded while Lolacher scored on a powerplay. “If we are going to be successful, that’s how we got to play. We got to score by committee,” head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We can’t rely on one guy. We got to use our depth to our advantage.” Wilson earned his first U18 AAA win in his first start. “Cody was awesome,” said Kubat, who praised his work ethic. “He was dialed in right from the start. He made some big saves when we had that 3-2, 4-2 lead.”
Saturday, Nov. 14 in Tisdale
Tisdale 5, Warman 2
Trojans Scorers: Kylynn Olafson, Jacob Cossette
Wildcats Scorers: Rylan Pearce
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 28 saves on 29 shots; Dylan Marshall, Warman, 27 on 29
Notes: After weather pushed back the start of the game, Cossette scored the contest’s first goal. Warman answered with a powerplay marker later in the frame. In the third period, Olafson scored the game winning goal on a powerplay. Of the Trojans’ special teams play, head coach Dennis Kubat said he was pleased that the team was even on the night. “Our goal every night is to be plus one, but even if we can be even, I like our chances most nights,” he said. Kubat praised the goaltending of Lolacher.
The Trojans (2-1) play the Battlefords Stars in a home and home series this weekend. Saturday’s game is in North Battleford with the teams meeting in Tisdale on Sunday afternoon.
Trojans sweep Wildcats
In the first meeting ever between the two teams, the Tisdale Trojans were pleased to earn two victories over the Warman Wildcats. The Trojans scored first in both contests.
“I think our starts were a lot better these las two games than they were the previous … Kind of that hate to lose mentality is starting to come on these guys a little more,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “Just trusting the process and realizing when we are doing those little things the outcomes will take care of themselves.”
The Trojans received strong goaltending in both games. Archerwill’s Cody Wilson impressed in his first U18 AAA start, while second year netminder Hunter Lolacher of Pilot Butte continued his strong play.
“Each night our goalie was probably our No. 1 star,” Kubat said. “It’s nice when you can put any goalie in the net and you can feel confident that they are going to give our team a chance to win.”
Now 2-1 on the season, Kubat said he likes how the team is continuing to get better each game.
“It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Our goal is to get one per cent better … each day ... If we can do that, I like where we’ll end up in February and March.”
The Tisdale Trojans have added their 20th player to their roster in 17-year-old forward Jackson Smith. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder was not with the team this past weekend as he was quarantining as per COVID-19 protocols.
“He’s a big body who will add depth to our team. Can be physical,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “He’s scored some goals in the past so hopefully he can bring that to us. … He doesn’t have to do anything fancy. Just play his game and we’ll be happy.”
Smith had three goals and five points in two games for the Regina Vics U18 AA team this season. Over the past two campaigns, he accumulated three points in seven games as an affiliated player for the AAA Regina Pat Canadians.