TISDALE — When the Tisdale Trojans take the ice, they know they have the community’s support.
This is especially evident at home games. Enthusiastic fans come to the RECplex to cheer on the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League squad.
“I think it’s one of the best crowds to play in front of in the league,” said Trojans defenceman Drayton Hvidston, a Tisdale product who grew up attending games at the RECplex. “There’s always a ton of people that come out to support us every game and it’s awesome to see.”
After the team was on the road for much of December and early January, Trojans fans are getting to see a lot of the squad. Eight of the team’s last 10 games of the season are at the RECplex. The Trojans are currently in the midst of a six-game home stand.
This past weekend the Tisdale team earned three out of a possible four points to start off the home stand. Tisdale fell on Jan. 22 to Prince Albert, 3-2, in a shootout and downed the Notre Dame Hounds, 3-1, on Saturday.
“We are playing our best hockey right now,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “I thought our P.A. game was one of our better games we played all year. I think we out-chanced them. I thought that Notre Dame game as well was another game where the boys showed up, played hard, and played our systems for the full 60 minutes – and they got rewarded.”
Pat Bladen, a Trojans executive member and billet mom, said that she rarely misses a home game because she wants to support her “winter sons” and the team. She said it is the best entertainment in the winter months. Bladen noted there is “always time for a hot chocolate and chat with the fans around me.”
“As a fan, you get involved in the game, cheering for a goal or a groan when a goal post is hit on a shot, clap and cheer for the players,” she said. “It is also fun to watch the introduction of the ‘7th man’, an initiation or novice player from Tisdale Minor Hockey who gets to skate with the Trojans during the pre-game and stands alongside them at the blue line for the signing of O Canada. Great to watch the interaction between them and the Trojans.”
The Tisdale Trojans rave not only about their home game fans, but also their facilities. The team has a unique setup with the RECplex connected to the Tisdale Middle & Secondary School. In addition, the team has a two-floor dressing room with such features as a Smart TV, players lounge, and kitchen area.
“It’s a great place... We pretty much spend every single day in there from going to school, playing hockey or just hanging out at the dressing room,” Tisdale captain Kalen Ukrainetz said. “It’s pretty commonplace to find any of the boys.”
The Trojans last week
Wednesday, Jan. 22 in Tisdale
Prince Albert 3, Tisdale 2 SO
Tisdale Scorers: Trenton Curtis, Kalen Ukrainetz
Mintos Scorers: Gage Helm, Chase Bertholet
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 19 saves on 21 shots; Joel Favreau, Prince Albert, 31 on 33
Notes: The Trojans rallied from a 2-0 first period deficit to tie the contest and earn a point in the standings. Curtis scored in the second period. Ukrainetz tied things up in the third. Bertholet was the lone shooter of six to score in the shootout. “We definitely out-chanced them,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “Usually against the top teams we rely on Hunter to be the No. 1 star. It was bad that we didn’t get the win, but there were a lot of positives. Playing with a team that is ahead of us in the standings is big for us and our confidence.”
Saturday, Jan. 25 in Tisdale
Tisdale 3, Notre Dame Hounds 1
Tisdale Scorers: Jeremy Hancock, Trenton Curtis, Carter Briltz
Hounds Scorers: Will Lavigne
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 28 saves on 29 shots; Marcus Bjorn, Notre Dame, 4 on 6; Jared Picklyk, Notre Dame, 22 on 23
Notes: Hancock scored less than a minute into the game. Curtis gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead about four minutes later. “I said before the game we need to get off to a good start. We can’t get behind these teams and battle back every time. They are just too good in our league. It was nice to get a goal early and then a goal right after that,” Kubat said. Notre Dame cut the Tisdale lead to one, 2-1, before the end of the first. Neither team scored in the second. Briltz lit the lamp in the third. Zac Robins had two assists. Lolacher kept the Hounds at bay after the first period. “Hunter has been exceptional all year,” Kubat said. “(Saturday) was no different. He gives us a chance every night. It’s nice the last couple of games we’ve been eliminating the high-quality chances against a bit. I’m sure he’s pretty thankful for that.” The fourth-place Hounds had had the Trojans’ number this season before this contest – outscoring them 15-5 and outshooting them 116-57. “To be even in scoring chances and beating them, 3-1, is huge,” Kubat said. “I think that shows the boys trusting the process that we have here. Our goal is that we want to continue to get better. We’re really buying into that. I think the results are helping that buy-in.”
Erik Ehrmantraut (2015-16) has found a home with the Meadow Lake Mustangs of the Western States Hockey League’s Provincial Division. He had played for seven different junior team in three different leagues. The forward from Saskatoon leads the Mustangs with 54 points, 33 assists, and 21 goals in 24 games.
The Tisdale Trojans (20-14-1-1) host the Saskatoon Blazers for a pair of games this weekend. The teams play Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.