TISDALE — The Tisdale Trojans are hitting the road.
The Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League team plays its next four games on the road. In fact, 10 of the Trojans’ next 11 contests, stretching into 2020, are away from the Tisdale RECplex.
“I love road games,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We seem to fare pretty well on the road and it’s good for bonding... If we do some overnighters, it brings the team together. For some of these guys, it’s their first time playing in some of these rinks. It’s just a good experience.”
Trenton Curtis, a 17-year-old Trojans forward, said there are lots of good things about road trips.
“It’s a time where the boys joke around and kind of tell some stories that some people have never heard before and we all usually have a good laugh,” the Bethune product said. “Other times we could be playing cards or it’s watching a movie. Either way, a bus trip is never boring. We always do something to make the best of it and have a good time.”
The Trojans recruit players from all over the province. Kubat noted that former Trojans often attend games to check on how the team is doing. Road trips also allow some players to compete in front of family and friends they do often get to see during a busy hockey season. Fifteen-year-old forward Carter Briltz will be competing in his hometown when the Trojans visit the Regina Pat Canadians on Friday. He said usually his parents, some hockey friends, and former bantam coach Cole Kehrig, who is from the Tisdale region, come to watch.
“It’s nice to get to see some of my friends after the game,” Briltz said. “Just because I moved away doesn’t mean we’re not still good friends and I’ve stayed in touch with many of them so it’s good to catch up with them after the game… On the family side, it’s good because I compete and try my best for them especially in my hometown – you know they are there cheering for you and you don’t want to let them down. You just want to play your best.”
As SMAAAHL teams are made up of players from all over Saskatchewan, it is not unusual that players will find themselves lined up against friends and former teammates. Briltz said it is fun to compete against some of his best friends on the Pat Canadians.
On Dec. 10, the Trojans are in Yorkton to take on the Maulers. The Yorkton squad includes Tisdale products Blake Samida, a former Trojan, and Connor Hvidston. The latter is the brother of Trojans forward Drayton Hvidston, who said he is looking forward to playing the Maulers but noted:
“The one thing you can’t do is overthink the game. You need to keep it simple and work hard. It doesn’t matter who’s on the other team, we’re going to be playing our best and playing to win.”
While the Trojans enjoy their road trips, the team certainly loves playing at the Tisdale RECplex. “What I enjoy about the atmosphere is that I know that there’s going to be a packed house pretty much every time we play and the more people, the louder it gets and nothing gets better than that for a player,” said Trojans captain Kalen Ukrainetz of Wynyard.
The Trojans’ next home game is Dec. 20 against the Prince Albert Mintos. This is the squad’s last game before the Christmas break.
The Trojans last week
Thursday, Nov. 28 in Saskatoon
Saskatoon Blazers 5, Tisdale 0
Blazers Scorers: Nolan Flamand (2), Alex Saretzky, Liam Bell, Braxton Buckberger
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 38 saves on 43 shots; Brett Mirwald, Saskatoon, 21 on 21
Notes: After a scoreless first period, the Blazers took a 3-0 second period lead. Tisdale killed off four of Saskatoon’s five power plays.
Saturday, Nov. 30 in Tisdale
Moose Jaw 4, Tisdale 3
Trojans Scorers: Kalen Ukrainetz (2), Mackenzie Carson,
Warriors Scorer: Kirk Mullen, Atley Calvert, Lucius Schmidt, Connor McGrath
Goalies: Boston Gelowitz, Tisdale, 35 saves on 39 shots; Dylan Ernst, Moose Jaw, 21 on 24
Notes: Moose Jaw led 2-1 and 4-2 at the intermissions. Goaltender Hunter Lolacher was a backup goalie as an affiliated player for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers on Friday and Saturday nights. The Trojans brought in Archerwill’s Cody Wilson of the North East midget AA team to back up Gelowitz.
Sunday, Dec. 1 in Tisdale
Moose Jaw 6, Tisdale 3
Trojans Scorers: Kalen Ukrainetz, Trenton Curtis, Jordan Normand,
Warriors Scorer: Connor McGrath (2), Ethan Peters, Caelen Fitzpatrick, Atley Calvert, Davis Fry
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 26 saves on 31 shots; Dylan Ernst, Moose Jaw, 29 on 32
Notes: After a 2-2 first period, the Warriors scored twice in the second to take a 4-2 lead into the final intermission. Regarding the two games against Moose Jaw, Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said, “Our compete was definitely there. We just couldn’t get a lead or anything. A couple costly mistakes against a good team and you pay the price.” He noted the team, which was shorthanded on the weekend, needs all of its players contributing. “I think the boys know that we had some big wins this year and that if we are bringing our game and limiting our mistakes, we can … compete with anyone in the league,” Kubat said.
Brett Neumeier (2016-18) has 16 points in 30 games this season for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Kindersley Klippers. The Kerrobert product’s offensive output already surpasses the nine points, with three goals, he posted in 41 games as a rookie last season.
The Tisdale Trojans (11-11-0-1) only have one game this week. They play the Regina Pat Canadians (15-5-2-0) on the road on Friday. The team is next in action on Tuesday in Yorkton (3-18-0-1).