TISDALE — Whether it is scoring goals or playing tunes, Mackenzie Carson is willing to do whatever he can to help the Tisdale Trojans.
The 17-year-old from Carrot River is an important points producer. As well, Carson has emerged as a leader in his second full season with the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League team.
“I feel like my role is different,” Carson said. “I play a little bit bigger role this year and being a leader for the younger guys for sure.”
Last week Carson had three goals to help the team go 2-0. The Trojans sat sixth in the 12-team league with a 4-6-0-1 record. Last week the young Trojans beat the Saskatoon Contacts (second place, as of Sunday), 5-1, and the Yorkton Maulers, 4-2.
“We’re making progress … We are trying to get better each day,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We are trying to preach the same stuff that way and guys are buying in and trusting the systems that we’ve putting out there and we’re seeing results.”
As of Sunday, the 6-foot, 185-pound Carson was fourth on the team in scoring with nine points in 11 games. The forward had already scored a team-high eight goals after posting eight goals and 18 points in 44 regular season games last season.
“He’s big. He’s physical when he wants to be,” Kubat said. “He’s fast. He has a good shot.”
Carson leads in various ways for the Trojans, Kubat said. On the ice, he leads by his actions. Off the ice, Carson helps keep the mood light.
“He’s a good personality off the ice that helps the boys kind of gel,” Kubat said. “He kind of controls the music in the room.”
As the team’s unofficial DJ, Carson plays a wide variety of music for his teammates in the dressing room.
“Every song I play is to get the team pumped up and ready for the game,” he said.
While he is in control of the tunes, Carson does take requests from teammates. He will give their selections a try and see if his teammates like them.
“I do have to read the room to see if the guys are liking the music I’m playing,” Carson said. “If not, I have to change something until I can get everyone bobbin’ their heads.”
He got a taste of midget AAA hockey by playing nine games as an affiliated player as a 15-year-old. Last season Carson helped the Trojans win the Telus Cup Western Regional qualifying tournament at home and claim the bronze medals at the national championship in Thunder Bay.
“The best part about the Telus Cup run was probably all of it,” he said. “Getting to spend that extra time with boys, the bus trips, all the things we did, the support we received from the community. You don’t think much of it at the time - it was all a little surreal - but looking back at it now, you just miss it. It’s something I’ll never forget and cherish for the rest of my life.”
Of his time in Tisdale, Carson said he has enjoyed the fan and community support the team receives.
“It’s the best in the league,” he said. “Being a small community, we have lots of relationships and knowing everybody is nice also.”
The Trojans Last Week
Wednesday, Oct. 16 in Tisdale
Tisdale 5, Saskatoon Contacts 1
Trojans Scorers: Trenton Curtis, Mackenzie Carson, Zac Robins, Drayton Hvidston
Contacts Scorers: Jordan Normand, Tye Spencer
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 29 saves on 30 shots; Chase Hamm, Saskatoon, 28 on 33
Notes: “That was a big win for us being a young team and knowing that if you look at our records, we were 2-6 at the time and they were 7-1,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We have been preaching that anyone can beat anyone in this league as long as you show up and play that game. This was a good example.” The Trojans led 1-0 and 3-0 at the intermissions. Of Lolacher, Kubat said: “As a goalie, I think your job is to give us a chance to win each night and all year long he’s given us that chance. It was nice that we could reward him with a little more offence than he’s gotten in the games before.”
Friday, Oct. 18 in Tisdale
Tisdale 4, Yorkton 2
Trojans Scorers: Mackenzie Carson (2), Carter Briltz, Mario Fortier
Maulers Scorers: Carter Dereniwsky, Blake Duquette
Goalies: Boston Gelowitz, Tisdale, 21 saves on 23 shots; Ty Shumanski, Yorkton, 25 on 28
Notes: Tisdale led 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second. “We got the win. We found a way to win. … With 10 days off before we play, it is always good to end on positive like that,” Kubat said.
The Tisdale Trojans (4-6-0-1) are in the midst of a 10-day break after playing 11 games since the start of the season – the most in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. They entered that break with two straight wins after snapping a seven-game losing streak. The team plans to pick three or four areas to focus on at practice during the break.
“It’ll be nice to put a game plan together on some things we want to work on,” Kubat said. “We’ll actually have some time now to practice them.”
The Trojans’ next game is Oct. 29 on the road against the Saskatoon Contacts. The next Tisdale home game is Nov. 2 against the Regina Pat Canadians.