The Prince Albert Icehawks knew they were going to be young and inexperienced, but they also have proven to be quick learners.
With more than half the team being newcomers, the Icehawks travelled to Fort Qu‚ÄôAppelle on Saturday to compete in a couple of games at the Curtis Ross Memorial tournament.
Having just completed training camp seven days earlier, the Ice Hawks were using the exhibition tilts to gauge the talent and begin the process of moulding a competitive team. Rookie head coach Kim Dryka says he was happy with what he saw.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll be OK,‚ÄĚ said Dryka. ‚ÄúWe only dressed six veterans for each game so we got to take a look at a few players.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to be good,‚ÄĚ added Dryka. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll be young, but that is not a bad thing. If we chip away and keep learning, we should be okay.‚ÄĚ
The Icehawks took on the Traveland RV Storm from Pilote Butte in their first outing and the rust was evident as they lost 8-0.
The second game was much better as Lucas Anseth‚Äôs goal with 24 seconds left in regulation time forced the contest to be decided by a shootout, with Fort Knox prevailing 6-5.
‚ÄúThe first game was a learning experience,‚ÄĚ admitted Dryka. ‚ÄúThe players saw that going from Midget AAA to Junior B, it is played at a different calibre. In the second game, the boys adjusted a lot better.
Jordon Harasyn, Brett Boyer, Keagan Ledoux and Tyler Tilford also scored for the Ice Hawks, who battled back from a 3-0 first period deficit. Tyler Gordon and Dakota Fiddler split the netminding duties with the duo facing 41 shots in the contest. Prince Albert also managed to direct 41 blasts at the Fort Knox net.
The tournament generally features just teams from the South Division, but this year a bigger variety of competition was wanted so Prince Albert and Tri-Town Thunder each agreed to play two games with the Icehawks heading south on Saturday and Tri-Town making the trip on Sunday.
The Icehawks have two more exhibition games remaining as they will host the Delisle Chiefs on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena with the two clubs meeting again on Friday in Aberdeen.
The regular season starts in early October with Prince Albert‚Äôs first league game set for Oct. 13 when they will host the Ochapowace Thunder at the Kinsmen Arena.