CANORA - For hockey fans who enjoy seeing plenty of goals and fast, end-to-end action, the Canora Civic Centre was the place to be on Saturday night. In their home opener for the 2022/23 Sask East Hockey League season, the Canora Cobras outlasted the visiting Cote Selects 9-8.
In spite of the win, Cobras’ Coach Darren Scwartz was not overly impressed with the play of his team.
“I wasn’t pleased with our effort,” said Schwartz. “After a strong all-around effort in Rocanville against the defending league champions last weekend in a game that we could have won, we played run-and-gun against Cote. We have to play a good team game and we didn’t. We were very lucky to win.”
Schwartz was impressed by the level of talent on the Cote squad.
“They’re getting better and better as the season goes on. If they continue to work hard, they’re going to be very tough to beat by the end of the season.”
In addition to the 17 total goals, the Selects scored three short-handed goals, which is rare in any level of hockey.
Cote took a 3-2 lead about half-way through the first period, but the Cobras scored two late goals to go ahead 4-3 by the intermission.
“We played more of a structured game early in the second period, but we just kept letting them back in it,” said Schwartz.
The Cobras took a 7-4 lead early in the second. But two goals by Cote on a two-man advantage tied the score at 7-7 going into the third.
In the final period, Colby Jacob scored a late goal to end the scoring and the Cobras hung on for the win.
The Cobras outshot Cote 35-33.
In addition to their three shorthanded goals, the Selects were three for seven on the power play. Canora scored once in nine power play opportunities.
For the winners, Sean Kolodziejski of Hyas led the offence with two goals and an assist. Skyler Hladun also scored twice. Cole Rathgeber, Troy Zulyniak, and Ayden Tawiyako each chipped in with a goal and an assist. Bryce Pelechaty of Canora was the other goal scorer. Casey Mydonick of Canora led the playmakers with two assists
For the Selects, Zack McGriskin and Brennan Watson contributed two goals and an assist each, while Terrain Cote had a goal and two assists. Brooks Cochrane added a goal and an assist. Other goals came from the sticks of Chris Cochrane and J.J. Fofonoff. Kailum Gervais chipped in with two assists.
Even though, as a coach, Schwartz wasn’t happy with Canora’s style of play against the Selects, he said a number of fans told him that they enjoyed all the goals and the wide open hockey. Attendance for the home opener was 328.
“It was nice to see so many fans having a good time, even if it was hard on the coach,” said Schwartz. “But if we play more of a disciplined and structured game in the future, we’ll be hard to beat.”
The Cobras’ next game is at the Canora Civic Centre on Saturday against the visiting Wapella Blackhawks, while Cote travels to Rocanville to face the defending league champion Tigers.