CANORA - The Canora Cobras took advantage of two games on home ice on Dec. 9 and 10, taking three out of a possible four points to improve their position in the North Division of the Sask East Hockey League.
On Friday night, Canora battled back from a 4-2 deficit to force overtime, but the Swan Valley Axemen scored in the extra period to earn the victory. On Saturday, the Cobras broke loose with a dominant 10-2 win over the Cote Selects.
The Axeman, who are in second place in the division, provided a stiff challenge for the home team, according to Canora Coach Darren Schwartz.
“We wanted the two points, but we were happy to get one.”
The Cobras jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period and it looked as though they would take that lead into the first intermission, but Swan Valley potted a power play goal to tie things up with only 10 seconds left in the period.
“That definitely took some momentum away from us, and then they scored two more goals in the second to go up 4-2,” said Schwartz. “But we bounced back with a goal in the last minute of the second, and then scored to tie it in the third and force overtime. I was very happy that we didn’t give them any goals in the third period. I thought we had a good first shift in overtime, but they came back and scored on a line change. We’ll work on that.”
Captain Ryley Stefanyshyn of Canora led the Cobras offense with a pair of goals. The only other player with multiple points was Troy Zulyniak, who had two assists. Single goals were scored by Cole Rathgeber and newcomer Austin Severson of Norquay.
The Cobras were three for eight on the power play. Swan Valley scored twice on three power play opportunities.
On Saturday night, the Cobras hosted the Cote Selects. This was scheduled to be a Cote home game, but due to ongoing renovations to their home rink, the contest was shifted to Canora.
The Selects came into the game with momentum on their side, having won two straight games since the beginning of December after dropping the first five games of the season.
Schwartz said he was pleased to see the Cobras players come out strong against the Selects, keeping up the momentum from their solid effort the night before.
“We picked up right where we left off and built a 4-0 lead in the first period,” he reported. “But then we fell asleep and gave them a shorthanded goal to get them on the scoreboard. In the second period they took the play to us and scored again, but we got some timely saves from goalie Rylan Palchewich.”
With a 5-2 lead after two periods, the Cobras left no doubt over the outcome of the game with five unanswered third period goals for a 10-2 final score.
In addition to Palchewich, Schwartz singled out defenseman Tyler Ostoforoff of Canora for a strong effort in both weekend games.
Against Cote, Kody Rock of Canora led the way with three goals and three assists for the Cobras. Cole Rathgeber was the top playmaker, contributing four assists. Ryley Stefanyshyn scored his third and fourth goals of the weekend, and added two assists. Skyler Hladun chipped in with two goals and an assist. Casey Mydonick of Canora added a goal and an assist. Other Canora goals came from the sticks of Troy Zulyniak and Austin Severson, with his second goal in two games with the Cobras.
The win moves the Cobras to within two points of Swan Valley for second place in the North Division of the SEHL.
“Our players are definitely buying in to what I’m trying to teach them,” said Schwartz. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
The game originally scheduled for Whitewood to visit Canora on Friday (Dec. 16) has been cancelled, so the next action for the Cobras in on Saturday in Langenburg against the Warriors, one of the top teams in the league.