For the first time since 2012, the Canora Cobras senior hockey team was back on the ice at the Canora Civic Centre, opening the Sask East Hockey League (SEHL) season with a convincing 17 to 5 victory over the visiting Ituna Avalanche on November 12.
Prior to the game, Canora Mayor Mike Kwas and SEHL President Mike Stackhouse took to the ice for a few words. Kwas thanked the fans for their support of the Cobras, and Stackhouse brought greetings from the league. Kwas then dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff between the two team captains.
Prior to the season, Cobras Coach Terry Dennis told The Canora Courier, “The Cobras will be a fast, skilled, exciting team with lots of local talent,” and the Cobras lived up to the confidence of their coach in the home opener. They didn’t wait long to give their fans something to cheer about. Captain Ryley Stefanyshyn of Canora opened the scoring just over a minute into the first period, with assists from Kody Rock of Canora and Brandon Whitehawk of Kamsack.
“With the Cobras leading 2 to 0, Donnie St. Marie got his first of two with just two minutes to go in the opening frame and then that was quickly followed by Darcy Sliva of Canora’s first of two just thirteen seconds after,” said Cal Homeniuk, Cobras General Manager and President. “Matt Wilgosh of Canora made it a 5 to 0 game with eight seconds remaining to close out the first period and the route was on.”
The Cobras stretched the lead to 12 to 2 by the second intermission. Canora showed impressive offensive depth, with seven players contributing two-goal games to the offensive explosion.
“Brennan Watson of Kamsack finished with two goals and five points to lead all players in offense,” reported Homeniuk. “Kody Rock picked up two, as did captain Ryley Stefanyshyn and Darcy Sliva. Lee Jannet, who like St. Marie has come over from Bredenbury, and Cole Rathgeber (another Bredenbury product) all had two-goal games. Tanner Kopeck and Vaughn Wilgosh, both of Canora, rounded out the scoring for the Cobras.”
Keelan Saworski potted his first of two goals for Ituna after it was 9 to 0. Mike Bzdel, Dylan Kuschak, and Landon Kuschak also scored for the Avalanche.
Coach Dennis was pleased with his team’s effort and the final result.
“The Cobras had a great home opener,” said Dennis. “It was fantastic to see a crowd of over 300 fans, and we didn’t disappoint. I was happy with the speed and skill of our team and we will get better. We had strong performances by forwards Brennan Watson, Kody Rock and Riley Stefanyshyn. Our defense played a strong, hard-hitting game led by Lee Jannet with two goals and Vaughn Wilgosh adding a goal and some thunderous hits! It was nice to see veteran Darcy Sliva of Canora get two goals. We look forward to continuing our strong play, going out on the road.”
The Cobras next two games are against the Whitewood Orioles; November 19 in Whitewood, and then a return clash on November 27 at the Civic Centre in Canora.