CANORA — After losses in two straight home games to close out the 2021 portion of the Sask East Hockey League schedule the Canora Cobras were looking for better results as they hit the road for games in Ituna and Rocanville on January 7 and 8, and came away with three out of a possible four points.
The Cobras started out strong in Ituna on Friday night, with two goals in the first five minutes of the first period. But the Avalanche replied with a goal of their own later in the period to cut the deficit in half by the first intermission.
Each team scored twice in the middle period, leaving the Cobras with a slim one-goal lead heading into the third. But a power play goal by Skyler Hladun, originally of Canora, early in the third period turned out to be the game winner, as the Cobras skated to victory by the final score of 6 to 4.
Hladun and Ryley Stefanyshyn of Canora led the way on offence with two goals each. Matt Wilgosh of Canora and Cole Rathgeber each contributed a goal and an assist, while Kody Rock of Canora and Donnie St. Marie added two assists apiece.
The Cobras scored two power play goals on four opportunities, and only gave up one goal on three Avalanche power plays.
“We had a good game after not playing for three weeks,” assessed Cobras Coach Terry Dennis. “The team played a solid game but we were a little rusty. We welcomed two new players that an immediate impact. William Hauber of Canora is back with the team and showed his speed and good defensive skills. Patrick Tran has joined the team for the remainder of the year and adds speed and skill up front. Riley Stefanyshyn and Matt Wilgosh both had strong games in Ituna.”
The Cobras were back on the ice on Saturday in Rocanville, in what Dennis referred to as “the best game of the year.” Canora once again struck early, and had a 2 to 0 lead halfway through the first period on goals by newcomer Patrick Tran and Stefanyshyn, who potted his third goal of the weekend. Darcy Sliva of Canora and Cole Rathgeber contributed assists.
But that turned out to be the end of the Cobras’ offensive output for the evening. A goal by Dakota Odgers brought the Tigers to within one by the end of the first period.
The second period was scoreless. The Tigers claimed the only goal of third to force overtime, where they scored again to claim the victory. Only seven minor penalties were called all night, with four being assessed to Rocanville.
“It was a fast-paced game full of skill and speed. The whole team played great and left everything they had on the ice,” said Dennis. “Cole Rathgeber and goalie Rylan Palchewich had strong games for the Cobras. It was nice to get three out of a possible four points on the road and we look forward to a rematch with Theodore on Friday in Theodore!”