CANORA - It all came down to a tiebreaker, but the U18 Cobras finished a close second to Yorkton at the team’s home tournament in Canora.
The Oct. 28 and 29 tournament was the first action of the season for the Cobras, after the team had been absent from the Canora minor hockey scene for a number of years. In the five-team round robin tournament, the Battlefords finished third ahead of Prince Albert, with Indian Head in fifth place. Each team played four games, one against each team.
The Cobras defeated Yorkton 2-1, Prince Albert 5-2, and tied the Battlefords 5-5. Canora’s only loss came in a 1-0 squeaker against Indian Head. Reports from the tournament indicated that, for the most part, games were competitive and close.
Head Coach Adam Vangen said that he sees plenty of potential in the Cobras for the coming season. “In the tournament we saw that this team has the ability to play well in all aspects of the game,” observed Vangen. “Forwards, defense and goaltenders all rose to the challenge. As the season continues, we will be working on building individual and team skills. We know this team has the ability to play competitively in our league and we will work to achieve that."
Hosting a tournament this early in the season is a significant advantage for the Cougars, according to Vangen. “Work on figuring out how the team fits together, which players play well together and to get the kids back into shape. A preseason tournament doesn't affect league standing, so it is just some good exhibition hockey. Our focus was to get on the ice, bring the team together, and see what we need to work on to improve as a team.”
The Cobras roster is made up of players from Canora, Pelly, Stenen, Sturgis and Preeceville.
Canora players: Connor Kraynick, Kayden Harder, Linden Roebuck, Logan Sznerch, Devon Paley, Wyatt Wolkowski, Cody Vangen, Cooper Kraynick, Briel Beblow, Alaina Roebuck, Porter Wolkowski, Hunter Lamb, Bronson Heshka, Owen Lowe and Rylan Bletsky
Sturgis: Bracyn Konkel, Avyn Seerey, Jake Soltys, Cole Masley and Bryker Smith
Pelly: Jace Vogel
Preeceville: Zander Purdy
Stenen: Nathan Anaka
In the Canora tournament, Wyatt Wolkowski led the Cobras in scoring with six goals and two assists. Logan Sznerch and Jace Vogel each added a pair of goals. Hunter Lamb was the only other player with multiple points, chipping in with two assists.
Coach Vangen said he enjoys many aspects of coaching: getting to know the players, helping them develop as a team, and the opportunity to be on the ice with the players and the other coaches. “It’s exciting to have a U18 team back in town and it’s great for the community,” he continued. “We have lots of younger local kids that look up to these guys. We saw the Civic Center fill up with people coming to watch the team play and really appreciate the community support.”
As head coach, Vangen is grateful for the support he gets from other team staff members. “I work with a great crew of guys; Jordan Vogel and Bryan Heshka are assistant coaches, and Jeff Sznerch is managing the team.” The Cobras are not entered in any tournaments in the near future, but league home games are coming up fast on Nov. 19 and 26. Vangen added that the Cobras will be applying for Hockey Sask Provincials. “We are looking forward to seeing the fans come out and cheer on the Cobras.”
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