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All-stars from Outback Thunder named, security chief honoured

Drayden Ukrainetz and Layne Cay named to PJHL North Division All-Star Team
Outbak Thunder

While being a backup goaltender can be mentally challenging, Carrot River Outback Thunder netminder Ben Gilbertson has embraced the role.

“Ben shows up to the rink with a smile on his face every day,” said Trevor Logan, the Thunder’s head coach. “He has a positive attitude that is infectious and has accepted his role on the team this year as a backup and is always ready to step in when asked.”

With 20-year-old Kolton Holmen firmly entrenched as the starter, the 17-year-old Gilbertson has provided the team with another netminder it can count on. Last week Carrot River beat the Regina Silver Foxes, 3-1, last Saturday and lost to the Saskatoon Westleys, 5-1, on Sunday.

The Thunder wrap up their regular season with a road game Friday against the Prairie Junior Hockey League-leading Saskatoon AGI Insurance Quakers and a home tilt on Saturday versus the West Central Rage. Carrot River is 17-14-7 on the season. As of Jan. 5, they sit fourth in the PJHL’s North Division. The Thunder’s playoff matchup was not yet set in stone heading into the final week.

The 5-foot-9, 156-pound Gilbertson is 4-4 this season with a 3.64 goals against average and a .893 save percentage. He went to fall camp with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos and signed with that Junior A squad as an affiliated player.

“Ben will be a big part of this team in years to come if he doesn’t move on to Junior A,” Logan said.

Earlier this season Gilbertson was with the NorthEast Midget AA squad. He has liked moving up to the Junior B level with the Thunder.

“I have enjoyed the experience I've got,” Gilbertson said.


All-Stars named

Thunder standouts Drayden Ukrainetz and Layne Cay were selected for the PJHL North Division All-Star Team. Ukrainetz is an 18-year-old forward from Raymore who has racked up a team-high 23 goals. He has 35 points this season.

“Drayden has had a solid season,” Logan said. “He has been one of our offensive leaders all year which was a bit of a surprise for a kid coming from midget house hockey to do so well in his first season.”

A 20-year-old defenceman from Kinistino, Cay has posted a career-high 17 points.

“Layne is one of our leaders,” Logan said. “He isn’t a guy who says a lot on the bench or in the room but he’s a guy who shows up and plays hard every night. Layne has put up some points from the backend but his biggest strength is his shutdown game as he logs a lot of minutes against teams’ top lines and on the penalty kill.”


Cragg recognized

Jamie Cragg was one of three recipients of the PJHL’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Jamie has been a very dedicated, hardworking, giving person over the past 15 years,” Logan said. “Without individuals such as Jamie, teams like the Thunder cease to exist.”

Cragg joined the then Tri-Town Thunder in 2002 as a goal judge. After three years, he moved into a security position. However, Cragg also does various behind the scenes tasks that are important and greatly appreciated.

“It’s a thankless job but one he does every game night with a smile on his face,” Logan said.

The head coach noted that Cragg is one of first people to arrive at the rink on game day and one of the last to leave. He makes sure jerseys are hung, supplies are out, Gatorade is made, and whatever else is needed is done. He is known to make supply runs to Prince Albert on his own dime. Each Christmas, he has personal care packages made up for each player, coach, trainer and others with no expectation of anything in return.


Last week

Austin Linnen scored twice for the Thunder in a win over the Silver Foxes on Feb. 4. Linnen leads the squad with 43 points this season. Levi Logan had Carrot River’s other goal. In net, Holmen frustrated Regina by stopping 43 of the 44 shots the Silver Foxes fired at him.

On Feb. 5, the Westleys jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead en route to a 5-1 win. Cay had Tisdale’s goal. Holmen made 24 saves on 29 shots before giving way to Gilbertson who stopped the five shots he faced.


Catching up

Zach Garrett (2012-16) is enjoying a successful first season at Dakota College at Bottineau (N.D.).

“Zach has come in and really has impressed the coaching staff with his leadership and work ethic,” said Travis Rybchinski, DCB’s head coach. “He is a real good teammate and is one of our captains. He also is such a good person off the ice, along with making the honor roll here at school. He is really taking advantage of this opportunity.”

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