Cole Jones and Tyrell Wenig are helping the Carrot River Outback Thunder this season while learning the ropes of Junior B hockey.
Jones, a forward, has helped in various facets of the game and has 15 points, with eight goals, in 29 games. Wenig’s play on defence earned him a call-up earlier this season to the Junior A level.
Last week the Thunder won all three of their games at home. The team downed the Prince Albert Titans, 8-1; beat the Saskatoon Royals, 6-2; and triumphed over the West Central Rage, 5-2. The Thunder are now 14-10-7 on the season and sit fourth in the Prairie Junior Hockey League standings.
“As of late, we have kept it simple and put lots of pucks to the net and worked for rebounds,” said Trevor Logan, Carrot River’s head coach. “Goaltending has been really solid and we are getting contributions from many different guys each night.”
The Carrot River squad is in the Saskatoon area for three games this week. The Thunder take on the Saskatoon Royals on Friday and the league-leading Saskatoon AGI Insurance Quakers on Saturday. The road trip concludes with a Sunday matinee versus the Delisle Chiefs.
The 6-foot-3, 173-pound Wenig has provided size and steady play on the Thunder blue line. Logan said the 18-year-old Weldon product, who played midget AAA for Beardy’s last season, is one of the team’s top defencemen most nights. Wenig has eight points in 22 games.
“He is a steady defenceman,” Logan said. “Definitely there are not too many nights where he is in the wrong position or is getting beat.”
Logan noted that Wenig has played through injuries for Carrot River. Earlier this season he was called up to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Weyburn Red Wings for two games.
“Probably the best part was seeing what the next step is like and getting to experience it firsthand,” said Wenig, who builds hopper bottoms for bins at Townside Enterprise in Kinistino.
Jones is a 5-foot-8, 155-pound forward from Kinistino who goes out and competes. After racking up 52 points, with 23 goals, in just 28 games last season with the North East Wolfpack midget AA, he is adjusting this winter to the next level.
“He is getting more comfortable out there every week,” said Logan, who praised the 18-year-old’s skill set.
In addition to scoring, Logan said Jones “is doing the small things. He is backchecking well and playing well in our end.”
An agriculture business student at the University of Saskatchewan, Jones has enjoyed his time with the Thunder.
“My favourite part would probably be having a great group of guys to play with,” Jones said.
Last week’s 8-1 victory on Jan. 11 over the Titans was a team effort. Five players scored and 10 earned points in total. Some affiliated players contributed to the victory. Goaltender Ben Gilbertson was one save short of a shutout. The 17-year-old rookie backup stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced. The only one that got past him was scored on a power play and it banked off two players, Logan said.
“He played confident and was out challenging the play aggressively,” Logan said. “Rebound control was really solid. It’s big when your second string can step in and play that way getting limited starts. Not easy to do!”
Drayden Ukrainetz netted a hat trick for the Thunder. Chandler Ashcroft had two goals and three points. Levi Logan and Austin Linen had one goal and three points. Logan Robinson also scored for Carrot River.
A four-goal second period on Jan. 14 allowed the Thunder to banish the Royals, 6-2, in Carrot River. The two teams were tied at 1-1 at the end of first period.
Cole Jonesand Levi Logan both scored twice for the Thunder. Ukrainetz and Robinson had Carrot River’s other goals. Justin Cay and Levi Logan both posted three points on the night. Thunder goalie Kolton Holmen made 36 saves.
Ian Ferguson had both of Saskatoon’s goals. The Royals were forced to use both goalies.
David Thiel had 19 saves on 23 shots, while Jory Litt-Jukes stopped 17 of 19 shots.
On Feb. 15, the Thunder got by the Rage, 5-2. The teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the first period. Nick Peterson and Ashcroft scored in the second session to give Carrot River a 3-1 lead that it would build on.
Holmen made 39 saves on 41 shots. Tanner Grisdale, Robinson and Ukrainetz had the Thunder’s other goals.
Tylo Andersonand Ryder Kissick scored for the Rage. Dallan Tuchscherer had 39 saves.