TISDALE — Tisdale Trojans rookie forwards Kale Margolis and Jared Burnett have overcome challenges this season to be important contributors.
Kinistino’s Margolis battled back from an injury that caused him to miss almost the first two months of the season. After starting the campaign in U18 AA, Burnett, who is from Warman, had to adjust the rigors of the Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League. As well, he took on the challenge of playing defence for the club when injuries dictated.
Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said the team is excited about the potential of both to be strong not only in the second half of this campaign but also next season.
In October, the Trojans were looking to add a forward due to a player being released because of an injury. Kubat believes he called Burnett on a Friday and the 16-year-old joined the team on Sunday.
“He’s a mature kid,” said the Trojans bench boss, who noted Burnett is well liked by his teammates. “He’s a quiet leader. He can play forward and defence. He’s been a huge bonus.”
This season Burnett has tallied five assists in 25 games. Kubat said that points total does not reflect neither Burnett’s offensive skill nor upside.
As a first-year peewee player, Burnett played defence and helped his squad win the league and make it to the provincial finals. The next season he moved up to forward. When injuries happened, the Trojan called upon him to move back to the blue line.
“For not playing D for three years, he was not afraid to go out there and make plays, being confident making plays, having good gaps, getting pucks off the way … it was awesome to see,” Kubat said.
Burnett has enjoyed playing on defence “because I can see the whole ice from behind the play and I like to skate the puck as much as possible and it really helps when I can start the rush myself. Having lots of time on the blue line is nice to and makes it easier to get a shot or make a play.” In Tisdale, Burnett and teammate Parker Dunn billet with Ethan and Melissa Gosling and their children Peyton, Noah, and Raylan.
During the exhibition season, Margolis broke his ankle. The forward, who did not turn 15 until December, battled his way back. He said his parents, Kurt and Terri Margolis, helped him stay motivated.
“They were constantly telling me that I’ll have a quick, healthy recovery and I’ll come back better than ever,” Margolis said. “My parents also were constantly making sure I was still in the gym doing everything I could to stay in shape and keep up with my teammates.
“My teammates also kept me motivated. Seeing them work as hard as they could in practice and games made me want to join then more then ever. They would also be continuously telling me they couldn’t wait to have me back in the lineup.”
Margolis has recorded two goals and five points in 18 games this season. Kubat believes he has a bright future.
I don’t know if he even realizes how good he can be. We’re excited to continue his development,” Kubat said. “The sky’s the limit with him. You see him in practice and the things he can do: the way he shoots – he can shoot off both feet, the way he controls the puck at times, and the way he can make plays.
Kubat said that Margolis, who billets with Colby and Dorthy Folden, loves the game. The coach said the youngster is very coachable, wants to get better, and asks questions.
“He’s a student of the game,” Kubat said. “He really likes what we’re embracing and likes the structures we play. I think that has a chance to really benefit him and give him a lot of success.
The Trojans last week
Saturday, Jan 15 in Warman
Warman 14, Tisdale 3
Trojans Scorers: Carter Ralston, Parker Dunn, Jaxon Skiftun
Wildcats Scorers: Berg Weber (3), Jordan Normand (3), Mason Bueckert (2), Rhett Dekowny (2), Rylan Pearce, Brock Evans, Jaydon Jessiman, Rylan Silzer
Goalies: Brady Kashuba, Tisdale, 22 saves on 30 shots; Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 17 on 23; Alex Wothington, Warman, 19 on 22
Notes: Warman led 3-0 and 11-1 at the intermissions. Skiftun was named the away star of the game. In the third period, Warman outscored Tisdale 3-2. Regarding his approach to addressing his team at the second intermission, Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat said, “You can go in and be negative and say maybe all the things we weren’t doing well. Or you can come in and use it as a learning lesson obviously but more just ‘okay, what are we going to get out of these last 20 minutes.’ … Our goal was to win that period and we were going to have some fun.” Defencemen Turner Krahn and Cole Barry returned from injuries.
Sunday, Jan. 16 in Tisdale
Prince Albert, Tisdale 0
Mintos Scorers: Jacob Cossette, Matthew Cudmore, Zachary Bansley
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 39 saves on 42 shots; Jayden Kraus, Prince Albert, 23 on 23
Notes: After a scoreless first period, former Trojan Cossette scored on the powerplay to give P.A. a 1-0 second period lead. The Mintos added two goals in the second. “I was really pleased with the boys today – how they responded from yesterday,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said.
While the Tisdale Trojans have not gotten the results they have wanted this season, the U18 AAA team, which was 3-24-0-2 as of Monday, is still focused on developing its players.
“These guys are learning a lot of lessons, facing adversity, and just knowing we’re not going to be a playoff team … I challenged them [Sunday] about just using these next 35-40 days we have left together to continue to get better. ‘I know you guys have higher goals than playing AAA and that being it, so use that time to the best of your advantage. Make sure you continue to improve.’”
In discussing Saturday’s loss to Warman, Kubat talked about the team having games postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of whether the rest of the schedule will be affected. He advised his players to “be thankful that you’re playing, and you get to play in one of the best leagues in Canada. Just enjoy it.”
Throughout the season, Kubat and his staff have witnessed the squad try hard but not be rewarded. He said you feel bad for the players.
“You know they are putting in the time and they’re working hard,” Kubat said. “The biggest thing is they are good kids that you really care about. You want to see them be successful.”
The situation can be hard on the coaching staff as well as the players. Kubat said the coaches need to be role models and leaders and “set the example for the boys and make sure they’re having fun the last 30 some days and develop as well.”
The Tisdale Trojans (3-24-0-2) were to take on the Prince Albert Mintos (17-11-0-1) on the road on Wednesday, after the Recorder deadline. They tangle with the Battlefords Stars (10-19-0-4) on Saturday and Sunday in North Battleford. Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said the team has 16 games in about 35 days to cap its season.
“I’m excited to see what we can do here in the last 16,” he said.