Preeceville Midget hockey team entertains younger players, maintains first place

Over the Christmas break the Preeceville Midget Pats took time to reconnect with the younger local hockey players with a fun afternoon on December 30.

The midget players took to the ice with players from initiation stage (IP), novice, atom and peewee categories to help guide and pass along some expert knowledge through drills in a fun non-competitive environment.

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“It was a great way for the midget players to give back to the community and also helped the midgets by becoming better players and community leaders. The midgets prepared special treat bags for each player who participated,” said Kirby Pankratz, head coach.

Game action for the Midget Pats included a contest against the visiting Esterhazy Flyers at Richardson Pioneer Arena in Preeceville on December 14.

The Flyers had quite a few scratches which made it hard for Esterhazy players to keep up with the hometown Pats as the Pats won 11 to 3 at the final buzzer, stated Pankratz.

All of the Major Hockey League Midget teams had a deadline to complete eight games of their regular season by December 14, so that the standings would determine placement for the league’s annual All Star Game.

With the Pats record of five wins, two losses and one tie, the team held onto first place in the league. By holding top spot, the Pats were awarded four players to be selected to the “home team” of the All Star Game and the Pats coaching staff received the honour of being the coaches for the home team. The All Star Game festivities are scheduled to take place January 11 in Indian Head.

Going into the holiday break, the Midget Pats had an important meeting in Melville against the Chiefs on December 23, with first place on the line in the second contest between the two teams this season.

In the first matchup in the regular season, the teams skated to a 2-all tie in early November, setting the stage for an exciting rematch. The Pats trailed the Chiefs in the standings by a single point but were holding a game in hand nearing the Christmas break.

The game started off in familiar territory for the Preeceville boys, with maybe a bit of hard luck and a little sluggish start, as they fell victim to a 2-0 deficit in the game.

“We were never too worried because we know these guys always seem to pick up the pace and intensity as games go on, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Pankratz. “We always feel when we play at our peak level there aren’t many teams that like to engage in our style. The Pats out skated, out shot and simply out played the Chiefs rolling to many offensive chances, taking over the game with a 5 to 2 final win. We deflated the Chiefs fairly early in the second period and just never looked back,” he said.

The Midget Pats next game was to be played at Moosomin on January 3. The Preeceville squad doesn’t play at home until January 18 at Preeceville Minor Hockey Day in a game against the Indian Head Midget Chiefs. That will be followed by a confrontation at Canora Minor Hockey Day with the Yorkton Snap On Terriers visiting the Civic Center.

“We would like to wish all our fans that faithfully come out to cheer us on, a Happy New Year, and we are forever grateful for their support, it really means a lot to have them there. We look forward to seeing everyone at the rink again in the New Year,” concluded Pankratz.