Canora Minor Hockey Day was held on January 25, giving local minor hockey players an opportunity to play in front of family, friends and fans from Canora and the surrounding area.
Unfortunately, the day did not go exactly as planned.
The Preeceville Pats midget and bantam games had to be postponed and were played on January 30, which turned out to be a memorable night for Jacob Danyluk of Canora, who plays for the midget Pats. Danyluk scored three goals in a Pats win, and said putting up a hat trick in his home rink in front of family and friends was, “the best feeling in the world. It doesn’t get any better than that!”
The original Minor Hockey Day schedule was for six games featuring five different age groups: novice, atom, peewee, bantam and midget. But significant amounts of freezing rain across the region during the day resulted in increasingly icy driving conditions as the day went on, according to Dwayne Wolkowski, Canora Minor Hockey Association president. As a result, out-of-town teams were unable to make the trip to Canora for the three games later in the day, causing the postponement of the peewee, midget and bantam games.
The day’s hockey action was cut from six games to three. Wolkowski said even with the postponements, Canora Minor Hockey Day was an important community event.
“It’s an opportunity for local residents to come out and see teams from a variety of age groups,” he said.
Other than the cancellations, organizers said the day was a success. The raffles went as well as could be expected, and there were no significant injuries on the ice.
Minor Hockey Day began with two novice games. Canora has a pair of novice teams this season, and each team faced off versus out-of-town visitors.
The Canora Novice Black Cobras kicked off the day with a game against the Esterhazy Blue. The first period began with both teams having good scoring chances. Unfortunately for the Cobras, they didn’t have any luck around the net, while the Esterhazy shooters took advantage of the majority of their opportunities and built a 7 to 0 lead by the end of the period.
The Cobras continued to play hard in the final two periods, and managed to find the net twice in each period. But the Esterhazy offence kept rolling, and the visitors skated to a 17 to 4 win.
In the second game of the day, the Canora Novice White Cobras took on the Preeceville Novice Pats. It looked like the Cobras learned the importance of a strong start from watching the previous game, because the Canora players came out flying, pressuring the visiting Pats all over the ice. The Canora offence was rewarded for its strong period with a 4 to 0 lead after 20 minutes.
Preeceville came out of the dressing room looking like a completely different team in the second period and produced a much stronger effort. But the Cobras appeared to find another gear in the third period, and skated to an 11 to 4 victory.
In what turned out to be the final game of the day, the Preeceville Atom Pats came into town for a clash against the Canora Atom Cobras. The Cobras came out fast in the first period and built a 6 to 1 lead by the first intermission with a strong effort all over the ice. The Canora players kept up the momentum and had a memorable second period, potting a total of 11 goals on their way to a decisive win.
The games that were postponed due to the icy driving conditions included: Canora Peewee Cobras versus Langenburg Peewee Warriors, Preeceville Bantam Pats versus Yorkton RH Electric Bantam Terriers and Preeceville Midget Pats versus Yorkton Snap-On Midget Terriers.
But the Preeceville bantam and midget squads were still interested in playing the two home games in Canora, which led to the games at the Civic Center versus Yorkton being played on January 30.
“It was also a chance for former Canora Cobra players who are now playing for the Preeceville Pats midget and bantam teams to play in front of family and friends in Canora,” said Wolkowski.
Former Canora Cobras now playing with the Preeceville Bantam Pats are: Porter Wolkowski, Keegan Dyck, Bronson Heshka, Hunter Lamb and Logan Wolkowski.
The game in Canora versus Yorkton was truly a back-and-forth affair.
Midway through the second period the Pats bantam squad scored a shorthanded goal to go up by 3 to 0 and things were looking good. But then the Pats took back-to-back penalties and Yorkton got on the scoreboard during the resulting two-man advantage. The Terriers added goals in the last minute of the second period, the first minute of the third period, and with another about five minutes remaining in the third to go up 4 to 3. But just when things appeared bleak, the Pats players showed their grit and scored the tying goal with less than a minute remaining, resulting in a final score of 4 to 4.
In the midget game versus Yorkton, the Pats entered the game with a short bench, so the players knew they would get plenty of ice time.
Former Canora Cobras now suiting up with the Preeceville Midget Pats are: Toby Olynyk, Jacob Danyluk, Maxwell Mydonick and Grady Wolkowski.
Yorkton opened the scoring on a weak turnover in the Pats defensive end only to have the Pats respond with a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. Preeceville built on the momentum and took a 3 to 1 lead by the end of the second period. The third period got physical and chippy, with great intensity exhibited by both teams. Danyluk completed his hat trick and the Pats skated to a 7 to 2 victory.