Minor hockey is back! Full slate of pre-season games

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Minor hockey finally arrived back on the scene this past weekend. It came with a new set of headaches, thanks to COVID, but the hockey was good, the kids had fun and fans of the game (including your local sports reporters) are happy it’s back.

Slave Lake teams did quite well in the opening weekend of ‘tiering’ games. This is a set of pre-season contests that will result in teams being put into groups of similar talent for the rest of the regular season. Slave Lake teams won at a 69 per cent clip – an encouraging sign. That was nine wins out of 13 posted results on the Northern Alberta Interlock website. Only two of those games were losses, plus a couple of ties.

Going with what we have, the U18 #1 team started off with a 13 – 8 win in Redwater on Friday – and apparently did it on only 31 shots on goal. Kayle Dierker and Liam Dickson each scored 7 points in the win. Jack Albrecht faced 27 shots in goal.

The U18 #2 squad skated to a 6 – 1 victory over Athabasca on Sunday on home ice. Kris Courtorielle, Carter Warman and Jethro Green each scored twice in the win. Jackson Morissette held the fort in goal for the Thunder stopping 32 shots.

Slave Lake’s U15 team picked up four points in a pair of tilts with Wabasca. At home on Saturday the Thunder won 7 – 4; Sunday at the Marian Wolitski Arena in Wabasca they won 8 – 2. Kolby Courtorielle led the way in the first game with two goals and one assist. Salah Baalbaki got the win in net. On Sunday Courtorielle had the magic touch, scoring five times. Balbaaki made 40 saves for the win.

The U13 #1 Thunder played in Edson on Sunday, earning a point in a 2 – 2 tie. It took third-period goals from Damian Hill and Grayson Conrad to overcome a 2 – 0 deficit. Grady Beauchamp faced 26 shots in net for Slave Lake.

The U13 #2 Thunder played in Onoway on Friday, winning 4 – 3. They beat the same team 5 – 3 on Saturday at home. The U13 #3 team lost 5 – 2 in Fort Saskatchewan on Saturday and tied Athabasca 2 – 2 on Sunday at home.
Nolan Beaupre scored a hat trick in his U11 #1 team’s 10 – 0 victory over Wabasca on Saturday.

Finally, the U11 #2 squad won both their games vs. Barrhead – 11 – 6 on Saturday and 7 – 5 on Sunday. Ryan Balbaaki scored four times in the first game. Jake Courtorielle was the leading scorer with two in Sunday’s win.

Carter Donaldson of the Slave Lake U11 team takes the puck hard to the net against Wabasca in a Saturday game in the Tervita Arena in Slave Lake. Slave Lake won the game 10 – 0.

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