With training camp in the books and a solid preseason showing, the Cold Lake Ice are set to open the season on the road in St. Paul this Friday as five time defending NEAJBHL champs.
This was head coach Scott Hood’s first game behind the bench after joining the team in early July. He and assistant coaches Ron Tremblay and Shawn Coles got a good chance to see the team in game-form after a positive training camp.
“Definitely some skill with this team. (We) need to work on our systems and stay a little more disciplined than what we were; looking forward to the challenge of getting these great young players to buy into what we are implementing,” said Hood.
The team has been hard at work getting ready for Friday’s season opener versus the Canadiens. For Hood, the message has been a simple one to his players.
“Weather the storm and play our game. It’s a long season and as long as we get better every game and every week we will be fine.”
Despite having a few holes to fill on offence, the Ice will be set up front thanks to the accumulated Junior B experience of players stepping into full time roles. Dillon Kalinski and Donovan Bibeau were with the team as AP players last season and Hood expects them to be a bigger part of the team this year.
“Kalinski and Bibeau have a lot of skill and hopefully they can put the puck in the net at a regular pace.”
As far as other new additions on offence, Hood said, “(Bradon) Carr will be a nice fit at third line centre. He likes to muck it up in the corners so that will definitely be an upside for us. (Brae) Howatt is a versatile player and will fit in nice wherever he plays. (Linden) Jackson and (Nicholas) Murrell are new this week and will be an integral part going forward. (Colton) Katuski is a big body that likes to hit so he will be used as an energy guy on the fourth line.”
During the team’s win over Lloydminster, the Bandits had clawed back from a two goal deficit to tie the game in the third period at 5. Like a switch was flipped somewhere in the arena, Ice veteran players went to work. Two quick goals back to back by Taylor Anshelm and Christian Nypower sealed the deal for the Ice. It was a great indicator to Hood of what can be expected from the teams veterans.
“We have a great leadership core with this group. Guys that have been around and won before so that will be nice. They know what it takes to win and will push the other guys to step up,” said Hood.
The Ice square off in St. Paul against the Canadiens on Friday evening at 8 p.m.The Ice were unbeaten in all four of the team’s match ups last season.
Cold Lake will be on the road again Saturday night in Vegreville to take on the Rangers at 8 p.m.
By: Andrew Heliotis
**The Ice are still in need of Billets for the 2015-’16 season.
If you are interested in opening your home to an Ice player this season then please call 780-545-3793 and speak to Andrew.
The Ice Season Opener will be Friday, October 9th at 8 pm.