It was another busy weekend in bantam hockey across Western Canada. The Sask First evaluations took place in Warman, SK, league action was in full swing elsewhere and a big CSSHL Bantam Showcase took place in Edmonton.
Sask First Recap
The Sask First zone tryouts took place over the weekend in Warman, SK. The Warman Legends Centre is a great place to host such an event and the viewing points were excellent! The first thing our scouts in attendance commented on was that it really gave some of the smaller centre located players a chance to expose themselves to scouts. Sometimes kids on good team can shine brighter while kids on poor teams don’t always get the same look. Saskatchewan’s 2003 born age group is largely defense heavy and very much so in the North with the majority of the top prospects in the top few rounds being defenseman. The elite defense really showed their skill. There are some decent forwards for this years draft with the likes of Gabe Klassen, Matthew Hodson, Ashton Ferster, Keenan Allan did not attend as he was playing with RHA this weekend in the Edmonton showcase as was top goalie Jaxson Taupert. Talented goalies with Josh Dueck and Brett Mirwald to name a couple played well.
We were really impressed with defenseman Logan Bairos, Liam Bell, Marek Schneider, Nolan Allan and Jacob Hoffrogge most specifically. All of the the above players are ranked in the top few rounds in our latest rankings and should all remain there for the remainder of the season. Up front, Matthew Hodson, Gabe Klassen and Alex Bernauer were a step ahead of the rest and continue to show well this season. Our scouts were impressed mostly by Brett Mirwald in goal. Some surprises or players that showed well that we didn’t have as much viewings on this year were Trevor Sanderson, Ethan Kasner, Austin Reschny and Braxton Buckberger. Kihisis Hansen from Notre Dame was perhaps the biggest surprise of them all. Good skater, works hard and has some good skill. A player to watch moving forward. Keenan Keays of Notre Dame will be added to our watch list and could be a possible late round pick.
The CSSHL had a showcase over the weekend in Edmonton, AB with BWC Academy, Edge Mountaineers, Delta Green, Northern Alberta Xtreme, Delta White, OHA Edmonton, POE and Rink Hockey Academy all taking part.
BWC Academy had a strong weekend and are really starting to come on and look much improved from the beginning of the season. They play a very good team game and are receiving good goaltending. BWC went 3-0-1 this weekend which included a 7-2 walkover on NAX. Chase Sandhu has picked up his game once again as of late and had 3-5-8 in the 4 weekend games. Tyler Schweitzer has really picked up his game as well of late as has Fin Williams. Thomas Milic is looking better and better as we move through the season and is among the CSSHL leaders in many goaltending categories and faces nearly 30 shots-per-game.
NAX D – Lajoie has scored 8 goals in his past 9 games from defence. NAX forwards in #1 overall ranked 04 Matthew Savoie and Dylan Guenther continue to rack up the points. Savoie had a 5 point and a 7 point game over the weekend, finishing with 3-11-14 in the 4 games. Dylan Guenther, who is 2nd in the league in goals, fired home 10 goals in the 4 games which included a 5 goal game and a 4 goal game.
Rink Hockey Academy continue to progress at a good rate as well. Eric Alarie has really upped his level of play and could make a run at a top 10 overall ranking by season’s end. Alarie exploded over the weekend for 7-6-13 in 4 games. Jaxson Taupert played really well in goal as did high ranked Tyler Brennan. Garrett Zasitko had a good showing and is starting to add offensive production to his strong two-way game while Keenan Allen, Skylar Bruce and Owen Weihs continue their upward ascent. Noah Serdachny had a strong weekend and players a very smart game. The numbers haven’t been what we would think from Serdachny but we would expect that to improve as we move forward. Carson Lambos is Carson Lambos and we could all be getting a bit spoiled with his play.
Delta Green plays a good team game as well. They really clog up the neutral zone and it is tough to form a consistent attack. They went 2-2-0 over the weekend with losses to OHA Edmonton and RHA. Matt Smith is a very solid 2-way style defenseman who had a good weekend.
OHA Penticton relies heavily on Cole Sillinger and defenseman Noah Dorey continues to impress as well. Porter Trevelyan had a nice weekend and has points in 6 of his past 7 games. Sillinger continues to lead the league in scoring with 33-21-54 in 16GP. He fired home 3 straight hat-tricks this past weekend! Cole has scored a goal in all 16 CSSHL league games this season. He is on pace for over 60 goals and to put that into perspective, last years leader Connor McClennon had 45.
OHA Edmonton is a very deep team and play consistent all season long. They may be the team to beat as we move through the season. They have lots of balance, roll their lines and come at you in waves. Sean Tschigerl had 8 points over the weekend it isn’t just his offence that is impressive, it is his complete game. Some believe he could go #1 overall. Drew Sim picked up the lone showcase shutout in a 13 save effort. Sim leads the CSSHL prep division in GAA with a 1.27 GAA and has a .935% which places him 4th.
In the AMBHL, Spruce Grove PAC picked up a pair of wins and were led by high end 2004 born Koehn Ziemmer who had a hat-trick and finished with 3-3-6 in 2 GP. Evan Forrest who plays on a line with Ziemmer racked up 1-6-7. Spruce Grove are now over .500 at 9-8-2. This after finishing the 2016-2017 season at 5-26-5.
Edmonton CAC continues to play without one of their top players and one of the top players in the 2004 age group in Western Canada as Billal Noori continues to sit out with a likely season ending injury. In has absence, James Gibson has really taken his game to the next level and had another great performance over the weekend with 2-2-4 in a 6-1 win on Friday, Hudson Norris had the same. Gibson has moved into the top 10 in league scoring with 14-13-27 in 16GP.
The Airdrie Xtreme keep rolling after a pair of weekend wins. The Xtreme are 14-1-4 and trail only the Calgary Bisons who are 17-2-2. Airdrie have three players in the top 15 scoring leaders and all had good performances over the weekend as Tristan Zandee, Craig Armstrong and Brett Moravec had good weekends. Ty Mueller had a 2-2-4 game on Saturday and is now approaching a PPG after a slow start to his season which also included injury. He seems to be finding his game.
A goalie in the 2004 born age group we are watching closely is Okotoks G – Daniel Hauser. Hauser has really stepped up his game as the season has progressed and over the weekend picked up his first shutout of his bantam career in stopping 27 shots vs. Fort Saskatchewan. Hauser is now among the league leaders in Save percentage at .920%. Definitely a goalie to watching as we progress throughout this season and in to next season as well.
Also, in that 4-0 shutout win, Connor Foffenroth picked up a hat-trick and then scored another hat-trick on Sunday in a 6-3 win. Foffenroth now has 17 goals in 17 games and is now 17th in league scoring as well!
The Lloydminster Bobcats picked up a pair of high-scoring wins over the weekend. Matthew Swanson had a hat-trick on Saturday in a 5-4 win and Jayven Leslie had 3 assists in that game. Then Jayven Leslie had 2-1-3 on Sunday in a 9-5 win over GPAC Storm.
- Our 3rd overall ranked player for the draft Zack Stringer had yet another good weekend for the Lethbridge AAA Hurricanes of the AMHL. He scored a goal in a 3-2 win on Saturday and then exploded for a hat-trick plus 1 assist on Sunday. Stringer is 7th in AMHL scoring with 15-10-25 and his 15 goals are just 1 behind league leader Jake Neighbours who was a 4th overall pick last year in the bantam draft.
- Trevor Wong of St. George’s Academy Varsity once again racked up the points with 7-8-15 in 4GP. Wong is running away with the Varsity scoring race with 37-46-83 in just 16GP. His teammates Dylan Fader has 17-37-54 and 2004 star forward Connor Levis has 24-24-48 in 16GP. Levis’s 24 goals are 2nd in the CSSHL varsity division. Oliver Gabrielson has racked up 20-20-40 from defense.