By Greg Price
Taber bantam “AA” Golden Suns opened its South Central Alberta Hockey League season with a 3-3 draw against the Okotoks Oilers at the Taber Arena on Friday night.
The power play was clicking for the Suns who got two of their three tallies from the man advantage in the victory.
Kaden Walburger, Carter DeBoer and Jed Magarrell all scored for the Golden Suns who got assists from Nathan Verloop, John VandenElzen and Braeden Sheppard.
“I think we improved a little bit from the pre-season tournament. As the team gels and gets used to playing together and the pace of bantam “AA,” our results will improve,” said Lynn Degenstein, head coach of the Taber bantam “AA” Golden Suns.
Ty Young helped preserve the single point in the standings with a solid game in goal for the Golden Suns, facing 47 shots on net as the Golden Suns were badly outshot.
As strong as the power play was, the penalty kill was even stronger as the Golden Suns’ specialty teams were truly special.
“I was actually more happy with our penalty kill than I was with our power play. We killed a 5-on-3 at a critical time when we were down 3-1,” said Degenstein. “We didn’t give up a power-play goal the whole game. That made a big difference. Our 5-on-5 play wasn’t very good with the way we were outshot, but we won the special teams play that game. Our goalie got a workout for sure, but we built some energy off our penalty kill and went from there capitalizing on our power play.”
Taber bantam “AA” Golden Suns host Central Alberta Selects on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Taber Arena.
The team also hosts Medicine Hat Hounds on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Taber Arena.
There are plenty of fresh faces on the Taber bantam “AA” Golden Suns this year with only two returning players from last year’s team. It will be a work in progress as the players build chemistry together on different lines as they continue to get experience as the season builds.
“It’s getting the team to gel and work together as a team and figuring out how to compete at the bantam “AA” level. Now that the camp is over, we will come together and grow as a team,” said Degenstein. “In some years you have a lot of returning players or players that have played at this level before. Getting everything together takes a little bit of time. It’s a good group of kids who are very competitive and they all have high energy levels.”
PEEWEE: Taber peewee “AA” Golden Suns started in 2017/2018 South Central Alberta Hockey League season on the road on Sunday with a 5-2 loss to Wheatland Braves.
The Golden Suns did have a 2-1 lead heading into the second period before surrendering four unanswered goals.
Chance Loke and Kolter Walburger tallied for the Suns who got assists from Rhett Klemen, Wyatt Bishop and Aidyn Law.
Marek Schlenker faced 37 shots on goal in the loss.
Taber peewee “AA” Golden Suns play its SCAHL home opener on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Taber Arena against Okotoks Oilers Green.
MIDGET: Taber midget “AA” Golden Suns open its 2017/2018 South Central Alberta Hockey League season on Friday night against the Foothills Bisons with an 8:30 p.m. game at the Taber Arena.
The team also hosts Okotoks Oilers on Saturday with a 8 p.m. tilt at the Taber Arena.