For the first time in a few years, Bashaw Minor Hockey has been able to ice a bantam squad to some grand success.
The Bashaw Stars have posted three rather lopsided pre-season victories over the past few weeks, leading to the club being bumped up to tier 3. The club beat up on tier 4 opponents Camrose 17-1 and Leduc 12-0 before defeating Maskwacis 12-8 on Oct. 22.
Ethan Bloomquist led the club with five goals in Maskwacis, while Cole Fankhanel and Ryan Catterall each added a pair with singles from Mark Carlson, Ethan Taylor and Avery Nelson.
“It’s awesome to have a team at this level again, even though it’s small and we had to scrape it together,” said coach Roy Carlson.
“We are certainly glad the league approved each one of our three over-age players, because if it wasn’t for them there wouldn’t have been a team.”
Carlson added the fact two of their over-agers didn’t play last season probably helped the team’s cause as did the addition of one player who joined from Alix.
As for the season to come, the coaching staff know the road will be tough as it faces stiffer competition in tier 3.
“We were pretty dominating in all of our games early this season, so it wasn’t a surprise we got bumped up,” Carlson stated.
“So to get ready, practice is going to be really important and because of our short bench there will be a lot of work done on conditioning. If we are going to have to roll two lines all game, our team is going to have to be in shape.
“The competition we’ll face will be tougher and that might be a bit of surprise for a few of our players. Plus, unlike previous opponents, these teams are going to make you pay for a mistake and it isn’t going to be as easy for our players to recover if they make one.”
Shining shots – Only two clubs have begun their regular seasons. The bantams kicked things off over the weekend with a pair of games at home against Tofield and Vegreville (results unavailable at press time), while the novice Stars have lost a pair and hosted Bowden (result unavailable). Both the atom and peewee clubs concluded their pre-season schedules last week and are waiting for the regular schedule to be set.