ATHABASCA – The Athabasca U18-1 Hawks will host the Tier 2 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships Mar. 30 – Apr. 2 at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex.
Hockey Alberta announced the host locations for this spring’s various provincial championship tournaments just before Christmas, with the Athabasca Minor Hockey Association delivering the good news to local fans over Facebook Jan. 8.
“We are thrilled to welcome seven other teams to our community for what will be an exciting and memorable tournament,” the post read. “Planning is underway, and more details will be shared soon.”
Most provincial events include eight teams — the host, a wild card and the champions from each division’s respective leagues from all corners of the province. That means automatic entry for the hometown Hawks, but by the way things have been looking on the ice so far this season, they were likely on the path to the championship tournament anyway.
Weekend on ice
The U18-1 squad played on home ice twice this weekend with an afternoon game Saturday against Drayton Valley, then another against Slave Lake Sunday afternoon.
The Tier 2 provincial hosts took their 5-2-2 record into the weekend and came out the other side with two victories.
Karcyn Radmanovich got the Hawks off their perch about six minutes in with a shorthanded marker, one of two in the game for him.
The teams traded goals to tie it at three each, until the third when Athabasca started to pull away, scoring three quick ones before Drayton Valley could regain their scoring touch. The Hawks held on for the 7-6 win.
Andyn Bilsky also had two in the game, while Tristan Durell, Marcus Sakowich and Dryden McNamara each contributed with one. Bowie Loomis also turned away 25 of 31 shots to pick up the win.
On Sunday, the U18-1s returned to the ice, and after a quiet first and second period that ended tied at two, the Hawks pulled away immediately in the third, scoring several goals in the first few minutes to pull ahead and take the 7-3 win.
Bilsky had the hat trick, while Durell added two and Jacob Bury and Ty Oba scored one each.
They’re on the road to Westlock and Bon Accord next Friday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, back in Bon Accord last Saturday, the U18-2 Hawks blew out the CNN team with an 11-1 score, which brings the Hawks’ record in Tier 3 to 2-6-1 on the year.
CNN actually got on the board first, and not until 12 minutes into the first period, then the Hawks took off with 11 unanswered tallies, including two from Rylan Burritt, Colin Fenske, Keagan Durell and TJ Sawchuk, with singles from James Neumeier, Rayce Dierker and Ezra Hayward.
It wasn’t the team’s biggest blowout of the year though, having defeated CNN at the end of November in a 15-2 pounding.
They’ll be back on the ice at the Multiplex Saturday and Sunday for two against Edson.
The U15-2 Hawks were also on Multiplex ice Sunday, but visited Pembina Saturday, picking up a 7-2 win there first with the help of four goals from Oliver Richards and singles from Jake Safar, Shayden St. Denis and Taiwo Oba.
The Sunday game against Drayton Valley saw the Hawks take on a team they defeated by just one goal in their first tilt of the season in November, but the final score was unavailable at press time.
Barrhead will visit the Multiplex next Saturday.
The U15-1 team didn’t have the same luck as their peers, picking up a 6-2 loss in Hinton on Saturday, then another in Edson Sunday 12-2.
Athabasca’s two U13-2 teams returned to the ice Friday, going head-to-head in league play with the 2A team taking a decisive 9-2 victory. Jasper Hynes led the way with five goals, while Carter Leriger scored two, and Taitum Craige one more for 2A.
Rylan Minns and Dragan Lugonja each scored one for the 2B team.
The U13-1 squad also returned to the ice for the first time since the break, skating to a 3-3 tie with New Sarepta Saturday at the Multiplex.
The U11-1 Hawks picked up two losses on the road, falling to New Sarepta 5-3 Saturday, then again Sunday to Slave Lake by a 6-1 score.