BARRHEAD - Barrhead Bombers head coach Mario Haase has no concerns about his heading into the Canadian American Junior Hockey League (CAJHL) regular season despite losing their two preseason games of the season against the Hinton Timberwolves, the league's reigning champions.
"It is the preseason. The whole purpose is to try different combinations, see what you have, test out your systems and see who might work well together regarding line combinations and defence pairings," he said, following the home loss, adding both squads did considerable tinkering to their lineups in the two games.
"I am confident in the group we have assembled, and we are not done tinkering with our roster," he said, adding that he will add two or three players to the roster before the home opener. "Our program is getting to be more known, and we are getting inquiries from players wanting to join the team.”
The Bombers will open the regular season on the road against the Vegreville Vipers on Sept. 30 before returning home for a five-game home stand at the Barrhead Agrena, starting on Friday, Oct. 6, against the Cold Lake Aeros, followed by the Southern Alberta Mustangs, out of Stavely, and the Hinton Timberwolves on Saturday and Sunday.
Haase noted that Vegreville was one of the CAJHL's strongest teams last season, running almost step-and-step with the Timberwolves, finishing the season with 36 wins, seven losses and two overtime losses, good enough for second place in the regular season.
"Of course, things can change pretty quickly in junior hockey, and many general managers keep things close to their vest [Vegreville included], but I suspect they will have another strong squad this year and be a good test for us," he said.
It looks like Barrhead forward Cade Bohn will be all right. About midway through the third period during the Sept. 23 game, Bohn and multiple Timberwolves players' legs got tangled in an endboard corner collision in a race for the puck. After untangling the players, Bohn lay motionless on the ice for several minutes before being carried off the ice by his teammates.
Haase said they would take Bohn to the Barrhead Healthcare Centre as a precaution, but all signs pointed to a sprained ankle and that he was already up and walking shortly after the game.