By Cole Parkinson
For Vauxhall Advance
Editor’s note: Due to a significant percentage of players hailing from the Vauxhall area, the Advance will now be publishing weekly briefs on the Taber Golden Suns.
It may not feel like Christmas outside, but the calendar has flipped to December and Taber Golden Suns teams were back on the ice this past weekend for the South Central Alberta Hockey League regular season.
The U13s kicked off the new month with a pair of road games as they looked to rebound from a rough end to November.
On Saturday afternoon, the team took on the West Central Tigers. The first period was all Suns as Taber potted three straight to take a 3-0 lead into the middle frame. Ben Van Der Linde had two of the Taber goals while Travis Jackson had the other. Barrett DeVlieger, Hudson Stenger, Jude Klingenberg, and Hayden Eldridge all collected a single assist.
The second meanwhile was all Tigers as the home team tied things up with three straight of their own as the teams went into the third in a 3-3 deadlock. Unfortunately for Taber, the Tigers would find the game-winner with under a minute to go and the buzzer would sound with a 4-3 final. Drew Tame made 32 saves on 36 shots in the Taber net.
Sunday saw the team travel once again as they looked to end the weekend with a victory against the Airdrie Lightning. The home team cruised out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period before extending that lead to four near the midway point of the second. Taber would answer back with a pair of powerplay markers to cut the lead to 4-2 before the third period. Stenger and Marcus Schwartz had the Taber markers with Jaxton Rodeback, Lincoln Deleeuw, and Van Der Linde collecting an assist each.
Taber would see Van Der Linde score early in the third with Deleeuw drawing the assist as the Lightning lead dwindled to a single goal. That would be as close as it would get though as the home team would add five straight to take the game 9-3. Cale Campbell was the starting netminder for Taber, making 30 saves on 39 shots.
This coming weekend sees the Suns return for a pair of home games. First up is a rematch against the West Central Tigers on Saturday afternoon. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. Sunday has the Bow Valley Timberwolves in town for a 1 p.m. game.
The U15 Golden Suns had three chances this weekend to add to their win total. On Friday night, the team made the trek to Lethbridge to take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Lethbridge would score the lone goal in the first to take a 1-0 lead into the middle frame. The Canes would extend that lead to two near the 10-minute mark, but Myles Matisho would score Taber’s first goal of the game seconds later. But it would be the Hurricanes who would continue to find the back of the net as they added another two goals to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.
Lethbridge would score first once again in the third. With only five minutes to go until the final buzzer, Heston Hansen would score unassisted for Taber followed by Nixen Miller as Taber cut the lead to 5-3. Madix Miller and Brooke Dyck would draw assists on the Miller goal. The Canes would add a powerplay goal with just over a minute to play as they skated to a 6-3 win. Griffin Stenger would make 35 saves on 41 shots in the Taber net.
Saturday saw the team return home for a matchup against the Bow Valley Timberwolves. The visitors would find the back of the net twice in the first and carried a 2-0 lead into the second period. Taber would answer quickly in the second as Foster Weatherhead and Canaan Fleck would score in quick succession to tie the game up. Maxx Davis had the assist on the Weatherhead goal while Weatherhead and Hansen had the assists on the second Suns’ goal. While Bow Valley would retake the lead a few minutes later, the Suns were undeterred. Liam Okell and Ryker Orsten would get Taber the lead thanks to a pair of powerplay goals. Dyck, Hansen, Blaise Olden, and Miller drew the assists on the two late Taber goals.
With a 4-3 lead heading into the third, the Suns would find themselves with an even bigger lead come the first five minutes. Hansen would add another in the first minute while Weatherhead potted his second a few minutes later, with Hansen drawing the assist. The Timberwolves would score late, but it was too late as the Suns secured a 6-4 win. Dakota Hurst was the starting goalie for Taber and made 45 saves on 49 shots.
The final game of the weekend saw Taber line up against the Airdire Lighting on the road. This one was all Lightning as the home team crushed to an 11-0 victory. Stenger got two full periods and made 24 saves on 31 shots while Hurst played in a single and made 10 saves on 14 shots.
The U15 Suns return to the ice this coming weekend for a pair of home games. The first is a Friday night game against the Medicine Hat SEAV Tigers. Puck drop is set for 8:15 p.m. They wrap up the weekend on Saturday evening with a 5:30 p.m. game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
It was a two-game weekend for the U18 Suns as they had both on the road. Saturday night saw the Suns in Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes. The first was a high-scoring affair as both teams found the back of the net twice. Connor Chapman had both Taber goals with Chase Stronge and Jett Matisho drawing an assist each. Matisho would find the back of the net on the powerplay in the second period as the Suns took a 3-2 lead into the third period. The Suns held on strong in the final frame as they came away with a 3-2 win. Kahil Wright made 20 saves on 22 shots in the Taber win.
They looked to make it a 2-0 weekend on Sunday when they went to Calgary to take on CNHA Gold. When all was said and done, Taber once again emerged victorious — this time 4-1. Chapman had another two goals while Matisho also found the back of the net twice. Stronge had a pair of assists while Landon Howg and Berkley Emelson had singles. Keegan Stenger was rock solid between the pipes as the netminder made 27 saves on 28 shots.
The U18 Suns look to continue to add wins this coming weekend when they return home for a pair of games. On Saturday at 8 p.m., the Suns will battle CNHA Black. The weekend wraps up the following day with a 3:30 p.m. puck drop against the Foothills Bisons.