The Beardy’s Midget AAA Blackhawks battled the Tisdale Trojans at the Willow Cree Memorial Sport Centre but dropped 4-1 decision on December 6.
Tisdale struck first in the opening period, and even though the Trojans led 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play, the Blackhawks easily could’ve been the team with the lead.
“That was a good period. That was really good Midget AAA hockey,” said Blackhawks coach Dale Grayston. “The shots were tight and the play was very even. We needed to replicate that through the three periods and we just never did.”
Tisdale netted two consecutive goals in the middle frame and started to take control of the game as the Trojans were playing better then the Blackhawks.
“They (Tisdale) stuck to what they do well and we didn’t. I thought they forechecked really, really well, and really smothered the puck, and we didn’t do that,” Grayston said.
Beardy’s had a couple of quality scoring chances throughout the first half of the third period but just couldn’t get that lucky bounce. After the Blackhawks committed separate penalties at the same time, Tisdale had a 5-on-3 power-play and the Trojans scored, to take a 4-0 lead.
Even though Tisdale was up four goals, the Blackhawks continued to play hard, which led to a goal late in the contest, scored by Holden Doell.
“The nice thing tonight was the guys we didn’t expect to keep pressure on their team did, which was our third and fourth lines. I thought those guys played hard all night and it was nice they got rewarded at the end with the goal,” Grayston said.
The Blackhawks’ next three games are on the road and to be successful Grayston wants the team to play at a quicker pace.
“I think we got to play faster and with system play and I thought our play tonight wasn’t very fast,” he said. “The quicker you are to the puck, the more you can do, both defensively and offensively. And we really got to find that tempo and good pace to the game that we need.”
Beardy’s is matched up against the Notre Dame Argos on December 16 and on the following day the Blackhawks are in Moose Jaw to take on the Generals. The final match of the road game swing is on December 20 against the Prince Albert Mintos.
The Blackhawks will be competing in the 2018/19 The Mac’s Midget AAA World Invitational Tournament in Calgary from December 26 to January 2.
This is an invitational tournament that features elite Midget AAA teams across Canada as well as the United States and other countries. Even though the Beardy’s weren’t one of the original teams invited to the event, a team backed out and the Blackhawks was the replacement club.
“They saw enough that they wanted to invite our team to be the replacement team,” Grayston said. “We’re really excited about that, I think it’s going to be a really good tournament for us to see how we fit against other teams across western Canada and maybe even the world.”
The Blackhawks record is 11-10 with three overtime losses, and Grayston hopes that playing in this tournament can help the team improve.
“Some teams (like us) are hoping the tournament well set them up for good play in the second half of the season,”he said.
The last time the Beardy’s Blackhawks competed in the prestigious tournament was in 2011.