Having tasted victory last weekend, the Kootenay Midget Ice skate into a two-game set with the South Island Royals with new confidence.
The BC Major Midget League organization beat the Thompson Blazers in both their home games last weekend at Trail’s Cominco Arena. The previously winless Ice now have an understanding of what it takes to succeed in the standings.
“The wins provide the team with the confidence they lack,” said Ice coach Mario DiBella. “In the past when a goal is scored against us, the feeling has been ‘oh no, here we go, this will be the beginning of the end.’ Momentum and confidence go hand-in-hand and those weekend wins prove to everyone that if they stay with the systems as diagrammed, there are positive results.”
The Blazers sit last in the league and were not the most difficult competition the Ice have faced so far this season on their way to a 2-8-0 start. The Royals — who visit the Trail arena Saturday and Sunday — currently sit seventh in the 12-team league.
Though the Island team will be more of a challenge, DiBella is confident his crew can be equally tough.
“Momentum is a funny thing. Believing in yourself and your brand is a huge thing and players are buying into this and we will carry that good feeling into this weekend,” said DiBella. “Every player has two arms and two legs. It’s deciding how they are being utilized that determines wins or losses.”
One of the added bright spots to last weekend’s victories was the performance of Nelson Minor Hockey graduate Brandon Sookro. The speedy forward scored two goals and added four assists over the weekend.
“Getting Justin Post back on the line-up with Sookro and Nolan Percival allows Brandon to continue to develop as the playmaker on the line,” said DiBella. “Every line needs the hard worker grinding for pucks, the playmaker and the triggerman. This line accounted for 15 points between them over the weekend and established themselves as a premier unit.”
Saturday’s game starts at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s contest is a 9:45 a.m. start.
The Ice have six Nelson Minor Hockey graduates in the line-up: Sookro, Austin Tambellini, Adam Maida, Percival, Sam Weber and Michael Viala.