Airdrie Thunder wins first two pre-season games against Mountainview Colts
A solid veteran presence coupled with breakout performances from a pair of rookies helped the Airdrie Thunder to back-to-back wins in a two-game, pre-season series against the Mountainview Colts, Sept. 7 and 8.
Daniel Hounjet led the way for the Thunder with two goals and an assist in both games while Dylan Johnston, Kristian Petit, Aidan Crowther and Alex Diduch all had multi-point weekends as Airdrie defeated the Colts 6-4 in Game 1 and 5-2 in Game 2.
Thunder Head Coach Cam Aplin was impressed by the leadership of the returning players in the team’s first two full-evaluation games.
“You play every game to win, but in pre-season we’re all about evaluating the players,” he said.
“We’re pleased with what we saw. We were looking for the core to step up and lead the young guys, and they did that. We saw a lot of good things and we were seeing areas where we can help them develop as a team and individuals.”
Aplin also saw promise in a pair of rookies. Tyler Perkins and Gavin Klein, both recent graduates of the Edge School, each notched a goal and an assist in Airdrie’s first game, Sept. 7. Aplin praised Klein for his speed and playing a bigger and tougher game than his 5’9” stature.
Aplin and his coaching staff saw 30 player put through their paces in training camp, which ended four days before the team’s first game against Mountainview. After a few additions and subtractions, the team is currently working with 28 players, including three goalies.
All three goaltenders saw action over the weekend and Aplin is confident the team will start the season with two strong netminders.
The last three games of the preseason schedule, which includes two more home games and a road game against Red Deer, will give Aplin a better idea of which players will make the regular season roster. While he said the coaches may take a look at a few players coming in from Junior A, the roster will be set by the end of the month.
“We’re not going to have guys passing through the team for the next two months,” Aplin said.
“We want it set. We want the guys to have some comfort knowing they’re on the team and coming together as a team. The earlier they can do that the better.”
The Thunder’s third pre-season game will be against Three Hills, Sept. 21, while the final home pre-season game will take place Sept. 28 against the Ponoka Stampeders. Both games will be held at the Ron Ebbesen Arena at 8 p.m.