Oilers dynamic duo thriving in lead role
Hockey: Okotoks' Huber, Laderoute's chemistry paying off for first place Oilers
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 06:00 am
Continuity is a rare commodity in junior hockey.
Whether it’s via trade, opportunities in other leagues or outside of the sport, several factors get in the way of grabbing a foothold in one location.
Not so for the Okotoks Oilers’ dynamic duo of captain Carter Huber and Tanner Laderoute who have bucked that trend as three-year linemates with the green-and-gold.
“Right from the get go we clicked as friends off the ice,” Huber said. “I really noticed right away what kind of person he is, a great guy, and once we got the opportunity to play with each other we just seemed to complement each other really well out there.
“That chemistry over the last couple years, for it to build and build to where it is today, we can come to the rink and barely have to say anything to each other, we’re just on the same page.”
The duo was originally united midway through the 2015-16 season.
Huber was getting his feet wet as a rookie winger with Laderoute joining the team via trade from the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
They quickly became fast friends.
“We were both new, he was new because he was a rookie and I was brand new and didn’t know anyone,” Laderoute said. “That second year they really put us together, that’s when it started booming and we started hanging out outside of hockey a lot, in the summers even.
“Off ice to build a lot of chemistry on ice, you hang out, you know personal things about each other what they like, don’t like.”
Following some line juggling in their rookie season, the duo played together almost exclusively as sophomores alongside former Oiler Nolan Thompson.
There was no need for lobbying to keep the duo intact in year three.
“Sometimes that’s the way it is, you get on the ice with certain guys and things click really well,” Huber said. “Both coaching staffs really recognized that and have kept us together.
“(Head coach Tyler Deis) knows we’re pretty tight, when we go on the road trips we’re rooming together, they know we like to play together and they think we can make the team better.”
Rookie skaters Dylan Holloway and Marc Pasemko have skated on the line with the 1997-born forwards this season to great effect.
It’s proven to be easy to play with two guys on the same page.
Huber said communication is the key to making the third member of the line feel at home, whether that’s through pre-game chats or constant discussions on the bench and on the ice.
“It’s special. The chemistry they have together is one of a kind,” Pasemko said.
“Me contributing, it’s great for my confidence and I’m just doing the most I can to help that line stay afloat while Holloway is gone.
“Laderoute and I are pretty good at cycling, getting in there and getting the puck and getting it to Hubs – he’s pretty good at finding the soft spots.”
Their personalities translate into unique characteristics out on the ice.
Though great friends, the two are somewhat of a study in contrasts.
“We can be a little different, we can get on each other’s nerves, but it’s all in good fun,” Laderoute said. “Sometimes opposites attract. He’s one of my better friends for sure. I don’t know what kicked it off, but it’s working.”
Calm, cool and collected, Huber is a steadying presence in all three zones and does everything well. Laderoute’s unbridled enthusiasm translates to a seemingly endless amount of energy as a tireless worker who’s always keeping his feet moving.
“It’s obvious that he can really fly and I like to try to find him and get scoring chances,” Huber said. “Our playing styles match up well, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Our personalities also match up really well. We both have an honest relationship where if we’re not happy with something that happened on the ice we will say something.”
Crucially, the tight relationship has played a major hand in one another’s development.
Both forwards sit one and two in team scoring and have seen their complete game’s improve astronomically since year one.
“I owe him a lot. He pushes me, especially with the speed,” Huber said. “He’s such a fast player and that’s an area of my game that I’m always looking to improve, my foot speed has improved over the last couple years just by playing with him. In practice, he’s always pushing the pace, always looking to get better and so do I.
“You will often find us after practice working on small drills together. We definitely have a relationship where we can push each other, that’s been huge for me and he would say the same.”
19 in a row
The Okotoks Oilers will try to make it 20 consecutive wins when they host the Olds Grizzlys Friday night at the Pason at 7 p.m.
The Oilers extended their winning streak to 19 games when they outlasted the feisty Calgary Canucks 7-4 in a Family Day matinee at the Pason.
Jacob Bernard-Docker led the Oilers attack with two goals. The green-and-white received single tallies from Ben Sanderson, Austin Wong, Kyle Gordon, Cole Basnett and Marc Pasemko.
Riley Morris made 29 saves in picking up his 27th win of the year.
The first-place Oilers (47-6-2) hit the road on Feb. 25 when they take on the Camrose Kodiaks in Camrose.