Following a sluggish start to its first season back in Airdrie, the CFR Chemical Bisons are seeing improvement and an upward swing on the scoreboard.
Coach Dan Gendur said a humbling 8-2 loss to the Calgary Flames Oct. 8, helped propel the team forward in a pair of victories at home Oct. 21 and 22.
“I wouldn’t say two games is a streak, but it shows the guys what they’re capable of and boosts their confidence up,” Gendur said.
The Bisons opened up its best weekend since returning to Airdrie with a game against the Lloydminster Bandit Energy Bobcats Oct. 21.
The Airdrie squad was held off the scoresheet for a majority of the first two periods, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying, putting 19 shots on target through the opening 40 minutes.
It wasn’t until 15-year-old Jett Jones cracked the goose egg with 1:30 left in the second period that the Bisons started to see pucks get to the back of the net.
The Bisons continued dominating in the third, putting 24 shots on target and Jake Petrie, Cayde Augustine and Jones each potting a goal for a 4-0 Bisons’ lead.
Netminder Braeden Mitchell turned away all 18 shots faced to secure the shut out and give the Bisons its second win of the season.
The Bisons’ second game of the weekend played out similarly with the home team dominating the Fort Saskatchewan Boston Pizza Rangers through the majority of the game.
With 62 shots on net, a hat trick from Jones and a goal from call-up Ben Nemish, the Bisons went on to win 4-1 and improved its record to 3-5-0.
With yet another strong weekend, Jones has carved out a name for himself in the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League (AMHL) now leading the league in goals, with eight on the season.
Gendur said Jones goes to the gritty areas to get scoring opportunities and hopes other players take notice and do the same.
“We call him Moose for a reason. He’s a big kid that’s not scared to go in front of the net,” Gendur said. “He’s a complete 200-foot player and it’s very rare to see that as a 15-year-old.”
After winning three of its first five games at Ron Ebbesen Arena, the Bisons begin a string of eight-straight road games beginning Oct. 28 and wrapping up midway through November.
Although his team has only earned wins within the confines of its home rink, Gendur said he is not concerned about the road games.
“Home ice is a little bit of an advantage, but it’s not like we’re playing in front of 10,000 people or anything like that,” Gendur said. “It’s going to be a very good team building (exercise). It will bring the team together more than it already is.”
The Bisons take on the South Side Athletic Club Boston Pizza Selects in Edmonton Oct. 28, at 2:30 p.m. and follow up with a 3:15 p.m. matchup with the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders.