Second half push the standout moment of the season for Pirates head coach

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Elliot Candin of the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates spots a loose puck in front of the Swift Current Broncos net during a game at the Kinsmen Arena earlier this season.

Bantam AA campaign concludes with playoff setback to Generals

Things didn’t look good for the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates to start off the 2019-20 campaign as they had a 1-7 record in Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League play.

That proved to be a slight bump in the road for the side, however, as they rattled off a 19-4 record to earn the sixth seed for the North Division playoffs.

“The league was super tight this year and the guys didn’t panic after that rough start,” Pirates head coach Rod Dallman said.

“We kept working towards building our team and making sure that our guys were caring more about their teammates than themselves. Once they did that, we were able to finish out the season on a high note.”

The Pirates’ year came to an end on Saturday in Saskatoon as they dropped an exciting 5-4 affair to the Saskatoon Generals in the third and deciding game of their opening round series.

“The kids played very well and we really liked the way that they responded in a do or die situation, which is also what we saw from them in Prince Albert a couple of night earlier,” Dallman said.

“We started off the game very strong and we actually had a chance to go up 2-0, but the goal that we scored was called back. Saskatoon capitalized by tying in up a few moments later, but we responded well after that. It was a really good game and we just came out on the wrong end of it.”

Tanner Howe led the way for the Pirates with two goals and two assists each, while Caden Dunn and Eric Ward also lit the lamp and Jayden Kraus stopped 29 shots.

Reid Andresen paced the Generals on offence with a goal and two assists.

Nate Allardyce dished out a pair of helpers in the triumph, which saw Brodie Scopick, Kaden Johns, Caden Prince and Logan Pickford score goals.

Alex Garrett turned aside 23 shots for the hosts, who opened up their quarter-final series against the Saskatoon Bandits with a 6-4 win on Monday night.

The Pirates will welcome a strong core back to their roster next season, as they can return goaltender Kraus, blueliners Luc Bourdon and Dayne Henry, plus forwards Ward, Ashton Tait, Lee Burden and Van Taylor.

“I think we’ll have a pretty good nucleus and a good foundation set in place,” Dallman said.

“It will allow us to help establish where we need to be for the next group of guys that will be joining us.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the Pirates roster will wait to see what their hockey future has in store for them, as some of the players could be drafted in the Western Hockey League and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Bantam Draft this spring.

“The 2005 group in this province is very strong and I know a lot of scouts have been talking about it,” Dallman said.

“I think that bodes well for our players and I think you’ll see a strong contingent from Prince Albert moving forward, especially into our Midget AAA ranks.”