Pirates making progress as new season gets underway

Photo Courtesy of the Venice House Pirates The Prince Albert Venice House Pirates Under-15 team celebrate following a 9-5 pre-season win over the North East Wolfpack at the Kinsmen Arena earlier this month.

Under-15 AA team face Saskatoon Generals this weekend

On the surface, 9-2 and 11-4 losses to the Saskatoon Generals wouldn’t seem like the ideal start to the season for the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates Under-15 program.

However, according to head coach Rod Dallman, last weekend’s setbacks could prove to be a huge building block for the team as they progress through the 2020-21 campaign.

“We had some kids out of the lineup so we only played with 12 skaters, with nine of them being first-year players,” Dallman said on Thursday. “They were put into a situation where they gained a lot of experience at a fast rate, but I thought they did really well.

“During our individual meetings with the players this week, they all said the same thing. The game is much faster compared to where they’ve played before and they were surprised with just how little time you have in making plays. It’s nice to see that they are recognizing that themselves.”

Rookie forward Owen Nelson led the way in last Friday’s 9-2 loss at the Art Hauser Centre as he scored a goal and helped to set up a marker by second-year forward Lee Burden.

Nelson had a pair of goals in Sunday’s setback in Saskatoon, which saw rookie forward Kelan Simmonds have a goal and assist.

Thomas Cyr, who is also a first-year forward, lit the lamp in the setback.

The Pirates are expected to have everyone back in the lineup this weekend for their rematches with the Generals, which are slated for 8 p.m. Friday at the Kinsmen Arena and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Rod Hamm Memorial Arena in Saskatoon.

Dallman has had the chance to see his team’s full roster in action in two pre-season contests, as they cruised to a 13-2 road win over the Humboldt Broncos on Oct. 17 and earned a 9-5 home triumph over the North East Wolfpack on Oct. 24.

“We’re not a really big team in terms of size, but we’re definitely a smart team and that’s something that our group has throughout the lineup, which is really nice,” Dallman said.

“That (our depth) is something we have to concentrate on if we want to have success. We can’t rely on individual players.”

Following this weekend’s games with the Generals, the Pirates will host the Saskatoon Stallions in a 7:30 p.m. contest at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday, Nov. 28.

The fan capacity for home games at the Art Hauser Centre is at 150 people, while the maximum amount of fans for contests at the Kinsmen Arena is 82.