Titans searching for a full 60-minute effort

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Titans forward Tanner Hendriks celebrates after scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal against the Saskatoon Westleys on Sunday afternoon at the Kinsmen Arena.

Through the first six games of the 2020-21 Prairie Junior Hockey League season, the Prince Albert Titans have found the back of the net on 23 occasions, which is the third most in the Junior B circuit.

The only problem though is that they have allowed 32 goals, which is the most in the 11-team loop.

While they currently have a 1-5 record and are tied for fifth place in the Bob Dybvig Division with the Carrot River Outback Thunder and the West Central Rage, Titans head coach and director of hockey operations Kim Dryka has liked most of what he’s seen from the bench.

“Our effort in these first six games has been good and I think we could easily be 3-3 right now if we didn’t let the lead slip away from us in four of those games,” Dryka said.

“We have a good bunch of kids here and we’re already averaging four or five goals a game, which is great to see. We just need to buckle down defensively and we’ll get those wins.”

A perfect example of the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the Titans season occurred on Sunday afternoon at the Kinsmen Arena.

After jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the second period, the Titans could only look on as the Saskatoon Westleys scored five unanswered goals on their way to a 6-4 triumph.

“We got two goals on shorthanded breakaways to take the lead in the first period and we were cruising along pretty good, but then we made a couple of little mistakes and they (Saskatoon) were able to get a couple of goals back,” Dryka said. “Once the momentum starts to slip away from you, you start to make a few more mistakes and gripping your stick a little harder, which makes it tough to swing things back in your direction.

“Sometimes you can learn more from your losses than your wins. We can take a lot of positives from these games, but our main goal right now is to make sure that we keep pushing forward when we have the lead instead of letting our foot off the gas pedal.”

One of the pleasant surprises for Dryka has been the Titans offence, which has been led by the eight-point showings by Ben Zultok and Tanner Hendriks.

“Ben’s come to play and he’s a little spark out there, while Tanner is one of those guys that gives you everything he has whenever he steps out on the ice though,” Dryka said. “To be honest though, it’s been a whole team effort so far. We knew that we would have that scoring touch early but it’s been great to see how quickly it’s all come together.

“If we can just figure out the whole 60-minute game and fix a couple of things with our defensive coverage, I know that things are going to look bright for us.”

The Titans are slated to return to action on Friday night at they will host the Thunder in a 7:30 p.m. matchup at the Kinsmen Arena.