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Several Suns rise at awards banquet

Posted on April 9, 2014 by Taber Times

Two Taber Golden Suns players were recognized for their regular season efforts with South Central Alberta Hockey League awards last week at the Golden Suns Hockey Association year-end banquet last week at the Taber Legion Hall. Coaches were also on hand to give out their team awards.

Goaltender Dillan Kelly was recognized for his stellar work between the pipes in a midget Golden Suns season that saw the team finish 12 games under .500 in the regular season.

But the team made a mad dash in the playoffs, making it to the south final due in part to Kelly’s goaltending which saw him post a 3.19 goals against average and a sterling .920 save percentage with two shutouts.

“He was a real competitive guy in practice and in games,” said Derek Wiest, co-coach of the Taber midget “AA” Golden Suns.  “He practised like he played to be at an “AA” level where he had a goalie coach at the academy he went to. He has a lot of fight in his game which is what I like to see, you don’t see that much anymore with the butterfly style. He tried to get to every puck that he could. He had a real nice butterfly and was really smooth for a guy at this level and did things you don’t see at this level.”

A very good puck-handling goalie, Kelly got the midget Golden Suns out of some tight spots on the penalty kill.

“He helped get the puck out of our end and he was very consistent. He didn’t have to many bad games where he was always solid for us. He gave us a chance to win every night,” said Wiest. “He did all the little things and when he needed to come out of his butterfly to make a big save, that’s what he did. He’d make these types of saves which was nice to see because it was a competitive save, it was amazing seeing some of the saves he was capable of.”

Kelly earned an Player of the Game nod for the all star came between the Calgary teams and the South Central Alberta Hockey League teams.

“That was an amazing feat that he even got picked for that game,” said Wiest. “He was the only guy from our team that got selected.”

Brock Palmer was given co-MVP and Most Sportsmanlike for his team awards and was also bestowed Most Sportsmanlike for the whole South Central Alberta Hockey League bantam division.

Palmer was the leading point getter for the Taber bantam “AA” Golden Suns this past season with 71 points in 35 games, all while only posting two penalty minutes.

But apart from the paltry penalty minutes, it was how Palmer conducted himself on the ice that got him league-wide recognition from the coaches on the other teams.

“Brock was known around the league for more than just that (the lack of penalty minutes). He had the dedication where he never quit flying. He had a lot of umph for a little kid,” said Duane Nevil, head coach of the Taber bantam “AA” Golden Suns. “He would take a shit-kicking every game and he’d never take a penalty for it. He was the best stick-on-the-puck guy I knew where he’d turn around and try and get a goal. It’s a huge achievement. You know you are getting noticed across the league as a good player.”

Nevertheless, the fact you can draw a penalty on the ice by accident simply from being lazy at an advanced “AA” level, with Palmer only drawing one infraction over 35 games of regular-season was an amazing feat in itself.

“He was always that kid who would take an extra stride and to try and pick a stick instead of falling on a guy’s hip and hooking him,” said Nevil.

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