By Cal Braid
In the final weekend of February, the victories were still hard to come by for the Taber Golden Suns. In six games, the three teams managed only one victory between them, but it was a good one.
On Feb. 25, the U13 Suns faced off against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Braxton Ranch netted the Sun’s first goal on a power play at 5:26 in the first period, but the Canes were up 2-1 after the first, 4-1 after the second, and 6-1 until the 7:48 mark in the third, when Ranch scored another. A minute and a half later, Delphin De Boer scored again for the Suns, but the team came up short 6-3.
The next day the Suns hosted the Bow Valley Timberwolves, and it was the game of the weekend. Both Braxton Ranch and Canaan Fleck scored in the first and the game was knotted at 2-2 after the opening period. Hudson Stenger scored 27 seconds into the second period, and both Fleck and Ranch scored again, but the Suns also gave up three goals, so the teams went into the third period even at 5-5. The Timberwolves led 6-5 late in the third, and in desperation time, with just under two minutes left, Fleck scored to even the game and pick up a hat trick. Thirty seconds later, with 1:24 left in the game, Nelson Sonna Soufo scored to give the Suns a 7-6 lead that they held onto, securing the win. Goalie Ashton Jensen made 33 saves on 39 shots. The U13 Suns are listed at 6-23-2 in the conference standings.
The team had a home game on Feb. 25 against the Medicine Hat Tigers and it was a tight one. Mason Noble scored quickly at the 18:13 mark, and the game was tied 1-1 after the first period. Nixen Miller added a goal at 10:51 of the second and going deep into the third, it was a 2-2 tie. Improbably, the Tigers scored short-handed with 37 seconds left in the game and stole a 3-2 victory. Goalie Griffin Stenger played all 60 minutes and staved off 31 of the 34 shots on goal that the Tigers directed at him.
The next day, the team traveled to Nanton to face the Foothills Bisons, and the game both started and ended badly. The Bisons led 4-0 after one, and the Suns only goal of the game was at 14:25 of the second, courtesy of Foster Weatherhead. The Bisons scored two power play goals in the third and ran away with a 7-1 victory. The game was a mess of penalties – 28 in total –with six in both the first and third going against the Suns, who are now 2-28-2.
The U18 Suns went to Medicine Hat to face the Hounds on Feb. 24. The Hounds led 2-0 after one, and then 3-0 after an early power play goal in the second period. The Suns clawed their way back with a power play goal from Kobe Fujita at 9:35 and an even-strength goal from Evan Koizumi at 2:25 of the second. However, the Hounds picked up two more power play goals in the third period and skated off with a 5-2 win. Suns goalie Kieran Hancock played all 60 minutes and made 38 saves on 48 shots.
Back in Taber on the 25th, the team hosted the Foothills Bisons. The Bisons led 1-0 after the first period and no one scored again until the third. Ryan Holm scored for the Suns at 18:44, but the Bisons put three more in the net and closed out the game 4-1. The Suns were 0-4 on the power play, but outshot the Bisons 39 to 33. They’ve had more success then the other Suns teams, but still linger below .500 at 11-18-4.