By Cole Parkinson
For Taber Times
This past weekend saw the final South Central Alberta Hockey League 2023 games come and go for the Taber Golden Suns.
The U13 Golden Suns had a pair of home games against the East Kootenay Avalanche to wrap up their first half of the season. The two teams squared up on Saturday afternoon for the first game and each side was able to put one on the board. Taber saw Hudson Stenger score the first goal of the game with Travis Jackson drawing the assist.
With the teams heading into the second tied at 1-1, the visitors would draw first blood early in the period. Jude Klingenberg would tie the game up 10 minutes later. Hayden Eldridge would score a late powerplay goal to give Taber the lead once again. Jackson and Dax Hill drew the assists on the third goal and Taber went into the final frame up 3-2.
Unfortunately, it was all Avalanche in the third as the visitors scored three unanswered to take the game 5-3. Drew Tame was in net for Taber and the netminder made 23 saves on 28 shots.
Taber looked to avenge the loss on Sunday when the two met once again. East Kootenay would take a 2-0 lead into the second period thanks to a pair of late goals. Lincoln Deleeuw would get the Suns on the board just after the mid-way part of the period, but the Avalanche were once again able to score two late and took a 4-1 lead into the final period.
East Kootenay would add another early in the period en route to a 5-1 victory. Tame was back in net for the Suns in the second game and made 29 saves on 34 shots.
The U13 Suns return after the Christmas break with another two home games. On Jan. 6 the Foothills Bisons are in town for a 3 p.m. puck drop and then the Wheatland Braves visit the following day at 1 p.m.
It was a two-pack this past weekend for the U15s as they looked to rebound with games against the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat SEAC Tigers.
On Saturday, the Suns hit the road to Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes and it didn’t go Taber’s way. The home team would skate to a 7-0 win. Dakota Hurst was in between the pipes and made 25 saves on 32 shots.
Looking to end 2023 with a win, the Suns welcomed in Medicine Hat on Sunday afternoon. Taber would score the lone goal in the first thanks to Heston Hansen. The second saw Medicine Hat even things up, but Taber would take the lead back minutes later. Ryker Orsten scored on the powerplay as Brooke Dyck and Tony King had the assists. A few minutes later, that lead grew as Nixen Miller potted a goal from Blaise Odland and Maxx Davis and Taber would take a 3-1 lead into the final frame.
Medicine Hat would score two back-to-back in the period and that would be all either team could muster as the game ended in a 3-3 tie. Griffin Stenger was the starter in net for Taber, making 42 saves on 45 shots.
The U15 Suns now have a lengthy break and won’t return to the ice until Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 when they hit the road to take on the West Central Tigers and the Red Deer Steel Kings.
The U18 Suns wrapped up 2023 with a single game on the road against the NWCAA Stamps. Despite a good effort, Taber would drop the game 6-3. Jett Matisho, Hayden Smith, and Connor Chapman had the Taber goals while Tage Jensen, Landon Howg, and Chase Stronge each had an assist. Kahil Wright made 41 saves on 47 shots in the Taber net.
The U18 Suns return after the break with a pair of games. First up is a home game against the NWCAA Bruins on Jan. 6 with puck drop at 8 p.m. The following afternoon sees Taber head out on the road to take on the Foothills Bisons.