Playing three games in three days on the road after a 16-day break would be an unthinkable challenge for some teams. For the NEBC Midget Trackers, it’s just another opportunity to improve as a team and win some games.
On Jan. 4, the Trackers beat the Leduc Roughnecks 3-0. They followed that up with a 4-4 tie against the Beaumont Braves on Jan. 5 in which the Trackers scored the game tying goal with 12 seconds left, and then beat the first place team in the Anderson Division, SSAC Don Wheaton, by a score of 3-0 on Jan. 6.
“You can’t complain when you start the new year that way. We played really well considering the time off we had,” Trackers coach Gerard Dicaire said.
Goalie Landon Hatton was crucial on the trip, getting both of the team’s shutouts. On the season, Hatton is 9-1, with a save percentage of 0.933 and a goals against average of 1.79 to go with his three shutouts. However, it’s not just Hatton that’s playing well. Tyler McArthur is 8-1-2 on the season, with a save percentage of 0.941 and allowing just 1.92 goals against per game.
“It’s a good feeling to know that no matter who we throw in net, we can count on them to play well. We’re a defensively sound team, but to have both those guys push each other ... it goes a long way.”
The Trackers have two home games this weekend, against the Lloydminster Blazers on Jan. 11 and Grande Prairie Storm on Jan. 13, before heading out on two long road trips and a tournament in Calgary the following three weekends.
“We have a tough schedule coming up now, and have to put our nose to the grindstone to do what we’re trying to accomplish,” Dicarie said.
In the end, that goal is to win a provincial championship, and the Trackers have a team built to put up a good fight.
One big advantage the team has is its scoring depth. Where last year the Trackers relied on five players and had three in the top five in the NAHL in scoring, this year’s team has seven players within seven points of each other. Kurtis Lee leads the team in scoring with 23 points in 21 games.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.