Updates on Josh Mahura, junior B Merchants and Jets, midget AAA Raiders, midget 15 Flyers and bantam AAA Sabres in Rinkside Report

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Mahura update

Josh Mahura has rejoined Canada’s junior hockey team for its pre-tournament schedule after the St. Albert defenceman was initially cut from the squad.

Mahura, 19, was re-added to the lineup as the team monitors the lower-body injury to defenceman Dante Fabbro, who is receiving treatment and may be eligible to return for the IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Buffalo.

Canada plays the Czech Republic tonight in London, Ont., and Switzerland on Friday in Hamilton before finalizing its roster on Christmas Eve.

Mahura was among the final five cuts Friday from the week-long selection camp that started with 33 hopefuls, including 10 defencemen, before Canada named the 22 players for worlds. Among the seven returnees from last year’s silver-medal team are three defencemen.

Mahura, a 2016 NHL draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks in round three, 85th overall, is plus 15 with 11 goals and 29 points in 28 games as an assistant captain with the Regina Pats (16-17-3), the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

The former captain of the 2012/13 bantam AAA St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres played for 2013/14 Okanagan Hockey Academy midget and prep teams before making his Western Hockey League debut with the Red Deer Rebels.

The member of Team Canada’s summer U18 gold medallists at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup played in the 2016 Memorial Cup with the host Rebels and was acquired by the Pats in a multi-player transaction Jan. 10.

Merchants results

The St. Albert Merchants skate into the Christmas break with two wins in six games in December.

The Merchants (15-12) are fourth in the west division of the Capital Junior B Hockey League after Sunday’s 3-1 decision against the Fort Saskatchewan Hawks (14-7-4) at JRC Arena.

Mark Matsuba opened the scoring in the first period with his seventh goal of the season and assisted on Brenden Passek’s shorthanded effort in the second and Connor Tupala’s power-play marker in the third.

Matt Havens, the team’s top scorer with 38 points in 24 games, also picked up two assists.

Shot count was 36-34 for the Merchants and Brandon Boughen (7-4, 4.06 GAA) was in net.

The Merchants were coming off their third loss in a row at Akinsdale Arena in Friday’s 4-1 setback to the Morinville Jets (17-7-2).

Passek’s goal at 7:24 of the first made it 2-1.

The Jets capitalized three times on the power play in the penalty-filled affair as the teams combined for 30 infractions, including a few fights, and 140 penalty minutes.

Ethan Crotty (8-8, 3.80 GAA) was between the pipes as the Merchants outshot the Jets 31-20.

The Merchants are now 5-8 on home ice.

The next game is Jan. 5 against the visiting Strathcona Bruins (13-11-1) at 8 p.m.

Jets power up

The Morinville Jets are producing points at a rapid pace in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.

The Jets (17-7-2) were second in the west division with 11 points in the last six games before Tuesday’s contest against the Stony Plain Flyers (12-12-3) at Ray McDonald Sports Centre. The score was unavailable at press time.

The Jets rattled off five consecutive victories before Sunday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Beaumont Chiefs (18-8-2) in Morinville.

The Chiefs potted the equalizer right before the end of regulation time.

Brett Dubuc’s natural hat-trick in the middle frame, highlighted by a pair of shorthanded efforts, put the Jets up 3-2.

Dubuc was the CJHL co-leader in goals with 33 and was fourth in points with 56 in 26 games before the match against the Flyers.

Shots were 34-31 for the Jets and Colton Kucher (7-3, 1.72 GAA) was in net.

The Jets were flying high in Friday’s rough and tumble 4-1 decision against the St. Albert Merchants (15-12) at Akinsdale Arena.

Josh Mcrae opened the scoring with a pair on the power play and Dubuc made it 3-1 at 13:52 of the first.

Tyler Sonnichsen also struck with the man advantage 17 seconds into the second.

Luke Hall (8-5, 3.75 GAA) stopped a game-high 30 shots.

The first game of the new year is Jan. 3 against the Edmonton Mustangs (10-14-3) at 8:30 p.m. in Morinville.

Red-hot Raiders

The St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders were hotter than sun when they faced-off against the Canadian Olympic women’s team Tuesday in the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.

The score between the Raiders (13-7-4), who are 8-0-4 in 12 games as the north division leaders, and the Olympians, 6-4-1 in games against AMHL teams, was unavailable at press time.

It was also the last game before the 40th annual Mac’s Midget AAA World Invitational Tournament in Calgary. The competition features 25 teams in five pools and the Raiders play the Calgary Royals on Dec. 26 at 10 a.m., Tisdale Trojans on Dec. 27 at 5:15 p.m., Fraser Valley Thunderbirds on Dec. 28 at 5:15 p.m. and the Hungarian national U18 team on Dec. 30 at 11:45 a.m.

The second win a row and the fourth in six games this month was 3-2 against the Maple Leafs (1-20-3) Sunday on Raiders Day in St. Albert.

Brett Bamber, Austin Spiridakis and Brady Nicholas (power play) lit the lamp as the Raiders outshot the visitors 46-15. In net was Evan Fradette (5-4-2, 1.88 GAA).

The day before at Bill Hunter Arena, the Raiders rallied in the third period to defeat the Canadian Athletic Club 4-2.

Jacob Hiemstra (shorthanded), Nicholas and Cam Aucoin found the back of the net after the CAC (6-15-2) led 2-1 after 40 minutes.

Blake Sydlowski also scored and Jacob Charko had two helpers.

Shots were 40-29 for the Raiders in support of netminder Mitch Reidy (8-3-2, 2.03 GAA).

After the weekend, the Raiders were averaging 2.04 goals against per game as the No. 1 defensive team in the north and fourth overall in the AMHL.

Flyers winging it

The St. Albert Flyers are a going concern while undefeated in 10 games in the Alberta Minor Midget AAA Hockey League.

The midget 15 Flyers (13-5-3) are 7-0-3 after Sunday’s 7-4 victory over the Grande Peace Storm (4-10-7) Sunday on Raiders Day in St. Albert.

Matt Reidy tallied on the power play and at even strength, while Mathieu Gautier, Sean Mitchell, Dylan McFatridge (power play), Maddux Nollski and Tye Pedersen notched singles. Gautier and Ethan McKinley added two assists apiece.

The shot count was 27-24 for the Flyers and the netminder was Ethan Barwick (8-2-3, 2.47 GAA).

The Flyers were coming off a 3-3 draw against the KC Centennials (1-14-5) Saturday as McFatridge, Nollski and Ethan Pool (power play) made it 3-0 in the first period at Callingwood Recreation Centre. Luke Cust assisted on two of the goals.

Shots were 37-23 for the Flyers and Barwick was in net.

The Flyers wrap up the team’s December schedule Thursday against the Canadian Athletic Club (10-7-3) at 8 p.m. at Terwilleger Community Recreation Centre.

The first game in 2018 is Jan. 6 against the first-place Sherwood Park Squires (16-3-2) at 4:15 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.

Sharp Sabres

The St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres continue to rack up the points in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.

The top team in the north conference is 9-0-3 in 12 games entering Thursday’s contest against the host Sherwood Park Flyers at 8:15 p.m.

Eight points separate the Sabres (15-2-5) and second-place Flyers (12-7-3) in the nitro north standings.

The Sabres are 4-0-2 in December after last weekend’s homestand at Akinsdale Arena. Scores were 3-3 against the Calgary Royals (15-6-3) Saturday and 4-1 against the KC Squires (1-20-1) Sunday on Raiders Day in St. Albert.

Ethan Sundar scored on the power and at even strength and Zachry Desranleau chipped in with two assists against the Squires.

Evan Arnold and Holden Selin (power play) also potted goals.

The Raiders were credited with 30 shots and netminder Carson Ironside (6-2-2, 2.06 GAA) was tested 17 times.

Matt Tebbutt (9-0-3, 2.28 GAA) faced 29 shots against the Royals as the Calgary squad knotted the count at three on the power play in the third period.

Palmer Strang pumped in a pair and Jaxon Dube also connected as the Sabres registered 22 shots. Arnold also posted two assists.

The Sabres ring in the new year on Jan. 4 against the SSAC Southgate Lions (8-12-4) at 8:15 p.m. at Callingwood Recreation Centre.

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.