Photo credit: Xander Holcomb, Renegades Photography
The AJHL showcase draws scouts from all over North America, with dozens of post-secondary programs watching for players who could potentially make major impacts on their hockey teams. Every player without a current commitment could potentially make a significant step in their careers with strong showcase performances with the event often being the first contact between players and interested schools.
The Blackfalds Bulldogs went into their showcase opener with a 3-2-0 record, having won their most recent game against the Okotoks Oilers. Following back-to-back losses on September 19 and 22, Blackfalds made numerous significant roster moves. Three of their new acquisitions made their debuts during the showcase, with former Spruce Grove Saint Hunter Brown ending up the star of the show in the Bulldogs’ first game. Brown scored on each of his first two shifts, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead and giving him two of the four points he’d end the game with. Another new face to the team, forward Jack DesRuisseaux, beat Bonnyville Pontiacs goaltender Bodee Weiss, notching the Sacred Heart University commit his first junior ‘A’ goal.
Alexander Dimitriadis would score two second-period goals which, combined with one in the first, gave him the hat-trick and the Bulldogs an 8-1 lead over Bonnyville through two periods of play. Wilson Maxfield shut the door in the third, stopping every Pontiac shot, and helping the Bulldogs coast to a seven-goal victory.
Blackfalds’ second of their two showcase games went Saturday night against the Canmore Eagles, with yet another new Bulldog making an impact on their debut. RPI commit Ryan Shaw would clean up a rebound in front to make it 2-0 in the first period, scoring just 15:28 into his junior ‘A’ debut.
Following Dakota MacIntosh’s two-point performance in his debut against Okotoks, he’d notch his first goal with Blackfalds in the third period, making it 3-0 with 30 seconds to go. Ethan Morrow’s 26 saves gave him his first shutout as a Bulldog and first star honours, further helping solidify the strength of Blackfalds’ new goaltending duo.
The Bulldogs’ next game goes Tuesday night, hosting the Bonnyville Pontiacs in a rematch of the two teams’ first showcase game. Currently sitting tied for fourth with a 5-2-0 record, Blackfalds’ roster looks like it’s getting closer and closer to solidified, as the season moves into October. Following Tuesday, the Bulldogs hit the road, with a northern trip seeing them in Whitecourt and Grande Prairie for Thanksgiving weekend.