Kodiaks ready for AJHL Showcase
Camrose Kodiak Tyler Schendel fights off Whitecourt Wolverine Spencer Augot in Camrose on Saturday. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
Ryan Hartman could not have picked a better time to be playing some of his best hockey as a Camrose Kodiak.
The 20-year-old forward has started this season on fire, scoring nine points (four goals, five assists) through the four games, heading into Monday night’s contest in Calgary against the Mustangs.
Despite being one of the Kodiaks’ top forwards the last couple of seasons, he is still looking to nail down a scholarship for next season. This weekend the Kodiaks are hosting the annual AJHL Showcase which will feature all 16 teams in 16 games spread out from Thursday through Saturday. The yearly smorgasbord of hockey is a feeding frenzy for scouts and coaches from the pro an collegiate ranks.
If there is a time to shine, this weekend is it.
“It’s my last year, so no regrets heading into the year, I need to leave it all out here,” said Hartman.
At six-foot-three, 172 pounds, Hartman is a bit of an anomaly on the Kodiaks who have gone small and high-skill this season. Still he has found a way to stand out, providing a physical presence and creating a chemistry with rookie Brock Bremer and Jacob Kendall.
“(The quick start) was crucial,” he said. “I don’t know what got into me, it felt like some of my goals were lucky, but you need that going into the Showcase. That’s what a lot of scouts look at, but I need to back up the points for sure.”
Head coach and general manager Boris Rybalka is impressed with the way his veteran forward has started the season after he missed a large chunk of the second half of last year to injury.
“It’s just the hunger and desire,” said Rybalka. “It’s not that he didn’t have that last year, but I think because he’s 20, he knows he wants to get that scholarship and he wants to move on to school. You can just see him, he’s come back with more of a vengeance.”
The Kodiaks head into the showcase coming off a three-game weekend, beating the Sherwood Park Crusaders 6-3 in Sherwood Park on Thursday, falling 4-3 to the Whitecourt Wolverines on Saturday and lost to the Calgary Mustangs 4-3 in overtime on Monday.
Hartman had two goals and two assists in the win over the Crusaders while Bremer also had two goals and two assists. Kyler Kupka and Tyler Schendel had the other two goals for Camrose while Griffin Bowerman made 33 saves for the win.
In Saturday’s loss to the Wolverines, Hartman had two assists while Jacob Kendall scored twice and McKenzie Welke scored his first goal as a Kodiak. Landon Pavlisin was in net and allowed four goals on 29 shots in the Kodiaks’ first regulation loss of the season.
The Showcase kicks off on Thursday with games at 3:30 p.m. (Drayton Valley at Olds), 4:30 p.m. (Lloydminster at Drumheller), 7 p.m. (Sherwood Park at Canmore), and 8 p.m. (Spruce Grove at Brooks). On Friday, games go at noon (Canmore at Drayton Valley), 1 p.m. (Mustangs at Bonnyville), 3:30 p.m. (Okotoks at Lloydminster), 4:30 p.m. (Brooks at Grande Prairie), 7 p.m. (Whitecourt at Camrose), and 8 p.m. (Fort McMurray at Calgary Canucks).
On Saturday, games go at noon (Bonnyville at Okotoks), 1 p.m. (Grande Prairie at Mustangs), 3:30 p.m. (Drumheller at Spruce Grove), 4:30 p.m. (Canucks at Whitecourt), 7 p.m. (Camrose at Fort McMurray), and 8 p.m. (Olds at Sherwood Park). All games are at Encana Arena and the Max McLean Arena in Camrose.