Kodiaks add defenceman as they round out team
Camrose Kodiaks defenceman Ian Dubourdieu is tripped up by Whitecourt Wolverines forward Stevie Bryant during AJHL action in Camrose on Sept. 29. Whitecourt won 10-4. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
Camrose Kodiaks head coach and general manager Boris Rybalka followed through on his promise to address the team’s blue-line.
On Thursday last week, he brought in right handed defenceman Ian Dubourdieu who had just been released by the Lloydminster Bobcats.
Dubourdieu is another young, inexperienced rearguard but Rybalka says he has the potential to be an Alberta Junior Hockey League offensive cornerstone in the mold recently graduated of TJ Brown.
After three games with the Kodiaks — a 10-4 loss to the Whitecourt Wolverines on Friday, a 3-2 win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Saturday and a 5-4 win over the Olds Grizzlys on Tuesday — it was clear he has skills to be a difference maker but he needs work to round out his game.
“He’s an 18-year-old rookie who is good, but like everyone else, there’s a lot to learn,” said Rybalka.
Dubourdieu is just hoping to make the most of his chance to learn with the Kodiaks.
“They have a great reputation throughout the league, great facilities, everything is perfect here and I was just excited to get the opportunity,” he said.
The five-foot-10, 183-pound Calgary native played eight games last year with the Bobcats and two this season, recording one goal. Offensively, he has a much higher track record, scoring 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 30 games last season with the Calgary Midget AAA Flames of the Alberta Midget Hockey League and 15 (3-12-15) in 23 games the year before. In 2013-14, he tallied 39 points (8-31-39) in 28 games with the Bantam AAA Flames.
“I try to be offensive and move the puck to the forwards when I can and try to jump up into the rush when it’s a good time to do so,” said Dubourdieu.
In his first game with the Kodiaks he had a bit of a rough outing against the Wolverines and had difficulty matching up against some of their bigger forwards. But this is a learning process for all young blueliners.
The addition of Dubourdieu was made possible after third string goalie Joe May was traded to the Calgary Mustangs last week for future consideration. The need to address the blue-line existed because of the departure of several top defenceman last year with only one veteran — Cale Chalifoux — brought in to fill the hole. The hope was there would be young defencemen ready to step in, and some like Nick Mantai and Tommy Bertrand have shown well, the position still needed to be addressed.
The improving process is one that is taking place across the roster as they come together early in the season.
After a frustrating 10-4 loss on Friday to Whitecourt to open the AJHL Showcase in Camrose, they came back with a much-improved effort on Saturday with a 3-2 win over the Oil Barons, handing them their first loss of the season. On Tuesday they followed that up with a 5-4 win over the rival Olds
“Some people says it does matter or doesn’t matter, for us it’s about getting better every day,” said Rybalka.
Saturday’s game was important on an individual level. With 148 scouts from across the hockey world in attendance, from the NHL to all levels of college, they showed their fight and character in coming back from a walloping to knock off one of the best teams in the league.
“The next day the scouts were talking and came by and said ‘that’s the true sign of an athlete,’” said Rybalka. “Very easily you could have been feeling sorry for yourself and that’s not how it easy.”
However, they are still having difficulty stringing 60 minutes together, as they took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission against Fort McMurray and held a 5-2 lead against Olds before avoiding a near collapse in the final five minutes of the game.
“A win is a win and that’s great, but it’s a good learning lesson,” said Rybalka. “There’s the difference where you think it’s a 5-2 game but very quickly it’s 5-4. We always say the only time you rest is when the buzzer goes or you’re on the bench. That’s something we’ve got to teach them.”
The Kodiaks (3-2-2) will face the Grizzlys (3-4-0) again on Friday in Olds at 7 p.m. and then host the undefeated Okotoks Oilers (7-0-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
NOTES – The Kodiaks got a goal and an assist from both of the Welke twins McKenzie and Colby while Colson Gengenbach, Jacob Kendall and Nic Correale and Landon Pavlisin made 32 saves for the win … On Saturday Tate Coughlin, Brock Bremer and Matt Dykstra did the damage while Pavlisin made 41 stops … In Friday’s loss, Dykstra, Gengenbach, Kendall and McKenzie Welke all scored while Griffin Bowerman took the loss in net, giving up six goals on 26 shots in the first 34:54. Pavlisin came in for the final 25:06 and gave up four goals on 24 shots.