UFA Bisons hitting the right note in 2013
Hockey: Midget AAA club undefeated in New Year
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 06:00 am
The UFA Bisons are singing a new tune in the New Year.
The Alberta Midget Hockey League team is a perfect 4-0 in 2013 and feeding off the positive energy permeating through the club as a result of a modest winning streak in Strathmore.
“Once we get our confidence up with one win and then we get another one we consistently bring energy,” said blueliner Mark Nerland, an
“We’re really successful when we have energy on the bench and when we’re happy, we’re winning and when we’re up it usually gives us results.”
Following an underwhelming month of December in which the Bisons were 2-5-2 in league play and went winless at the Mac’s Midget Tournament the group is reversing fortunes in January.
“After the Mac’s we all started to figure out our penalty troubles,” Nerland said. “We’re starting to focus on decreasing that and being more disciplined.”
Having gone through early season challenges has the Bisons better equipped to deal with the rigours of the top Midget league in the province.
Blackie forward Mason McCarty said team bonding is behind their rise in the New Year.
“We have all 20 guys in the room going and have put aside some of the adversity,” said McCarty, a fourth-round draft pick of the Red Deer Rebels.
“Everyone is rolling and it’s pretty easy to get wins when you have a tight-knit group like we do.”
Filling the net with ease hasn’t hurt the Bisons’ cause either.
They have 20 goals in four games in January including a 7-3 romp over the Lethbridge Pronghorns, who previously beat the Bisons at the Mac’s, on Jan. 19.
The Bisons (15-13-2) are nipping at the heels of two clubs in the Chrysler Division. With 32 points, the Strathmore-based outfit trails the second place Calgary Royals and third seed Calgary Buffaloes by just four points.
The window to close the gap is rapidly closing on the Bisons, who have just four games left in the regular season to improve their post-season positioning.
“We’re looking to keep our streak going and to get into second-place so we can get home-ice advantage,” Nerland said. “That’s our goal.”
The first two seeds in each division earn a bye through the first round of the playoffs. The third seed and fourth seeds own home-ice advantage through the opening round.
“We can’t get complacent going into the playoffs,” McCarty said. “Obviously we’re going to be in them, but we can’t have any bad habits going in or we will find ourselves cleaning out our stalls in February.”
The Bisons take to the road this weekend as they travel north to meet the Sherwood Park Kings and Fort Saskatchewan Rangers on back-to-back days, Feb. 2-3.
The Bisons return home to close out their regular season campaign the following weekend when the Lloydminster Bobcats and Calgary Northstars come to Strathmore.
For full schedules and results go to www.bisonshockey.com..