Being a goalie kind of runs in the Hall family. Levi Hall of the Golden Rockets became one because of his grandfather Glenn, who only happens to be a Hockey Hall of Famer and one of the 100 greatest NHL players of all time. Levi’s older brother Luke Hall plays goal for the Portage College Voyageurs in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference.
Growing up in Stoney Plain, Alberta, just west of Edmonton, Levi switched from forward to goalie in his first year of atom. He will ask his grandfather for some tips, but they don’t talk about playing the position a lot.
“He tells me to have fun or else you are not doing something right,” he said.
Asked about Glenn’s NHL record of 502 consecutive games played, Levi said it is “actually crazy.”
“I don’t know how he did it, especially without a mask,” he said. “It’s bizarre and that’s why I think he’s the best ever to play the position.”
Hall has 12 wins, which leads the league, with 2.95 GAA and a .924 SP. Levi says he’s a calm, athletic goalie.
“I think I read the game really well and I have great rebound control,” said Hall. “I’m more calm like a Carey Price-style. I think Jusse Saros as a smaller goalie (five-foot-11, 180 pounds) is one of the best in the league. I am a smaller goalie (five-foot-11, 175 pounds) so I try to take what he has into my game, the way he plays.”
Hall has liked his play this season, feeling steady. He’s quick to give credit to teammates saying they have a great squad, especially with the season Jordan Lario is having.
Hall returned from the MJHL a better goalie with improved work habits.
“I have been able to keep pushing myself to stay at that elevated level,” he said. “Especially with this team, I think we have a chance to do it all. I got to be the best I can.”
He’s better at puck handling and has more confidence in that area to help his team break the play up ice quicker. Coming back to something about Glenn, Levi hasn’t seen a lot of clips of his grandfather in action, though he recently saw one on social media during his time with the St. Louis Blues. On a delayed penalty, Glenn stick-handled to centre ice before dishing the puck off to a teammate who scored.
“It was pretty smart. The late penalty, I guess jump up on the rush. It was a good play,” said Levi, who also plays the butterfly style started by Glenn.
Would you ever try that in a game?
“No, probably not. I don’t have the guts for that.”
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Now let’s get into each team for this week’s Notebook.
Bill Ohlhausen Division
|The Princeton Posse have the fourth best offence in the KIJHL, averaging 3.87 goals per game. Rookie Ty Olsen leads the and since coming over in a trade from Fernie, Dayton Nelson has five goals in as many games. Anmol Garcha and Tanner Funk led the Posse with 17 and 10 points, respectively in nine games last month.
|The Osoyoos Coyotes have the third highest offence averaging 4.14 goals per game. Coletyn Boyarksi leads the Coyotes with 15 goals in 20 games, while Jack Henderson has 12 in 19 and Zach Park has 12 in 17. Carter Yarish and Ethan McKinley each have 11 goals in 20 and 22 games respectively. Last month, Yarish led with 18 points in seven games, while Henderson had 13. When asked about the performances of Yarish and Henderson in November, Head Coach Ken Law said their “engines are always firing, they are always on the move and read really well off each other.”
“They just have a knack for finding each other,” said Law, “and then being with McKinley, he’s the same thing. He’s kind of the set up guy who is also able to finish.”
As for Yarish’s strong November, Law said he’s really hard to contain.
“He can go end-to-end, and is pretty hard to stop,” said Law. “He’s got very evasive moves and when he gets anywhere near a net, he usually finds a way to score.”
As a group, Law said his players are starting to play better.
“Until we get our full roster back, we don’t know what we’re capable of, but we’re getting there,” he said.
|Kevin-Thomas Walters and Luke Rishaug led the North Okanagan Knights offensively in November. Walters had 12 points in seven games, while Rishaug had 10 points in nine games. Knights Head Coach Liam McOnie said the top thing they have preached with Walters and Rishaug is puck pursuit.
“Our play off the puck, the willingness to go and get loose pucks and win puck battles all over the ice, I can’t give enough credit to those guys for buying in and really executing that,” said McOnie.
Rishaug missed the first two months with an injury and getting him back was “huge for our team both on the ice and in the dressing room,” says McOnie.
“The No.1 thing with Luke is just his confidence,” said McOnie. “Last year it took him a while to figure out the league and what he needed to do to be successful. The big thing with his improvement is a willingness to learn and improve and be open-minded.”
|Kent Moors led the Summerland Steam with 12 points in nine games last month, while Tristan Weill, who returned from Junior A, had six points in five games. Moors and Connonr Nicolay lead the Steam with nine goals, while Cassidy Hank and Austin Cameron have seven each.
|Aiden Morcom led the Kelowna Chiefs with 12 points in 11 games, while Max Jugnauth had nine points in 11 games, including leading with five goals. Morcom leads the Kelowna Chiefs with seven goals.
|Doug Birks Division
|Luke Aston and Carter Bettenson led the Revelstoke Grizzlies with seven points in eight and nine games, respectively last month. Bettenson also leads the team in goals with 13 in 23 games, while Daniel Wittenberg and Colton McLeod have seven goals each.
|Defenceman Cole Senum led the Kamloops Storm with 11 points in nine games, while Peyton Kelly and Ryan Larsen each had 10 points in nine games last month. Kelly led the group with five goals. Larsen leads the Storm with 14 goals in 25 games, while Harrison Ewert has 10 in 25 games.
|Tyler Burke (12 points), Alex Smith (12 points), Sean Smith (11 points) and Daniel Kroon (10 points) led the Sicamous Eagles offensively last month. Sean Smith led the group with eight goals, while Alex Smith had seven. Sean also leads with 14 goals and Alex has 11.
Head Coach-GM Nick Deschenes said with their group, they have a balanced attack.
“You could almost have four different names leading the way as far as points go,” he said. “Our group is predominantly 2004 rookies who are still trying to figure out how to finish and get to the areas to score goals more often. We’re not putting the puck in as much as we’d like, but as a group, those guys have come through.”
Deschenes added they have an entire forward group able to produce. The Eagles recently added Tyler Burke, who has eight goals and 16 points in 13 games and Deschnes has liked him for a long time. Deschnes feels Burke has a lot of tools and brings a good work ethic and has a “high ceiling.”
When it comes to team play, the staff is always challenging to raise the bar.
“The story line is slowly starting to take shape within the division,” he said. “We kind of know what we’re up against. It’s just about getting our group to play better overall.”
Deschenes feels that every team that is doing really well this year has had solid goaltending, including them.
“I think we’re a little bit better than what our record reflects,” he added. “Our goaltenders have both been exceptional, giving us a chance to win every night.”
|Aiden Brown and Mikkel Hrechka led the Chase Heat offensively last month with five points. Brown led the group with three goals and has eight on the season.
When it comes to their play, Head Coach Brad Fox said his team is “not good enough right now.”
“There are too many holes in how we play, there is a level of consistency that is not there at this point,” he said. “We’re trying to figure it out, working through some things.”
Fox added though that the commitment level is “exceptional, the buy-in to what we’re trying to accomplish is there.”
The details in how they play keeps coming up as Fox sees the players competing hard, but they can be making better decisions with the puck in important situations. It’s evident in how they are being outshot and that is Fox’s biggest concern. He recently added Tyson Tokarz from the Grand Forks Border Bruins for defenceman Carter Price as Fox brought Tokarz because he brings a “skillset and a calm in handling the puck and producing offensively.”
Fox said he gave up a pretty good defenceman to get him.
“He came in late last week, and you can see the upside he brings, so it’s an offensive skill set that we believe is really going to help us in the stretch run,” said Fox.
|Ethan Sanders and Nathan Bohmer led the 100 Mile House Wranglers with eight points last month, while Sanders had five goals and has seven on the season. Bohmer leads the group with 13 in 20 games.
|Eddie Mountain Division
|The trio of Keenan Ingram (nine goals, 15 points), Kayde Kinaschuk (11 assists, 15 points) and Anthony Domina (10 goals, 14 points) led the Columbia Valley Rockies offensively last month. Ingram leads the Rockies with 23 goals in 21 games, which also leads the league, while Domina has 14 in 20 games and Kinaschuk has 13 in 21 games.
|Defenceman Cam Reid led the Kimberley Dynamiters with four goals and eight points in eight games last month. Kade Leskosky leads the team with 14 goals in 22 games, and they recently added Campbell McLean, who had 11 goals in 18 games with Creston Valley. Cash Regan has 11 goals in 23 games.
|Missed in last week’s Notebook, but Golden Rocket Jordan Lario was the first player in the league to hit 20 goals, which he accomplished on Nov. 26 against Kimberley with a two goal performance. Lario led the Rockets with 17 points, including eight goals, in 11 games last month, while defenceman Ethan Aebly had 11 points, all assists in 10 games and Levi Lamotte had 10 points in 10 games. Lario leads the Rockets with 21 goals, while Morin is second with 12 in 25 games.
The Rockets split a pair of games with the Fernie Ghostriders and Head Coach/GM Chuck Wight said “we found a way to get it done Friday night and Saturday seemed to be an evening of some big mistakes that led to some great scoring chances for Fernie.”
Wight added they have found ways to battle the adversity of illness, injuries and other obstacles that get in their way. They have enjoyed strong finishes thanks to any lineup that they dress putting in a complete game. Lario continues enjoying a strong season and Wight says he has been a great leader. There is support from Lamotte and Nick Morin, and Cade Coghlan, when healthy, has been very effective. Wight said Lamotte and Morin have performed above expectations.
“We knew that they were both very capable players,” he said. “They have taken advantage of the ice time. Both have proven to be quality players.”
Rookies Evan Tsadilas, Hayden Barr and Kylow Monkman have also been very good.
“Levi Hall has been a standout as always,” said Wight.
|Ethan MacDuff led the Fernie Ghostriders with six goals and 13 points in nine games last month. Jack Karpyshyn was close behind with 11 points. MacDuff leads the team with 14 points in 25 games, while Kort Kisinger has 11 goals.
|Luke Chakrabarti (18 points, 11 games) and Blake Anderson (16 points, 10 games) put up solid numbers in November, and Head Coach-GM Brad Tobin said that both “always have their motors going.”
Chakrabarti is among the league leaders in goals with 22.
“Every single game they seem to be all in with the intensity they play with, always getting those quality chances throughout the games,” said Tobin. “They are consistent point producers and are the guys that we rely on quite a bit.”
There is really strong chemistry between the pair and Tobin says they feed off each other and “keep pushing the pace.”
As a team, Tobin has liked their practices that have included new additions Bobby Anselmo from Columbia Valley and Kolby Hennessy from Nelson. After a big win against Columbia Valley, they had a let down in the rematch against the Rockies.
“We’re a little bit inconsistent throughout the month of November, we’ve had some good streaks and then some not so great streaks,” he said. “It’s finding consistency in our play the next 20 games that is going to be big heading into the playoffs.”
Tobin added Anselmo and Hennessy to help with their secondary scoring.
|Neil Murdoch Division
|Spencer Horning and Chad Bates led the Grand Forks Border Bruins with 10 points in 10 November games. Bates had six goals and has 12 in 25 games. Horning and Jonah Smith have 10 goals each. Head Coach-GM Dave Hnatiuk gave his thoughts on their performance last month.
“Spencer has been extremely consistent this year, he shows up every night with a very hard work ethic, great attitude and he is just getting rewarded for his efforts. He’s scoring some clutch goals for us, playing 5-on-5, power-play, PK, he’s really grown into being a guy I can trust and use in all situations and key faceoffs. He’s rolling right now.”
“Chad Bates has been getting better everyday from the day that he showed up here,” said Hnatiuk. “Now to see these point-per-game performances, I’m not surprised. He is in the gym everyday, he doesn’t take a rep off in practice. He is super motivated, dedicated and it’s great to see him being rewarded for his efforts on and off the ice. He just keeps getting better, and bigger and stronger by the week.”
He added it’s great to see both players producing and said it’s a reflection of how hard they are working.
|The Nelson Leafs had five players – led by Joe Davidson (nine goals, 17 points in nine games), Johnny Carmichael (13 points in nine games), Bennett Anklewich (10 assists, 13 points in nine games), Tristan Magis (10 points in eight games) and Seamus Boyd (eight points in eight games) that produced at least a point-per-game last month.
Davidson leads the Leafs with 14 goals in 21 games, while Ryan Quast has 10 in 23 games.
|Nathan Dominici led the Beaver Valley Nitehawks with four goals and eight points in seven games last month. Ollie Clement also had four goals. Dominici leads the Nitehawks with 15 goals in 21 games.
Head Coach-GM Terry Jones, who earned his 1,100 KIJHL win on Dec. 3, said that “Nathan is just an absolute work horse.”
“He is determined to play hard and be his best at all times. He is earning every bit of ice that he receives especially in special teams situations.”
Dominici is averaging 17:43 of ice time, including 3:08 on the power-play and 2:07 short-handed. Jones said that Dominici has really worked on his shot, and “Dommer gets to the tough areas in front of the net” that has allowed him to set career highs in goals and points.
“Honestly, I felt he had a really great shot to play Junior A this year, but the work he put in during the off-season has really paid off for him for our team,” said Jones. “Early season chemistry with Beau manegre and Joel Smyth really helped him get off to a great start.”
In assessing his team’s play lately, Jones said they are starting to figure out how they need to play to be successful, be better on special teams, staying disciplined and working together.
“Connor Stojan in net has been on a great roll, our D-core with Kaleb Percival, Lucas Gartner, and Spencer Dixon-Reuzs has been quite effective of late and we have had some timely scoring from Jeremy Hansen and Gavin Tritt. We are definitely a work in progress and will hope to get balanced scoring from all of our lines as we progress through the next stretch of the season.”
|Nathan Dann, who returned to Junior A with the expansion Sioux Lookout Bombers, led the Castlegar Rebels with seven points in six games last month. Evan Calder, Jacob Moldenhauer and Daytn Kulynych each had five points in nine games. Rookie Bradley Beals leads with eight goals.