Dauphin, Canada

It's been a very tough start to the season for the OCN Blizzard.

But, Alonsa's Dustin Mozdzen has been doing everything he can to help the team.

In nine games with the club this season, Dustin has five points (3 G).

"Yeah, I mean it's been a struggle since the start of the season obviously," said Mozdzen. "We got a win against Steinbach and had a pretty close game against Dauphin I thought, so we're improving right now. I'm just trying to help the team in anyway I possibly can."

"We've come a long way since our first game that's for sure," he added. "We're working together better and we're bonding pretty well. I think things are going to turn around."

Despite losing nine games in their first 10 contests, the Blizzard have put up some pretty decent fights. They've lost three games by one goal. The struggles have shown up most this season when they've lost six games by three or more goals. So no, things haven't been going the way OCN would have hoped for, but there's still tons of hockey to play.

"We're going to keep fighting for sure, there's no doubt about that," said Mozdzen. "It's really early. I know things aren't looking good right now, but I think we have the ability to make something out of this season."

Last night against Dauphin, the Blizzard held a 3-2 lead early in the second period. From there, they were outworked and made some big mistakes and those mistakes led to Dauphin goals for the most part as they lost 6-3. The club also gave up one goal while Dauphin was on the PP.

"As a team, we definitely have to be more disciplined out there, because it's hard to have success when you're in the box," added Mozdzen. "We just need to make things easier on ourselves. We're making things harder then they need to be, and that's why we struggle at times."

With his five points in nine games, Mozdzen's off to a solid start. He's well on his way to notching a career high in points in the MJHL. His previous high was 14 last year. 

"I don't really have any personal goals as far as points come," said Mozdzen. "I'm just trying to improve as much as I can. I want to help out the team as much as possible so we can turn the ship around."

One of Dustin's goals this season came last night against Dauphin when he got away on a breakaway. 

The 19-year-old also had another chance later in the game on another breakaway but this time he couldn't capitalize as Brennan Kitchen made a nice save on him. 

Dustin started his campaign at Dauphin Kings Training Camp this year before he was traded back to OCN.

"That felt amazing to score that goal," said Mozdzen. "I don't think there's a better feeling out there. I just wish I could have gotten that second one as well."

Growing up in the Parkland and now living in the Norman region, Dustin's getting more used to it every day.

"I like it here," said Mozdzen. "It's an outdoorsy community and that's what I'm all about. We have great fans and it's just a good place all around."

Dustin and the rest of the Blizzard are back on the ice this weekend as they have a three-game in three-day road trip.

The curling season is underway for a lot of local curlers, and that includes Dauphin's Lane Prokopowich.

She was in Gatineau, Quebec this past weekend as her team got to take part in the Crystal Slam Series.

The tournament featured teams from all over the globe including Junior World Champion, Kaitlyn Jones. 

"It was a great experience and a ton of fun playing new teams," said Prokopowich. "We're used to playing the same teams over and over again in Manitoba, so it was nice to branch out and meet some new people and see what their skills are like."

When the team got down to business they enjoyed success. They went 3-1 in the round-robin, but because of the strength of the field, Prokopowich and her foursome from Winnipeg ended up in 10th place. 

"We ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs, but it was a really close game," added Prokopowich. "It came down to the last rock and it ended up being against the team that won U-18 Nationals a couple years ago. It was a fun game, and we were just happy to be there."

Playing in a tournament as strong as the Crystal Slam Series gave the foursome a chance to learn things about their game and how to always stay focused because anything can happen.

"We definitely learned that it's okay to lose and curl against some of the best teams," she added. "I mean we're always planning to go out there and win, but it's okay if we don't. It's just about playing the game you love and giving it our all at all times."

Now as the team embarks on their Manitoba curling circuit season, they do have some big goals. And based off how they did this past weekend, there is no doubt they have the skill to achieve them.

"We had a good mindset in Gatineau heading into our games and that was to give it everything we had, and that's what we hope to continue doing here," said Prokopowich. "Our goal is to make the National Championships this year, so hopefully we can achieve that goal. It's going to be a fun year, and it was a great start in Gatineau."

"The ice conditions were really tough in Gatineau and it was tough to adjust to, but it got easier as the tournament went on," she added. "Now we know how to play on different types of ice and pick up on it easier. So, hopefully, that'll give us an advantage."

During her time at the event, Lane and her team also got the opportunity to meet World Champion, Lisa Weagle. Lisa also played in the Olympics on Rachel Homan's rink.

"That was a super cool experience getting the chance to meet her," said Prokopowich.

Prokopowich would also like to thank Dauphin Canadian Tire for sponsoring the team.

Here are some photos from the great week it was for Lane and the team.

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It was a slow start, but great middle part of the game for the Dauphin Kings tonight and that’s why they’re coming home happy. 

The club doubled up the OCN Blizzard, 6-3 tonight. 

It was the Blizzard who got the first punch in though. Alonsa’s Dustin Mozdzen opened up the scoring just under five minutes in. 

Avery Smith tied up the game for Dauphin at 9:23 and Riley Buller gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at the 10:59 mark. 

OCN then busted out of the gates in the second with two quick goals to take a 3-2 lead. 

From there, it was all Dauphin. 

At 6:57 of the period Jacob Evans scored his third of the season.

Riley Buller scored his second of the game just over 17 minutes into the second to give the Kings a 4-3 lead.

At the 18:30 mark, George King scored a dandy while falling down to take a 5-3 lead. 

In the third, entered Andrew Liwski. The Dauphinite scored his first ever goal as a member of the Dauphin Kings and in the MJHL.

Photo Credit - Dauphin Kings.

If you've already put your golf clubs away, it's time to get them back out. 

The Gilbert Plains Golf and Country Club will be open this Thursday to Sunday! 

You can golf all day with a cart for just $25.

The trend of Winnipeg Blue Blue Bombers being named CFL Top Performers has continued.

And, for the third time this season it's linebacker Adam Bighill.

Bighill was solid in the Bombers 31-0 rout of Saskatchewan over the weekend, which included forcing a fumble on the Riders second possession which led to Anthony Gaitor's 45-yard touchdown.

He also had eight tackles in the game and three sacks.

Bighill leads the CFL with 101 defensive tackles, has four sacks, is tied for the league lead with three forced fumbles, and has added two interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

The star linebacker was also named a Shaw CFL Top Performer after Week 4 against BC and Week 9 against Hamilton.

Photo Credit - David Lipnowski.

The Gilbert Plains Trojans varsity girls volleyball team have had a great season this year.

The team hasn't placed lower than third place in any tournament they've played in. But, winning games isn't the only thing on the team's mind. They're looking to make a difference and what a difference it's going to end up being.

This past weekend at the Killarney tournament, members of the team came up with #KillsForBills. It's rather simple as well. For every kill or ace, the team gets this month, the team will donate $1 to a specific branch of Cancer Care Manitoba.

"The girls just sort of came up with the idea this past weekend," said Daniel Lehman, Head Coach. "Originally it was for missed serves or letting the ball drop on the court and just standing there. But, we thought we should make it something positive instead."

"So we decided that we would make it for every kill or ace serve, we'll donate the $1 to Cancer Care in our province," he added. 

So if you get down to math and the team gets 12 kills and 5 service aces. That means $17 dollars will be donated.

"All the girls were really pumped up for this all weekend long," added Lehman. "Of course we want to succeed as a team, but you could see like extra joy when a girl got a big kill or an ace. They were also joking that if a girl misses a serve or we let a ball drop on the floor, that should be a $10 dollar fine towards the cause."

"Everyone's definitely rallying around this and it's just really exciting for us," he added.

#KillsForBills will continue for the rest of the month for every time the Trojans hit the court. But, that doesn't mean you can't chip in right now. If you want to donate any money towards the cause, you can head down to the Gilbert Plains Collegiate and leave a donation with the secretary or Mr. Lehman. 

"I already got some donations from people yesterday, so that was really cool to see," added Lehman. 

More:

So there's no doubt the Gilbert Plains Trojans varsity girls volleyball team are making a difference in peoples lives who are affected with cancer.

But, like mentioned before, the team are having quite the season as well.

In the Manitoba High School Athletic Association Top-10 rankings last week (October 8), the Trojans were the #1 ranked squad in the province in the "A" category.

"I think that's accurate from what I've seen out there this season," said Lehman. "When it came out we told the girls you know good job, but they don't hand out provincial banners in October. We have to stay hungry and work hard for the next couple months, and the girls are all in and ready to give it their all."

"We haven't lost to an "A" team this season," said Lehman. "The only time we've lost a game has come against an "AA" category team or higher."

The club will head to Swan River next weekend. That tournament will once again feature AA and some AAA teams.

"I really like the way the team is feeling and looking right now," said Lehman. "We have such a great group of kids that love being around each other and love working towards our one common goal of winning a championship. It's nice that we've been playing in tournaments with higher tier teams because we get to learn what we need to work on a lot more."

"Everyone on the team is really pushing each other, and things are going great," added Lehman.

The Dauphin Kings are set to head to The Pas for the first time this evening. 

They'll challenge the OCN Blizzard who have struggled immensely this season. But, they are coming off a impressive win. 

On Saturday night, the Blizz beat the Steinbach Pistons in overtime. 

The Kings (6-5) are playing their fourth of five straight on the road, and are 1-2 in the first three games. 

If the Kings hope to have success tonight, the teams defence will need to step it up. The 35 goals they've allowed is eighth worst in the league. 

Offensively, the clubs been just fine. They've scored 38 goals. 

Tonight's meeting will be the first of six between the teams this season. 

You can hear it all right here on 730CKDM. 

The Parkland Source for Sports pregame show begins at 6:45 p.m.

The Dauphin Kings beefed up their defensive core today with a trade.

They traded for Cole Dekoninck from the Waywayseecappo Wolverines.

The defender played two games with Weyburn in the SJHL this year before the Wolverines picked up his rights. In those two games, he had one point.

Before this season, Cole was a standout last year with the Eastman Selects. He had 58 points in just 48 contests with 20 of the points being goals. 

Going back the other way is forward Jaymes Knee.

Knee had 42 points in 68 games with the Kings. 

Gilbert Plains Butch Mouck and his foursome are heading to the Manitoba Senior Men's Provincial Championships.

Mouck and his foursome beat Dauphin's Ray Baker and his foursome yesterday, in the final of the Neil Andrews Legends Classic at the Brandon Curling Club.

The final was 6-2.

"It was awesome to win the first event of the year and lock up our spot into the provincials," said Mouck. "It can be a long grind if you don't qualify early. It's nice to get our spot and now we can just put our focus on gearing up for the big event."

Before this weekend's tournament, Mouck and his foursome only played in a couple games in the Super League in Brandon. But, despite it being so early in the season, the foursome came out firing on all cylinders.

"We came out playing really well," said Mouck. "We played those couple games before at the club, so we were comfortable with the ice. We went at the end of last year to see Lorne Hamblin at the high-performance camp and just got kind of tuned up. We were definitely technically sound to start the season this year, and it showed."

The Provincial Championships aren't set to go until February. That'll give Mouck and his foursome lots of time to prepare.

"We'll go to three or four bonspiels now and play against the same calibre of team," said Mouck. "We'll also probably head back to Morris a couple times so we can get tuned up again."

Last year the foursome lost on a measurement in the tie-breaker game at the provincials. If they won that game, they would have advanced to the final four. Heading into this year's edition of the Championships, Mouck knows they can play with anyone.

"We've played all these teams, and we know we can beat them if we play well," said Mouck. "We're going in positive, and if we play well, we think we'll have a solid chance."

Photo Credit - CHRIS JASTER/THE BRANDON SUN.

The Mackenzie Middle School Magic grade 7 girls volleyball team aren't only Champions, but they're history makers as well.

Playing in a tournament this weekend that welcomed teams from around the region and into Saskatchewan, the ladies won it all.

The team was also the only one in the whole tournament that had only grade 7 girls on it. Every other team had a mixture of grade 7/8's.

With the win, the Magic became the first grade 7 school from Mackenzie to ever win the tournament.

Ashley Korney was named the Tournament MVP.

Here are the team scores:

Round-Robin:

Beat Russell - 25-20, 25-17.

Beat Yorkton - 25-15, 25-12.

Lost to Grandview - 23-25, 18-25.

Playoffs:

Beat Minnedosa - 25-10, 25-18.

Beat Swan River - 25-16, 18-25, 15-8.

Beat Mackenzie Grade 8's - 25-19, 14-25, 15-6.

Check out this great Championship celebration.

The team now heads to Yorkton this weekend.

It's not in North America, but Gilbert Plains Colby Robak is back playing the game he loves at the professional level.

He signed a contract with Vaasan Sport last Thursday. They play in the Finnish Liiga.

"It felt good to sign the contract for sure," said Robak. "I've heard a lot of good things about Finland as far as a hockey standpoint goes, but also just living in general. It was an easy decision for my family and I to decide to come over here."

Just like last season, Colby didn't begin the season with a contract. But, not having one wasn't something he was worried about.

"I've been through it before and things open up all the time," said Robak. "Whether that's in North America or Europe. I knew it was just a matter of time, and kind of where and when. As I said, I've been through it before and I was just kind of waiting."

After signing his contract, Colby didn't have much time to pack up his bags before him and his family boarded a plane for Vaasa. Quickly after arriving in town, Robak played his first games with the team this past weekend. Robak and the rest of the squad lost both games, but for Colby, it was just about getting used to the league.

"You know what, I never thought it would be as different as it is," said Robak. "I got here a little jetlagged and went on the road the next day and played that night. It's definitely different playing on the bigger ice surface. There's a lot more room out there and you need to skate a lot more. But, that's what we pay the trainers the big bucks in the summertime for."

"I think the key to having success out here is realizing how much more space there is out there," said Robak. "It's a little quicker in North America, but out here there's a lot more trapping and just sort of waiting. My biggest adjustment right now is just learning the European game."

Robak is now in his ninth season as a professional hockey player. The first eight were between the American Hockey League and National Hockey League. Despite playing so much in NA, Robak had a feeling playing in Europe could eventually happen.

"I think it's something that every pro hockey player sort of thinks about," said Robak. "It's one of the perks of the game. You get to travel the world and do what you love doing. We also have another baby on the way, so that's pretty exciting for us. It's been a really neat experience so far, and we're excited about our future here for as long as it lasts."

As he learns the European style of hockey, Robak is fully confident in himself that he can have success out in Finland as the team looks to win a Championship.

"Absolutely I think that I can have success out here," said Robak. "I feel like I'm getting more comfortable with the type of player I am as I get older. Being a big guy that can skate, I feel I can use that to my advantage out here. We'll see how it goes, but I'm feeling good."

As of today, Robak and the rest of the team are in 10th place in the league with a 3-4 record. Despite that slow start, the veteran defencemen knows it's early in the season and there is a lot of time to turn things around.

"I mean I still think that we're doing a pretty good job overall," added Robak. "It's early in the year here and I'm just trying to get settled here. I think it's going to be a pretty good season honestly."

Of course, living in Europe, there is also a life outside of hockey, and what a life it can be. Throughout the season, the Robak's plan on making the most of living in Europe by doing some travelling and enjoying life to the fullest.

"Something that's big over here is you get a lot of breaks," said Robak. "We don't play a game from November 4-14. The family and I are seeing where we can maybe go to during that time. Because once you're over here, it's pretty cheap and short to just hop on a plane and go to Berlin or Paris for example."

"Getting the chance to experience so much is definitely another perk of playing over here," he added. 

So for now, Robak will continue to grind it out in Finland as he looks to make a big difference on the team. But, he knows North America is the place to ultimately be.

"I mean obviously I think the ultimate goal is to get back in the NHL," said Robak. "But I mean, we're just enjoying the ride right now. I won't ever take for granted the fact that I get to play pro hockey here in Europe and experience so many new things."

Robak and the team are back on the ice on Wednesday.