The Parkland U15 Rangers were recently in Regina for the Graham Tuer U15 Challenge.
Featuring top teams from across the country at the AAA level, the Rangers came out swinging as they won their first two games. Despite dropping their next contest after that, the Rangers did finish in second place in their pool.
For a team that is looking to find its way, Matt Kustra says that was a big help.
"That was a very big achievement for us, I personally do believe that," said Kustra. "We went up against some really good competition and we were able to come out with a couple of wins. I'm proud of the guys for how they battled."
Back at home, it hasn't been the season the Rangers were hoping for results-wise. The team's 2-9 record has them near the bottom of the standings, but their wins were very impressive. The team beat the Southwest Cougars in a thrilling 6-5 victory and they hammered the Norman Northstars, 14-2.
With their next game coming on Grey Cup Sunday, Kustra says it's about going back to the basics.
"It's all about locking down in our defensive zone," said Kustra. "We are very good offensively. We have to be a bit tougher and nastier in our zone and as the season goes on, I am certainly seeing some improvement. I really do believe moving forward we will start winning on a more consistent basis."
Now living in the Parkland region, this is Matt's first year as head coach of the U15 club and while it has been challenging at times as the former King gets accustomed to leading a group, he's enjoying every second.
"It's been a great experience, it has been very eye-opening for me," ended Kustra. "There is a lot of teaching involved and bringing a positive attitude forward, it's very important to make sure all of our players are enjoying coming to the rink. I'm very happy I was given this chance."