FeatureSports

Old habits die hard for Trojans

With their sluggish start to the season, the Trojans men’s hockey team needed to establish some consistency in their game, and last weekend against the Portage College Voyageurs, they did just that—only not in the fashion one might imagine.

With both games ending in tied affairs, the weekend saw the Trojans (6-6-0-4) walk away with two of a potential four points against the Voyageurs (7-4-0-4)—a team they are below in the standings, and given the point of the season, one they need to start making a push to pass.

The aforementioned consistency in the Trojan game laid in their inconsistency and inability to break habits that have plagued them since the first game of the season: penalty trouble and goal scoring.

“Guys are gripping the stick way too hard this season and not playing with confidence,” said Trojan forward and captain Riley Paterson, who took some personal success from the weekend, racking up three points in two games.

“The season is too short to be splitting weekends like this, especially when we’re pretty much playing ourselves out of points.”

Friday’s matchup saw old habits die hard for the seemingly energized Trojan squad, who was coming off back-to-back wins against Grant MacEwan and looking to prove that the winning weekend wasn’t all smoke and mirrors.

After Portage shot out to a quick 1-0 lead off a powerplay goal from forward Jonathon Young, it seemed as though the fast and loose play of the Trojans would come back to haunt them for yet another weekend.

The Trojans would battle back all game, finding any opportunity to gain the lead stifled through inability to capitalize on chances, or, in the Trojans’ defence, the stellar goaltending of the Voyageurs netminder Kirby Halcrow, who was able to keep his team in it throughout the course of not only Friday’s contest, but the entire weekend as well.

Ending in a 4-4 draw, Friday would lead the Trojans into Saturday with the taste of blood in their mouth, though the outcome would remain virtually the same.

Despite a dominant performance, the Trojans would yet again run into the wall that was Kirby Halcrow. Riding strong outings from leaders like Paterson and linemate Corey Tyrell wouldn’t prove to be enough to capture the sought after two points.

Saturday’s contest, ending in a 2-2 draw this time, would shed light on both the positives and the negatives of this enigmatic Trojan team.

“We have to be better consistently,” said Trojan head coach Dan Olsen, who praised his team for their dominant play on Saturday, but ultimately chalked up the tie to a general disconnect offensively.

“We play one good period, then we get off track,” continued Olsen.

“We can’t keep doing that; we have to be mentally tough.”

The ACAC is now in the home stretch before the holidays, and with only one weekend of play left before the break, the Trojans will take on a tough Augustana squad (8-3-2-3) next weekend with a crucial four points as the prize.

“We’re going to have to work; we’re going to have to scratch and claw next weekend,” said Olsen.

“We have to find a way to start scoring”

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