Sports

Skating into the new year

 

Both Trojan hockey teams came back from the Christmas break by winning the first games and losing the second in their respective home-and-home weekends.

“Friday, I thought we played really well. The guys were refreshed, the guys looked like they were eager to get back at it,” said Dan Olsen, head coach of men’s hockey.

The men beat reigning champs, the MacEwan University Griffins, 5-3 at home.

“I thought we did a really good job weathering the storm, making sure we didn’t give up odd man rushes, making sure we were strong in our zone,” said Olsen.

The women also started their first weekend back on the right skate, as they beat the NAIT Ooks 6-5 in overtime on the road.

“We played one of our best, if not our best, total game of the year,” said the women’s head coach, Kelsey Leifson.

Leifson partially credits the month-long break for the girls second win of the season.

“It was just a matter of getting excited to be back on the ice playing a hockey game,” she said.

Staying in shape, and on top of one’s game, isn’t always easy for the athletes when the break is so long, but the coaches try to make the transition between time off and getting back into the season as easy as possible.

Both Leifson and Olsen started the new year where they left off the last, getting right back into skating and training.

“Tuesday we made sure we got our skating in, made sure lots of passing and timing try and get that back. And then Wednesday-Thursday, we had to go hard, we had to get their feet back under them, and get their systems back so they knew what they were doing again. Friday morning we had a skate too, before the game, for 45 minutes. Just to make sure guys got on the ice at least four times before the game,” said Olsen.

Men’s forward David Nippard said his team holds each other accountable, they know they have a responsibility to stay in shape over the break.

“If so-and-so comes back in bad shape, obviously, you can see it on the ice, you can see it in the gym,” Nippard said.

“If you were to take the break off and not train or go to the gym or get on the ice you’re going to find yourself behind very quickly.”

He said that everybody on the team is competing for a spot, either to get in the lineup, or get ice time. Nippard explained that because the league is so competitive, if someone isn’t up to par, they aren’t going to be playing.

The women’s captain, Shae Dolan, said it’s important for her team to remember that they still have half the season to play after the break.

“We struggled a bit in the first half, so we all have to come back harder than we did in the first,” she said.

Dolan explained that the biggest struggle with the Christmas break is how busy they get when they go home and as they try to see all their family, and then having to leave them again.

“It’s hard for a lot of these girls to leave their families,” Dolan said, as all the girls on the women’s team are 22 years old or younger.

Coming back from the break, Dolan said they are a different team. The rookies are no longer rookies, and the team has the connection now that they struggled with in the first half.

“We are definitely coming back as one.”

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