Men’s hockey first-place standing on thin ice

The streak had to come to an end eventually.

The SAIT men’s hockey team earned only one of four points on their road trip to Lac La Biche against the Portage Voyageurs.

In the first game on Friday, the Voyageurs performed their best in front of about 1,000 fans and earned a 5-0. The Trojans failed to score for the first time since March of 2009.

“It was a disappointing loss from my perspective, because we seemed totally disconnected and not emotionally engaged in the game at all,” said coach Ken Babey. “You’ve got to respect your opposition. Portage worked hard and played physical.”

Portage scored three goals on its first 12 shots, chasing SAIT’s starting goaltender,  second-year Petroleum Engineering  student Ryan Nieszner from the game. This move forced former Voyageur Scott Orth to clean up with 19 saves on 21 shots the rest of the way.

Shane Lust scored the loan goal.

“We didn’t respond to that challenge, and we didn’t create any offensive opportunities. We got what we deserved tonight,” said Babey. “Maybe it’s a good thing for  us to learn our lesson, that you can’t just show up. You’ve got to  earn your keep.”

The next afternoon, the Trojans bumped up the scoring but Portage matched their output. The game ended on a 5-5 draw.

SAIT led 3-1 and 4-2 at points in the first period, but Portage continued to respond and came back.
Goal scorers included rookies Warren Muir (fourth) and Michael Jordan (third), who continue to impress as the team turned over half their roster since the championship season last March.

“I’ve learned a lot about this team, and everybody has to recognize, too, that this is a new team. It’s not the same team as last year,” said Babey.

“We’ll learn from this weekend, and hopefully move forward next weekend against NAIT with a better effort.”

SAIT remains in first place with nine points in 12 games, but find themselves leading three teams by only a single point. With this, the Trojans’ security on top of the standings has evaporated.

They travel to Edmonton to play the NAIT Ooks on Friday, and then host their brothers in technology at the SAIT Campus Centre Saturday at 6 p.m.

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