Drive for Five within reach for men’s hockey team
Breaking even without anyone getting broken, seems appropriate.
As the Trojan war with the Cougars continues towards the end of its 47th season, very little was settled as both teams took one game of their ACAC men’s hockey finals this past weekend. It now comes down to a best of three starting this Friday to settle the 2011 title.
The drive for five started off hot for the Trojans with a 5-2 win at home. Rookie Trevor Bailey continued his solid play of late with two first period goals, and could have easily had a couple more if it weren’t for Cougars netminder Justin Cote.
However, the Cougars didn’t shut down, dominating the second period, they were rewarded with goals from Kevin Knopp and Brad Goss. The back-breaker came under a minute after the tying goal as SAIT top line forward Ryan Hyland was streaking down the right side of the ice and blasted a shot top corner on Cougars goaltender Justin Cote. The Trojans added insurance goals from Mike Ullrich and Shane Lust to hold home serve in the series opener.
“I’m always thinking pass, but this time I went with my instincts. And coach likes when I shoot the puck,” said Hyland. “(The Cougars) had momentum at that point. We talked amongst ourselves on the bench, and knew that we definitely needed to do something to swing the momentum back again.”
Heading to the Flames Community Arenas to play on the wider, international-sized ice hasn’t been an issue for the Trojans this season.
Once again SAIT took a quick 2-0 lead and again it came from the second line combination of Bailey, Clinton Pettapiece and Robert Nocera.
“Clinton has been a great addition,” said Nocera. “It makes me and Bailey more available. He sees the ice so well that we just have to get open for him. If we can keep getting our bumps in and beating their defense, we will keep getting our chances.”
As with the previous night, SAIT went up two, then gave up the next two, then one more.
It was a natural hat trick for Barry Horman that gave the Cougars the lead. Once those three were in, SAIT replaced goaltender Scott Orth with last year’s championship goalie Tommy Tartaglione.
Add a powerplay marker in the third for Jesse Perrin and the Cougars finished the match with a 4-2 home win.
Horman said scoring for the team was nice but it doesn’t matter who is scoring during the playoffs.
“The whole team played well and we moved the puck and I was fortunate enough to be on the end of those plays,” he said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time, definitely can’t get too high or low. That’s why you play a five game series.”
For the Trojans, the third goal by Horman changed the momentum – and mentally the club could never rejuvenate their swagger and confidence on the bench to close the gap.
“We lost our composure, the guys were getting frustrated that the puck wasn’t going in or going our way,” Nocera added. “It was definitely a downside to our game.”
The series is now down to a best-of-three. The Men of Troy failed to do what the women’s team could by winning game two to take a stranglehold.
SAIT coach Ken Babey said the team has a little more desperation with the game on the line, but they’ll learn from it.
“This is the championship series. If you take time off, this is what can happen. We have to recapture the momentum and will have a good week of practice. What we have to do is get it back to one game at a time and play every period with an individual approach.”
The Trojans open the next game of the series at home, and the club has only lost game three once in their last nine playoff series.
Game three starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the SAIT arena. Mount Royal will host game four, then if necessary the rubber match will occur at SAIT on Sunday night.