Trojans Ooked out of four points

The SAIT Trojans drop back-to-back decisions against the leagues best, but there may be a silver lining

Normally, when a team chalks up two losses in a single weekend, that would make for some rather scathing reviews and understandably skeptical follow-ups. But allow, just for a moment, the opposite to marinate. What if two barn burning losses against the leagues unrivaled, undefeated best in the NAIT Ooks (22-0) wasn’t such a bad thing? What if?

After four straight W’s to ring in 2016, the highflying Trojans (10-10-4) were—somewhat predictably— brought back down to earth after going to head to head with the ACAC’s finest in back to back contests.

The weekend saw the Trojans drop Friday’s matchup 3-2 at home, in which the visitors were given all they could handle, and were able to barely squeeze out the win overtop of the underdog SAIT squad.

Saturday’s rematch, which took place 300 km north in Edmonton, yielded virtually the same results: a 4-3 Trojan loss that saw a 30 second third period breakdown give up both the game tying and game winning goals to the undefeated hosts.

Now that’s the fact of the matter, but again, what if those losses weren’t such a bad thing? There could, in fact, be a silver lining here.

As the Ooks have handed out loss after loss to opponent after opponent this season, it’s almost become laughable to imply that this ungodly streak of 22 games may actually end, and with only 32 games in a season, it’s entirely plausible to suggest they may actually pull to the end without feeling the sting of defeat.

Where the aforementioned silver lining lies is in the fact that the obvious dark horse that were the Trojans gave the Ooks all they could handle on both nights, showing flashes of what has made this team great in the past, and what could continue to push the level of play expected of this roster.

“I haven’t seen the bench that pumped all season.” said head coach Dan Olsen, after Saturday’s 4-3 loss in Edmonton, speaking of a beautiful goal scored off an Ook turnover by Trojan defenseman Austin Dick.

“The problem was a couple minutes later. Bang, bang, they score a couple, and we end up losing a game we should have won.”

The disheartened demeanour of the SAIT bench boss was notable, but not overpowering. A quiet determination frayed from behind the defeat.

“Sure as hell we’re frustrated after these games, but now we know we can compete with these guys come playoff time.

“We didn’t deserve two losses this weekend.”

The coming contests will see the Trojans travel north to battle the Keyano College Huskies (10-8-1-3) in what could be a fairly evenly matched weekend. The Huskies sit one spot ahead of SAIT in the ACAC standings, but only due to games in hand.

Both matchups will be a good opportunity to get back on the winning side of the puck, and potentially pull ahead of the same team they are jousting playoff positioning with.

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