Back to the drawing board
If the start of the new year marked the start of the season for the Trojans men’s hockey team, they would be playing .500 hockey right now. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case here.
If you’ve been following the Trojans (10-12-4) at all this season you know that they have a rather consistent problem with, well, consistency. Win two here, lose one there. Win four here, lose four there. Penalty trouble, staggered special teams, you name it.
Not to say they haven’t put up some solid stretches of hockey during this campaign, but compared to years past, it just hasn’t been the same.
Having come off of back-to-back losses against the leagues best in the form of the NAIT Ooks (24-0) two weeks back, the Trojans were actually looking to be trending in a generally upward direction.
“Upward direction?” You might be asking after hearing of two straight losses. But it was against a team that has been, quite literally, untouchable this year.
The NAIT Ooks: the Al Capone of the Alberta College Athletics Conference (ACAC). Having given the Ooks all they could handle to pull out the four points, there seemed to be a silver lining for the Trojans.
But after their most recent bout with the Keyano College Huskies (12-8-1-3), again dropping back-to-back decisions (5-3 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday), it seems as though it was, in fact, weak opposition and a little puck luck that got the Trojans off to such a blistering start in 2016.
“We only showed up for the first period,” said Trojan head coach Dan Olsen, after Friday’s 5-3 loss in Fort
“We talked about treating these games [against the huskies] like they were playoff games,” continued Olsen, whose squad could have pulled ahead of the Huskies to third place with a winning weekend.
“I expected a 60 minute effort, and we didn’t get that.”
As many times as it can be explained without sounding redundant, the Trojans found themselves in penalty trouble early on, and without a solid system in place to kill off the consequences of their hotheadedness, the Trojans went down early and weren’t able to recover.
As for Saturday, you could have copied and pasted Friday’s results onto Saturday’s game sheet and chances are nobody would have been any wiser.
The bright spot for the Trojans throughout this season has been the play of forward and captain Riley Paterson.
Finishing the weekend with three points (2G – 1A) and netting his 50 career ACAC goal in the process, it is safe to say that Paterson is leading by example, but is having a hard time getting the troops to fall in line.
Next on the docket is Red Deer College, who sit three points above SAIT in the standings, and will most likely provide stiff competition, as both teams will be jousting for the fourth and final playoff spot with only a handful of games remaining.
“I thought we showed a lot of character and turned a corner last weekend [against NAIT],” said Olsen.
“But obviously we haven’t.”