Slow start to season for women’s hockey

The SAIT women’s hockey team is off to a slow start and are 1-9 overall as they approach the halfway mark of the season.
They currently sit in last place of the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conferences (ACAC), but have plenty of time to improve.
“I think it is just conditioning, we are getting ourselves into situations where we can’t keep up, so we are taking penalties. We are playing a lot of the game in our own end,” said Kelsey Leifson, head coach.
The Trojans are currently first in the ACAC league in penalty minutes with 115 minutes.
“It’s not that we can’t keep up, we are fast enough, we just get tired and our brains don’t work the way they should normally. So, we make some less than stellar decisions and it costs us,” said Leifson.
Captain of the SAIT Trojans, Shealee Dolan, agreed with Leifson saying they have the speed and the skill to compete with anyone. Dolan said that they need to focus on teamwork to improve their season.
“I think we are lacking on the drive to work as a team. We need to connect a little bit more and we will get to where we want to be,” said Dolan.
According to the ACAC, the Trojans are currently first in the league with 49 power-play opportunities, but sit fourth in power-play percentage with 10.2 per cent.
“I think it’s more of working hard, giving it your all 100 per cent of the time for a full 60 minutes, because we all know what we are doing right? We’ve played it for so long,” said Dolan.
Going through a slump is a challenging part of any team’s ability to perform. Leifson said getting through it will take patience.
“I knew trying to build a team the way I wanted to build a team was going to take time. I think it’s resiliency, you have players and coaches from all over the place who have different ideas of accountability and mental toughness. A lot of them might not have been tested this way,” said Leifson.
She said some of the players who previously played on their junior teams might have never experienced the challenge of having to battle for a roster spot and battle through discomfort and bad times. Once they handle adversity as a team and work through those problems, they will be in a better place by the end of the season.
Leifson described the team as fast and said if they play at their best, they can play with any team in the league. As well, their ability to fore-check and the ability to turnover pucks down low are huge strengths.
“We do have a lot of girls that as soon as they get the puck they can take off and beat almost any defenseman in the league,” said Dolan.

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