First month of Trojans hockey in the books Men’s team starts strong, women’s team struggling
After the first month of their seasons – about a quarter through – the SAIT Trojans hockey teams were going in opposite directions. However, both said that their depth remains their strength.
The first quarter of the Trojans men’s hockey season featured both a huge win against a tough rival, but then a shocking loss.
As of Nov. 4, they sat second in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) at 6-2-0.
The highlight of the season to date was a 2-1 overtime victory back-to-back over ACAC champions MacEwan University.
Unfortunately, the Trojans started November with a stunning 3-1 loss to the low-ranked Briercrest College Clippers.
While the team crushed the Clippers 6-2 the next day, head coach Brent Devost still felt his team could be more consistent.
Acknowledging that the team got over 100 shots in two games, Devost also said there have been times the team has “been a little hesitant” and not made decisions quickly enough.
In his first year coaching the Trojans, Devost said there had not been much difficulty with the team adjusting to his style.
One player who has benefitted is third-year forward Colton McCarthy, whose move to centre led to him being among the team’s leaders in points (nine through eight games.)
McCarthy said the difference in this year’s team was depth.
“It’s nice having every guy playing. The last few years we’ve had to shorten the bench, but now we can rely on all four lines, three lines on D, everyone seems to be going,” said McCarthy.
The high-scoring Trojans were also leading the ACAC in penalty minutes (196), but Devost was unconcerned.
“With the reffing we get, we’re going to get some penalties,” said Devost.
“Reffing here in Calgary is a little bit different than it is in Edmonton.”
McCarthy said Devost was “keeping the team more disciplined.”
The men’s team faces a tough schedule for the rest of November, playing top teams NAIT, Red Deer College, and the University of Alberta-Augustana.
Their next home game is Nov. 10 against NAIT.
The Trojans women’s hockey team is 1-7, but forward Shea Dolan said that they don’t want to consider themselves underdogs.
Dolan made the comment after the women won their first game of the season Oct. 26, 3-1 over Olds College.
The mood was quieter after they were swept in a tough away-and-home series against NAIT Nov. 3 and 4: a 3-2 squeaker followed by a 5-3 home loss.
Frustrated head coach Kelsey Leifson said the team was “in a rough place right now.”
Poring over a penalty-filled scoresheet, Leifson noted the team could not expect to get more shots on net if they spent most of the game in the penalty box.
“At the end of the day, we need to keep our hands down, keep our feet moving, and lots of those calls go our way.”
The team has struggled to score this year, with just 14 goals as of Nov. 4.
Dolan, who was second on the team in points, said that while they may not look it on the scoresheet, they are on the right track to generating quality shots.
Leifson still said her team was “one of the deeper” teams in the ACAC, and had yet to reach its potential.
“It’s a character thing, and it’s a mental game.”
Dolan singled out goalies Elisha Oswald and Kaylin Schellenberg for helping keep the team in games.
The third-year Oswald was posting a .919 save percentage as of Nov. 1, while the first-year Schellenberg got the Trojans their first win. Schellenberg kept the Trojans in the game right to the end in the first game against NAIT, which the Ooks won with a late goal.
The women’s next home game is Nov. 16 against MacEwan University.