CALGARY, (Jan. 18, 2019) — As gifted as the SAIT Trojans men's hockey team is offensively, head coach Brent Devost says there are some things to take care on the other side of the ice.
For the eighth time in their last 10 games, the Trojans scored 5+ goals, as they beat the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder 6-4 in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) game played Friday night in SAIT's Campus Centre.
"Collectively, I think we need to buy in more on the defensive side of the game," said Devost following the win. "The guys know it, so it's going to be up to them to decide to make that commitment. Once we do that, they'll see the rewards."
SAIT has now won three in a row to start 2019, and sit at 12-5 with 24 points – good enough for a three-way atop the ACAC standings with NAIT and MacEwan University.
"We're just trying to go 1-0 each game, and I think we have to try carry over all the good work the guys are doing in practice," Devost added. "That's going to continue to be our focus going forward as the games get tougher and tougher down the stretch."
Concordia falls to 3-11-1-1 on the year.
The Trojans are scoring at a clip of 4.70 goals per game this season – drastically up from the 3.82 they scored last season and 3.75 in 2016/17. It's resulted in three of his team's players – Dean Allison (28 points), Owen LaClare (27 points) and Eric Krienke (24 points) to sit 1-2-3 in league scoring.
On Friday, the three combined for eight points.
"There's lots of chemistry and we have a lot of talent," explained Devost. "It's fun watching this 80's run and gun style, but I know our goalies at times wished the scales tipped a little more towards 21st century hockey."
In what has been an odd trend, SAIT has given up the first goal in each of their first three games this semester. This time it was Thunder forward Tyler Benko, who beat SAIT goalie Payton Lee (2nd year, Cranbrook, BC, Power and Process Operations) to open the scoring.
The Trojans responded with the next five, however to take control of the game.
LaClare (2nd year, Edam, Sask., Power and Process Operations) and Colton McCarthy (3rd year, Salmon Arm, BC., Geographic Information Systems) scored to give the home side a 2-1 lead after one period.
Connor McCallum (3rd year, Strathmore, Alta., Bachelor of Business Administration) scored five minutes into the second period to give SAIT a 3-1 lead before defensemen Brendan Bartlett (1st year, Dryden, Ont., Instrumentation Engineering Technology) and Sam Stormoen (1st year, Calgary, Petroleum Engineering Technology) scored to extend the team's lead to 5-1.
The visitors scored three of the game's next four goals to cut it close. Aaron Petten scored at the end of the second period, while teammates Ian McLellan and Matt Benko added third period markers.
SAIT forward Matt Houston (2nd year, Rosetown, Sask., Business Administration) scored on a breakaway with just under five minutes left to round out the scoring, giving him five goals in his last five games.
The Trojans and Thunder will finish their weekend set tomorrow night in Edmonton in a 7pm start.