CALGARY, ALTA, (March 1, 2019) — Playing against the team they will meet in the first round of the playoffs, the SAIT Trojans men's hockey team failed to send a message.
On Friday night at SAIT's Campus Centre, the Trojans gave up three goals in the third period, as they were dumped 5-4 by the University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings in their penultimate game of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference regular season.
"We came out strong, and then in the second period we just stood around," said Trojans head coach Brent Devost. "We let them get to the inside in our D-zone and get some good scoring chances they finished on. In their zone, we just stopped. We stopped pressuring, we stopped crashing. For whatever reason, that middle period killed us."
SAIT falls to 17-10 on the season, and sit in fourth place in the ACAC standings. Augustana improves to 16-10-1 and hold down fifth spot. With their rematch coming tomorrow night in Camrose, Alta., the teams will be battling for who finishes in fourth place and hosts the other in the opening quarter-final best-of-three series that will begin next weekend.
"Tomorrow is a battle for home ice, so we just have to skate with them," Devost said. "When we skate, we know that we are a very good hockey team, but we have to conjure up the right effort and the right attitude or else we will find ourselves travelling there for Game 1."
Before the Vikings took over in the second period, SAIT had taken a 2-0 lead thanks to a first period goal from Eric Krienke and a second period marker from Joren Patenaude.
After Patenaude's goal to go up 2-0, the Vikings responded just 16 seconds later to cut the lead in half thanks to Ryan Groom.
Jarod Hovde and Travis Mayan scored less than a minute apart later in the period to take a 3-2 lead into the final 20 minutes of play.
Groom doubled up the Vikings lead with his second of the game just 90 seconds into the final period before SAIT finally got one back, courtesy Krienke's second of the contest.
Mayan added his second of the game to be credited with the game-winner, as SAIT's Zach McNeill scored with just 34 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead to just one.
"Tonight was disappointing," Devost admitted. "To be up, and then just give them so much life in our own building was unfortunate. We'll have to address it and get ready because tomorrow is a big one."