Sitting only four points behind the first-placed NAIT Ooks in the Alberta College Athletics Conference (ACAC) hockey league, the Trojans men’s hockey team hit the ice Feb. 2 determined to get closer to that coveted top position.
The Men of Troy were victorious, winning the game by a score of 4-1 against the Portage College Voyageurs at the SAIT Arena. The win was almost a carbon-copy of their 5-1 win over the Voyageurs the night before.
“The turnaround of less than 24 hours is tough physically on the guys,” said Trojans’ head coach Ken Babey. “[Voyageurs] were a big strong team. I just think our guys just stayed with it.”
Unfortunately for the Trojans, NAIT picked up a pair of victories this weekend as well, still leaving the Trojans four points behind them.
Also in a race for the top of the leader board is Trojans’ captain Garrett Watson, who entered this weekend tied with Augustana Vikings’ Craig Cornelson for most goals scored this season.
“Garrett’s got a really hard shot,” said Babey. He is “starting to see some payoff from the fact he’s our net-front guy on the power play.”
Watson picked up his 17th goal of the season on Feb. 2, but Cornelson also managed to pick up two goals with the Vikings on the same night, now leaving Watson two points behind him.
Watson is humble about the whole thing, crediting some good luck rather than his skills.
“Right now, it’s either the puck is bouncing to me the right way or I’m just in the right position,” said Watson. “The puck has its own eye sometimes.”
The Trojans now sit with a record of 17-3-4 and are undefeated in their last 12 games.
Their success as of late can be attributed lately to rookie goaltender Mike Tadjdeh, who on Feb. 2 stopped 26 of 27 shots and fought through some particularly tough scrambles in front of his net.
“They got that one tricky one on him that went off his blocker and went up and in,” said Babey. “After that they had some good opportunities and he just stonewalled them.”
“’Tadj’ is very mentally strong, and when the game is on the line he gets even better. That’s a good sign,” said Babey.
The Trojans were set to battle their number one rivals on Feb. 8 and 9. NAIT was to host the Trojans on the first night, then will journey down the QE2 to Calgary for the match-up at on SAIT’s Arena on Feb. 9.