Still riding the momentum from defeating Mount Royal in the final series of the regular season, the SAIT Trojans made quick work of the Grant MacEwan Griffins in the first round of the ACAC playoffs this past weekend.
The Trojans took the opening game at home convincingly by a score of 7-3. The top line of Curtis Billsten, Trevor Bailey, and Clinton Pettapiece combined for nine points in the victory.
The team wrapped up the best of three series on the road in Edmonton on Saturday, exploding for four goals in the third period to break a 1-1 tie.
The Trojans will now face the Augustana Vikings in the semi finals, with the opening puck drop Mar. 1 at Camrose’s Encana arena, with the first game at SAIT to be played Mar. 3.
Augustana received a first round bye for finishing second in the ACAC standings, two points ahead of the Trojans after 28 regular season games.
The Trojans went 2-1-1 against the Vikings in the regular season, with each team winning once on home ice.
“We are going to have our hands full with them, they are a highly offensive team and they have home ice advantage,” said Trojans head coach Ken Babey.
A match-up with Mount Royal in the final weekend of the regular season may have been just what the doctor ordered for the Trojans heading into the ACAC playoffs.
“I thought the final two weekends of the regular season, against Augustana and Mount Royal got the guys ready for playoff hockey,” said Babey.
“Those are two good teams we are looking up on in the standings, and we fared pretty well against them and that gave us some confidence.”
The MRU series had a playoff type atmosphere to it, and got the Trojans prepared for what they hope is a long playoff run.
The Trojans are still without the services of netminder Andy Williams, who was injured when he was run over by Mount Royal forward Jeremy Roberts in the final weekend of the regular season.
“Andy was in a vulnerable position, I thought it was a dirty hit,” said Babey.
Roberts received a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play, but received no supplemental discipline from the league, much to the ire of Babey and the Trojans.
Williams remains out indefinitely with nerve damage in his left leg, which has not improved since the injury. He currently has no feeling in the leg, which has led the Trojans medical staff to search for other options of medical treatment.
Adam Bartko has been solid between the pipes since taking over for Williams, but hasn’t been tested much thanks to solid defensive play in front of him.
The Trojans took only three minor penalties in the series against MacEwan, and will need that type of discipline against Augustana, who had the highest scoring offense in the ACAC this season.
The SAIT Trojans men’s volleyball team had high hopes going into the season, but for a second straight season finished seventh place after the ACAC provincial championships.
Upon the end of the regular season the Trojans found themselves in a best-of-three qualification series against Augustana, with the winner getting a berth in the ACAC provincial tournament.
After beating Augustana they lost their next two series to Red Deer College and Lakeland Community College respectively, both by a score of 1-3.
A 3-1 victory over NAIT in the consolation round gave the Trojans seventh place, but it was no consolation for a team who had bigger things on their mind this season.
The Trojans were plagued by both injuries and inconsistent play this season, and were unable to put together any sort of winning streaks.
“For what it’s worth, I’m proud of what we’ve done this year. In the end, you look at our record, we’re still above .500 [11-9 in the regular season, 3-2 in the playoffs], but it’s a team that should have been well above .500,” said head coach Ryan Marsden in a press release. “It was disappointing at times, but at other times, we were elated with our effort.”
After finishing his first season as head coach of the SAIT Trojans women’s volleyball team, Art O’Dwyer has plenty to look forward to.
The Trojans finished sixth place out of 14 teams in the ACAC conference, their best finish since 2008 when they finished fifth.
After beating Lethbridge College in the qualification to earn a berth in the provincial tournament, the Trojans were overmatched by the Medicine Hat Rattlers in the first round, losing in straight sets and ending their title hopes.
The team bounced back to upset the number three ranked MacEwan Griffins on Friday with a 3-2 upset victory, but ended their season with a 0-3 loss to Lakeland College.
O’Dwyer is happy with the way his team battled, and thinks this season was a step in the right direction for the Trojans.
“From my perspective, we’ve done a lot with what we had with this group. I’m not saying we didn’t have a lot, but people were willing to adjust and adapt,” said O’Dwyer in a press release.
“And that’s really positive for me as a coach. They bought in to what our staff (including assistants Kirsten Bates and Kelly Gedlaman) was saying, and that’s great.”
The Trojans had a young squad this season with five ACAC sophomores and three rookies, and hope to build on their progress next season.