Men’s Hockey: Optimistic outlook for season opening

The Dinos men’s hockeysaurs have high hopes for this upcoming season. But if pre-season action was any indication of what’s to come, they may be in for some major disappointment.

In six pre-season games, the Dinos posted a dismal 2-4-0 record, including a humiliating 8-2 loss at the hands of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Signs of life started to show this past weekend with a solid 4-2 win over the National Collegiate Athletic Association fifteenth ranked Colorado College Tigers at the Colorado Springs World Arena Sun., Oct. 1.

Hopefully the Dinos will come back with the pre-season rust taken care of, ready to kick some serious ass on the ice.

Before the Dinos can start chalking up numbers in the win column however, their inconsistent play, which cost them easily winnable games, needs to be addressed. It rarely came as a surprise last season–when they finished with a 13-13-2 record–that the Dinos had dominated a top-ranked team one week, but followed it up by blowing a four goal lead in mere minutes the next.

If the Dinos want to be serious contenders for the championship this year, they have to find some way to gain ground on their nemesis, the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Bears have owned the Dinos for the last nine years and finished last season miles ahead of the pack with an impressive 21-5-2 record. The Dinos are ready to continue their intense rivalry.

“[The Bears] are the best,” commented Adam Redmond, third-year kinesiology, about the upcoming season. “It’s always a challenge and you always look forward to playing the better teams, to see where you stack up against them.”

This year’s team is experienced–last season’s leading scorers Colin McRae and Ryan Annesley return for another year–and youthful, with eight rookies adding their talents.

Last year the Dinos were one of the youngest teams in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, but talent was definitely not in short supply, with returning teammates Jarret Lukin and Travis Friedley being named to last year’s CIS All-Rookie Team.

With the increased speed the team can offer this season, the squad’s outlook for this campaign is bright, but it doesn’t come without higher expectations.

“There are huge expectations for us [this season],” added Redmond. “We want to go all the way to nationals this year, which I think is in our grasp.”

Head coach Scott Atkinson returns for his sixth campaign, ready to tackle the season with renewed enthusiasm and to build on last year. His never-wavering faith in his team’s capabilities–coupled with his sometimes brutally honest comments on player inconsistency–are sure to inspire players to perform at their potential and achieve what they couldn’t last season.

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