It was a tough end to the season for the men’s hockey team as they lost a 6-1 battle against Saint Mary’s on Saturday.
Despite a hard-fought game against StFX the night before, the Tommies played a flat game, leaving the season on a sour note.
Head coach Pat Powers said although it wasn’t the ending he wanted, he was glad to see the team improve this season.
“They didn’t quit and I think that’s a good sign of things to come moving through the offseason. The guys know our coaching staff is going to work hard to make the program better and [the players] know they have to be accountable every day, whether the playoffs are out of the picture or not.”
The Tommies have had a season of ups and downs. This year ended with a record of 6-20-2, a vast improvement over last season’s 3-24-1. The Tommies also had many more close calls this season, despite only grabbing six wins.
This year’s team will be best remembered for finally breaking the Battle of the Hill losing streak. Graduating player Jonathan Bonneau scored the game-winning goal, and said that’s one of his happiest memories from his time at STU.
“All the graduating players said, ‘Please beat UNB.’ And I never thought we would but then we did. That’s one of the great memories I have from here,” he said.
There have been some serious issues that the team will have to work on going into next season. The team has a definite discipline issue. The first half of the season was average in terms of penalties and ejections, but since January the team has been accruing disciplinary action at an alarming rate. This semester saw a few new recruits, including forward Ian Saab, who has been ejected from two games, including the second game of the semester.
The problem might lie in recruitment, with players being scouted from the QMJHL. Powers said he’s looking for players everywhere and won’t overlook any talented player.
“We have to increase our talent and our depth. There’s no secret. I’ve probably called every over-ager in Canada and a lot of guys in tier two as well. I’m going to do my best to make this team a better team,” he said.
Although they finished second-last in the AUS this year, the team is still fighting. Powers said at the beginning of the season the team didn’t want to be in last place again, and this year proved they can do it. But the biggest improvement has been the players’ attitude.
“The guys came into the season with energy and enthusiasm and optimism, and there’s still a sense of enjoyment coming to the rink every day,” he said. “I think that’s a good sign that the guys continue to want to play for one another and work and show up.”