The men’s hockey team is red hot — garnering two wins off of the University of Manitoba Bisons to push their win streak from 10 to 12. Games over the weekend had high scores, a trend that has become prevalent in the current season.
Since the first weekend of the season — which resulted in a split with the University of Alberta Golden Bears — the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team has gone undefeated, securing a solid start to the season as they sit at a 13-1 record. The weekend of Nov. 23 to 24 saw some high-scoring games, as the Huskies secured their two wins with scores of 6-3 and 8-2 respectively.
While a win streak is an obvious sign that things are going well, either confidence or pressure can emerge as a result. Head Coach Dave Adolph spoke to the effect that a win streak could have on a team after the game on Nov. 23.
“Sometimes, when you have a winning streak as long as this, I think that you get a lot of bad habits. We had a lot of bad habits tonight that probably we won’t get away with next weekend against Alberta,” Adolph said. “Winning streaks are nice, but they’re coaches’ nightmares in the sense that players cheat and they don’t go as hard.”
With the win streak in mind, Carson Stadnyk, forward for the team and third-year management major at the Edwards School of Business, spoke about taking each game at a time.
“Going into every weekend of hockey, you have to be ready to play 60 minutes all the time. We have a very competitive league, and every night, any team can beat anyone,” Stadnyk said. “We go into each game with a purpose and [play] the game our way for 60 minutes. We do the best we can to stick to that, and hopefully, in the end, it results in a win.”
Taking this one-game-at-a-time approach, Stadnyk explains the importance that each game has in their season and how essential it is for the team to stay focused for the remaining games.
“So far, the season is going good for us. We are getting the bounces we need so far and coming together and playing as a team,” Stadnyk said. “It’s a short season, so every weekend counts, and you have to make the most of it every time you step out onto the ice.”
Stadnyk has high hopes for the season, and when asked about his personal aspirations for this year, he says his mind is already on the playoffs.
“My focus this is year is to make the playoffs and have a chance to go to nationals and do whatever it takes to win it all. This league is filled with unbelievable players, and by having an opportunity to go there, [it] means a lot, not just to me but to everyone playing in this league,” Stadnyk said.
Looking at the big-picture strengths of the team, Adolph notes that the team’s most noticeable strength is its speed. This strength is a necessity on the larger ice surface that Merlis Belsher Place holds, as Coach Adolph explains.
“We knew moving into this rink with the bigger ice surface we had to play fast,” Adolph said. “We’ve been planning for this season for two years — our players are fast.”
Adolph further explains how this necessity plays as a strength against their opponents.
“We play really fast, and other teams haven’t been able to keep pace with us. So even if we’re not scoring, our pace has been so high that the other team just wears out,” Adolph said.
Looking at the weekend ahead, the Huskies will be hosting the Golden Bears for a rematch weekend, which will offer the opportunity for the Huskies to face the only team to take a game off them this season. Stadnyk spoke to the team’s mindset going into the two games — which will be taking place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Merlis Belsher Place.
“Our mindset is to play our game for 60 minutes and do the best we can to win both games. They are a very good team with very good players, and we just have to do our best to match them. It’ll be two very good games, and hopefully, we have the chance to win a couple.”
Jack Thompson / Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Yashica Bithers