Coming off their first two wins in an exhibition series with Briercrest College Clippers, the Portage College Voyageurs could hardly wait to open their season at home this past weekend.
Confronting them was a fearsome foe … the SAIT Trojans, who finished last year with a 18-6-3-1 record, in a doubleheader showdown. It was going to be a big weekend for the Voyageurs, and Coach Nate Bedford was in no mood to tolerate anything less than a full-blooded effort.
Stands were packed with excited fans and parents eager for the start of a new season. Anticipation mounted when Claude Bolton, new coach of Portage College men’s and women’s soccer team performed the ceremonial puck-drop with Mayor Omer Moghrabi looking on.
Voyageurs strike first
Voyageurs were the first to strike, when Colby Livingstone, assisted by Trevor Posch, opened up the scoring early in the second period. Unfortunately, Trojans player, Dean Allison, scored 5 minutes later on a powerplay, tying up the game.
With 4 minutes left of the second period, Trojans took a 2-1 lead. With no scoring in the third period, the Trojans took their first win of the season.
Goaltender Taryn Kotchorek was instrumental and a huge factor for the Voyageurs resulting in the low scoring game, stopping 41 shots. While the score suggested a tight game, Bedford was unhappy.
“There was zero effort from our team. That score is not indicative of how poorly we played. If it was not for our goaltender, Kotchorek, it would have been 10-1.”
In game number two of the weekend, things got physical early in the first period. Trojan player Eric Krienke hit Voyageur player, Jordan Picard, prompting a brawl between the two teams; this resulted in ten 10-minute-misconducts between the two teams.
The Trojans quickly put up four goals in the first period, taking a strong lead heading into the second period.
The Voyageurs battled hard in the second period, and early in the third, when Brayden Dale’s puck found the back of the net 1:53 in.
The game remained very physical between them, where there was a combined 142 penalty minutes over 27 infractions for both the Trojans and the Voyageurs. Unfortunately, the game got away from the Voyageurs shortly afterwards, causing the Trojans to capitalize, resulting in four more goals. The final score was 8-1.
Falling to both games in their home-opening weekend, Bedford was disheartened by “the lack of effort” and the Voyageurs willingness to play as a team.
“We have the talent on this team to win games, but if they want to play like this, then it is going to be a long year,” said Bedford.
In the build-up to Friday evening’s game, Canadian Natural Resources Limited sponsored a free tailgate BBQ. There was also a mini-stick hockey tournament before the game where young Voyageur fans could play with current players.
Next up for the Voyageurs is the Grant MacEwan University Griffins in Edmonton this Friday. They then return home on Saturday to play the Griffins again. Puck drop is at 7pm.