With a new coach and a young team, the Briercrest Clippers men’s hockey club is looking for a new identity this season.
After finishing 0-3 in the preseason, the Clippers feel like they are developing and will be ready for their season opener on Friday in Calgary against SAIT.
“We developed nicely from where we started,” stated Dalton Stoltz, coach for the Clippers.
The Clippers visited the University of Regina Cougars on Sept. 14 and lost 13-0. Despite the lopsided loss, Stoltz feels the squad grew during that game.
“They are a great team and a CIS school. We learned a lot from that game and just what we can and cannot do. It was a good learning process,” he said.
The Clippers then hosted Minot State for back-to-back games in late September and fell 5-0 and 4-1. Just like with the Cougars game, the Clippers felt like they improved as a team in their two final preseason games and could see what areas still need work.
“Minot is a great program and is developing that will now be a top 10 in their region of the United States in the ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association). Over that weekend, we really got better playing back-to-back games,” stated Stoltz. “We only gave up one 5-on-5 goal, but they scored three power play goals. So, we obviously need to work on our penalty kill, but I think we played better defensively and our power play got a goal, which was nice that we were able to get a special teams goal.”
The team will be looking to improve on a sub-par 3-24-1 season last year and with a new high-energy coach that will be looking for players to give it their all each game, the Clippers are hoping to surprise a lot of opponents.
“Passion, hard work and discipline are three things that I’m all about and exceeding expectations is something that we really want to do this year,” explained Stoltz.
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.