The UOIT men’s and women’s hockey teams are more than halfway through their seasons, and both teams are shooting towards playoffs.
The men started strong winning eight of their first ten games. However, things have been a little rockier recently with Ben Blasko and Jason Shaw battling injuries.
After a strong start, the men were ranked fourth on the national U-Sport rankings. But, it’s been an up and down season ever since. The men dropped to sixth in the standings, one point behind the UQTR Patriotes for fifth place, and two points behind the Carlton Ravens for fourth place.
Cameron Yuill, captain of the Ridgeback’s men’s team, said his team needs to get focused before the playoffs, and he hopes to see his team get healthy.
“We have seven games to build towards playoffs, get in good habits and get everyone healthy, so we can hit the playoffs in full stride,” said Yuill.
The men finished fourth last season, and eventually lost to the Carlton Ravens in the second round of the playoffs.
Ridgebacks coach, Curtis Hodgins, thinks his men have a chance, as the top eight teams from each conference make the playoffs.
Hodgins is in his second year in charge of the men’s team. He says his team’s confidence isn’t high now, but he hopes to see his team get into the right mindset come the playoffs.
“We have seven games to go here. Hopefully we can get healthy,” said Hodgins. “All we’re worried about here is playing the right kind of hockey and getting that confidence back up.”
The men are not the only team on the ice. The Ridgeback’s women have won four of their last six games.
The women have also had a season of high and lows. They lost their first three games of the year, and at one point, sat at 3-7.
However, they have been clawing their way up the standings, and are only one point behind Brock University. This gives them a chance of the eighth, and final, playoff spot in their conference.
Women’s head coach, Justin Caruana, says he’s happy with how his team is playing, but he knows it won’t be easy to make the playoffs.
“We’re starting to see what we want,” said Caruana.” We know the task at hand. It’ll probably come down to the last week of the season. We take care of ourselves and we should be fine.”