Vikes Hockey Team Optimistic AboutNew Year
The UVic hockey team has had a rough firsthalf of the season to say the least, but head coach Harry Schamhartstill trusts his team and believes that theVikes can still go all the way. The Vikes currently sit last in the BCIHLstandings with a 2-11-1 record that is underwhelming by any standards. However,the Vikes have been able to string together some memorable wins, a win againstSelkirk and a 5-0 shutout of their bitter rivals, Simon Fraser University.
Theteam has improved to 2-3 in their last five games, much credited to theoutstanding goaltending of Nick Babich, who has solidified his position as the#1 goalie on the team with his play as of late. Although we’ve only seenglimpses of what the team can do, the Vikes are looking forward to a muchbetter second half.
When asked about what worked thus far intothe season and what they had to improve on, coach Schamhart took a long pauseto think about what has actually been
working for his team this year, aftersome consideration Schamhart said, “We got down a few games, and they startedto believe that they couldn’t win,” Schamhart stated, “once they had somesuccess, they started to execute what we asked them to do and that has been whereour success has come from.” When asked if he was happy about where the teamwas, he shot back quickly, “we’re never happy with where we are.” Schamhartblames some of the early woes due to injuries, “It’s been a tough year becausewe’ve had to deal with injury after injury” Schamhart says, “we’ve had reallykey players injured for the whole semester, so hopefully 2014 brings us betterluck with that.” In order for the Vikes to be successful, they will need tostay healthy and fire on all cylinders if they want to be re-established ascontenders to go all the way.
Credit to the late success of the team hasmostly been placed on goalie Nick Babich, who has been outstanding sincereturning from injury. Babich has recorded both Vikes wins this season, and waseven named the BCIHL player of the week back in early December before theChristmas break. “Nick will be the starting goalie”
Schamhart stated, “Throughall of the controversy the boys stuck together and got through it.” Babich’s3.49 goals against average and .899 save percentage may not be top notch, buthe’s elevated his game to new heights at the latter end of 2013 and proved he’sgot the stuff to be the Vikes #1 goalie moving forward. Vikes captain EvanWarner was straight to the point earlier this season when he said that “theteam isn’t very skilled, but we can outwork other teams to get the win” andthat’s exactly what the Vikes have had to overcome in the first half of theseason. “We don’t attract the high end talent like SFU or Thompson Rivers does”Schamhart states, “so we have to play with the cards we’re dealt and use hardwork as our biggest asset rather than skill.” With the superb goaltending of‘Babs’, The Vikes might just get in the win column more often in the secondhalf of the season.
The Vikes have a tall order ahead of themin the second half of the season, but coach Schamhart still has the same goalfor the second half of the season, “make the playoffs” he states, “make theplayoffs and win the playoffs.” While this goal may be farfetched for the timebeing, the Vikes have the opportunity to have a successful second half of theseason and make themselves contenders to win it all. Captain Evan Warner andthe rest of the team are optimistic about the second half of the season, andcan’t wait to get back into action following the holiday break. If Babich cancontinue to stand on his head and the Vikes’ top players can stay healthy, theVikes are as good of a team as there is in the entire BCIHL.