Vikes’ hockey team looks to rebound after slow start

The UVic hockey team has struggled thus far in the 2013/14 season, but things are looking up as of late, as Vikes’ goaltender Nick Babich has led the way for the rest of the team to follow.

After a slow start, the Vikes’ offence is finally beginning to heat up, the defence is solidifying and the goaltending has been nothing short of superb. Although there haven’t been too many highlights in a 2-11 fall season, Head Coach Harry Schamhart is taking the positives and leaving the first half of the season behind, looking forward to a more successful 2014.

The Vikes have had flashes of being a contending team, but the consistency hasn’t been there, and that has cost them the majority of their games. However, coach Schamhart believes he can pull his team together and keep the momentum rolling, after a huge statement game against SFU, and bring more success in the second half of the season.

Vikes’ goaltender Nick Babich has been the spark plug for the team as of late. Babich was BCIHL player of the week in early December, after shutting out SFU 5-0 in their own rink, and posting a .941 save percentage and 1.73 goals against average in that week. Babich has emerged from a small group of goaltenders on the Vikes’ roster and become the number one goalie on the team.

Coach Schamhart believes in Babich. “I think he’ll be our starting goaltender,” says Schamhart. Much like the rest of the roster, Babich has been able to fight injuries to succeed.

Coach Schamhart believes that, among his biggest successes for the first semester, the team battled hard through adversity and injuries to get this far into the season.

“We started behind all the other teams at the start of the season,” Schamhart says. “It took us a while to catch up.”

Schamhart feels that the players didn’t believe in themselves at the beginning of the season, but after some success, they’re pulling together. The team is now executing the coach’s strategy and playing the game that they want to play.

“I’m proud of the boys, of how they fought through all of the negatives,” Schamhart says. “The most positive thing that has come out of this semester is that through all of the controversy the team has stuck together, executed, and worked as a team.”

Schamhart’s goal for the second half of the season is straight to the point: “Make the playoffs. We want to make the playoffs and win the playoffs.”

Despite a rough first half of the season, coach Schamhart still has his eyes set on winning it all. Behind a solid goaltender in Babich and some help up front, maybe a playoff berth isn’t so farfetched. However, there is still a long road ahead before the playoffs.

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