By Mike Flach
After being dealt a tremendous blow this week with the defection of sniper Eric Schneider, the Dinos men’s hockey team took out their frustration in a two-game romp over the University of Brandon Bobcats. The Dinos trampled the Bobcats, winning 8-5 Jan. 7 and 4-1 on Jan. 8. Christmas turkey didn’t slow the boys down and their extended vacation this year had no detrimental effect at all.
"It really didn’t look like we’d been off for six weeks," remarked coach Tim Bothwell. Brandon, on the other hand, played during the break in a tournament in Guelph. The Dinos’ incredible start has left the coaching staff considering extending the Christmas break for next year as well.
The weekend was particularly sweet for fourth-year Management student Trevor Murray. After missing the first half of the season, he led the team over the weekend, netting five points in the first game and earning himself Canada West player of the week honours for his effort. Murray left school in 97/98, and thus didn’t qualify to play last year or for the first part of this season.
"He’s been very good at practice all year, he’s been giving us good energy and intensity and enthusiasm," said Bothwell. "We’re really happy to have him back."
Murray’s return is something of a godsend for the Dinos, as the loss of Schneider left a gap in the scoring power of the team. Schneider’s disappearance remains a mystery to the Dinos. Schneider was Freshman of the Year last season in the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union and a nominee for University of Calgary Male Athlete of the Year.
"I don’t really know what the details were, we just got to practice on Monday and he wasn’t there," commented Bothwell.
The reasons behind his defection and his current whereabouts remain unknown.
"I still don’t know where he is, exactly," said Bothwell.
Schneider is currently in the East Coast Hockey League, and the Pensacola Ice Pilots seem to be his probable destination. As for his reasoning, Bothwell was unsure.
"I can only speculate, he wasn’t a real strong student," said Bothwell. "We’d rather have him here than not, but we certainly did well this weekend without him."
U of C and the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, will fight for a Canada West playoff home advantage. The Dinos will be hurting offensively as Ron Grimard, who is second in the Canada West scoring standings, and physical defenseman Sheldon Nedjelski will both be out.
"Grimard has a real bad charley horse. I’d have to say he’s not going to play this weekend," said Bothwell. "Nedjelski blew his shoulder again. He’ll be a minimum of a couple of weeks, maybe more."
This does not bode well for the Dinos, who don’t need any more offensive setbacks. The team will have to rely even more heavily on Murray, who will need to continue his stellar play, and lead the team through these troubled times. Despite the losses in the forward department, the Dinos added a new face to their defensive core. A former captain of the Notre Dame program in the Saskatchewan Junior League, Brock Hodgson will add depth to keep the attackers at bay. The Dinos will play at Father David Bauer arena Sat., Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.