There has been a reversal in fortunes this season for the University of Calgary women's hockey team. Last year they were Alberta College Athletic Conference champions and this year they find themselves occupying last spot in the Canada West standings. The Dinos have managed only a single win, and it came during the first game of the season against the University of British Columbia thunderbirds. Since then they have lost five straight.
"I'm kind of disappointed a little bit and I think our team feels the same way," says Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette. "We knew it was a new season and it was going to be challenging but at the same time some games that we were playing really well we lost our focus for maybe threeÂ to five minutes and they scored two to three goals and we came back and played well but we couldn't come back from three goals. And that is why it cost us."
The Dinos have been unable to find an answer to their problems this season but Goyette marks injuries as a huge detriment to winning games.
"To be honest, since tryouts we haven't had our full team yet," says Goyette. "We have been having injuries like crazy. We had one with a collarbone and she is playing this weekend, she has been off two months. We have another one with her wrist broken, she's out for six to eight weeks and we have another one with a wrist problem and she's been out for almost two months."
Injuries cause problems for all players on a team and Goyette believes they place an added burden on the healthy athletes.
"As a team you cannot use that [injuries] as an excuse but when you are playing with two lines, three lines, those players are getting tired," says Goyette. "I think that's catching up with us."
The mental repercussions on a team when they string together numerous losses is huge and this has been a definite problem for the Dinos.
"It's hard. Last year being in ACAC we were winning most of the games and you gain confidence by winning," says Goyette. "Now when you lose game after game, it's hard on confidence, but I think the players believe they can do it, we just need one win and I think the morale is going to be back."
A side effect of the low morale is players underperforming, often skating slower and putting less energy into what they do on the ice.
"When we practice right now in training I think the girls are doing well, it's positive but without a win I think they give up a little bit faster," says Goyette. "When you win one you know that you can do it and you're persistent a little bit more as a player."
Seeking an all-important win the Dinos have six games left before the Christmas break to turn there season around and crawl back into playoff contention.
"What we have to do as a team is keep working hard and when the team is going to be back together, hopefully before Christmas, we can get going and hopefully it won't be too late to get some points," said Goyette.
The Dinos will begin the attempt to resuscitate their season against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies this weekend, a team they lost to 5-0 and 3-2 at the Oval in October. Goyette sees this road trip as a fortunate circumstance for the Dinos team.
"It's funny because when we go on the road and we play on the small ice, our team right now is better on small ice than big ice because there is less skating," says Goyette. "We do not have the full roster so it will help us play the full 60 minutes."