Turning the corner?

Men's Hockey Preview

Heading into his third season at the helm, CUW men's hockey coach Tony Hrkac knows that his team needs to improve in all facets of the game after a 4-22-1 record in 2008. Concordia was 4-16-0 in the league, ahead of only Northland (1-18-1).

Top scorer Sam Aide is gone but Jon Smith (8 goals and 8 assists), and Niclas Soderberg (4 goals and 14 assists) return. Hrkac likes what he has seen of first year players Dustin Partacz and Bradley Lukasz in terms of scoring potential.

The Falcon defense, very suspect one year ago, returns team leaders Jari Sanders, who scored 3 goals and added 12 assists, and Steve Panas (1 goal and 13 assists). Sanders and Panas were 5th and 6th in conference scoring among defensemen. Concordia, however, was last in the league in scoring defense, giving up an average of 5.5 goals per conference game.

"It will take us a while to get everyone on the same page, but we are collectively faster and more skilled than the past two years," said Hrkac. "I look for us to defend better and be in position to win games in the third period."