HALIFAX - It wasn’t close to the return Trevor Stienburg was hoping for.
© Metro Halifax/Andrew Rankin
Saint Mary’s Huskies head coach Trevor Stienburg keeps a close eye on the action in Sunday’s game against the UNB Varsity Reds at the Halifax Forum.
After a more than two-and-a-half-month leave of absence from the Saint Mary’s Huskies men’s hockey team, the club’s long time head coach was back behind the bench over the weekend.
He was welcomed with two straight home losses – 5-3 to the Moncton Aigles Bleus on Saturday and 6-4 to the New Brunswick Varsity Reds on Sunday.
The two results would be difficult for any bench boss, especially so for a man who stepped away from the game of hockey voluntarily to gain a fresh perspective and ultimately find his old coaching self.
“I took it personally, the effort,” Steinburg said Sunday in reference to the loss to Moncton. “I wear my heart on my sleeve. Everyone in the room knows it. They know how I felt about that.
“Tonight there was an effort at least. Tonight we found ways to just blow it. A lot of guys played well tonight. The compete level was there but we made some mental mistakes.”
Playing against second place Varsity Reds, the Huskies, who welcomed former Halifax Mooseheads forward Stephen MacAulay into the lineup, played a largely solid game and looked poised for victory. Holding down a 4-3 lead with just over five minutes to go in regulation time, Saint Mary’s fell apart and UNB countered with three unanswered goals, including an empty-netter, to skate away with a 6-4 win.
Stienburg knows he can’t change his fiery ways. But he understands the importance of being fair with himself and his players.
“If I’m undressing a guy I’m undressing him as a hockey player not as a person,” he said afterwards.
He also knows that a team that sits in sixth place with a record of 7-9 isn’t performing to its potential. As far as Stienburg’s concerned it’s time for action.
“I took some time off but I didn’t come back to be howdeedodee. I’m going to start cracking the whip around here.”
- by Andrew Rankin - Metro Halifax