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September 1, 2021

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM

Forty years ago, a team advanced to the gold medal game of nationals for the third straight season.

After suffering 11-4 and 14-1 losses in the two previous national championship finales, the 1980-81 SAIT Trojans responded with a record of 21 wins and 3 losses during the 1980-81 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference regular season campaign to finish atop the conference standings

In one best of three ACAC semi final series, the SAIT Trojans faced the fourth place Camrose Lutheran College Vikings. Ron Pierce tallied twice as the Trojans skated to a 7-3 win in the series opener. Wayne Merkel paced the Trojans with four goals in a 15-1 triumph to advance to the next round.

In the best of ACAC five final series, SAIT hosted the first two contests. Kim Hilkewich completed the hat trick while Brent Lock and Darren Woitas tallied twice to pace the Trojans an 8-3 win over the NAIT OOks in game one. Hilkewich and Wayne Merkel each pocketed a pair as SAIT shaded NAIT 6-4 in overtime. The Ooks then extended the series with an 8-0 home win before Steve Hanna backstopped the Trojans to a 9-0 road triumph in game four. Kim Hilewich, Brent Lock and Ron Pierce each bent the twine twice in the contest.

In the Alberta-Saskatchewan qualifier, SAIT hosted the PAC champion Saskatchewan Technical Institute Beavers from Moose Jaw.  Although netminder Steve Hanna left the series opener to nurse stretched knee ligaments, the Trojans thumped the Beavers 18-5 in game one.  Kim Hilkewich led SAIT with four goals while Mike Sears and Jamie Hodgins each completed hat tricks.  Dennis Connelly, Darren Woitas, and Bobby Deschamps each chipped in a pair for the Trojans.  SAIT then peppered STI goaltender Gerry Gatlinger with 76 shots as they completed the series sweep with a 7-1 victory.  Ron Pierce tallied twice while his brother Roger added a single.  Greg Luhr, Brad Carlson, Wayne Merkel and Brent Lock completed the scoring.

At the 1981 CCAA National Hockey Championship in Kitchener, Ontario, four teams took part. Bobby Deschamps bent the twine twice as the Trojans doubled the host Conestoga College Condors 4-2 in one semi final.  Dennis Connolly and Ron Pierce also socred for SAIT. The College of Cape Breton Capers from Sydney, Nova Scotia outscored the Humber College Hawks of Etobicoke, Ontario 8-5 in the other semi final. In the championship final, the Trojans and the Capers exchanged first period goals before SAIT exploded for five goals in the second en route to a 7-4 victory.  Dennis Connelly lit the lamp twice for SAIT while Scott Parkinson, Wayne Merkel, Ron Pierce, Bobby Deschamps, and Doug Panchuk added singles.


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