Men's Hockey: AUS Weekly Update - Preseason is over and a coach is on the sidelines

The fourth and final week of preseason play in AUS men's hockey was a light schedule: Acadia hosted Dalhousie in Berwick, NS on Friday and Saint Mary's played StFX in Truro in what has become an annual charity game for minor hockey. Saturday night St. Thomas travelled up the St. John River to Grand Falls to play Moncton on Saturday night.

The Axemen cruised to a 5-1 win over the Tigers, while Drew Owsley made 27 saves in a 2-0 X-Men shutout of the Huskies. SMU are notoriously slow starters, but in six exhibition games they've had four losses in regulation, one in over-time, and an OT tie (when a game against Acadia was halted due to a player injury). Sure they've got a lot of injuries, but still.

The teething pains continue for the rebuilding Tommies under Pat Powers. Les Aigles Bleus blew out a close game in the second period and skated to a 6-2 win.

Off the ice, the big news in the AUS this week comes from Chris Cochrane's column in Tuesday's Herald: Stienburg taking break from SMU coaching duties. Trevor Stienburg is a passionate coach who guided his team all the way to last season's University Cup championship game against UNB. I certainly didn't see this coming, just days before the regular season starts.

It’s because he questions how he’s handled the coach’s responsibility to create the best environment for his players and to set a strong leadership example that he has decided to take a break from the Huskies.
Stienburg will retain his head coach position but will step away from the day-to-day operation for now. With a new AUS season opening Friday, assistant coach Tyler Naugler will direct the Huskies until Stienburg decides to return.
Who says AUS (all CIS?) hockey coaches aren't under a lot of stress to win and get the most from their players.
“I’m just taking a little bit of time, whatever is needed,” said Steinburg, who has plenty of praise for his veteran coaching staff and the potential of the team he’s assembled.
“I need that balance, I don’t know if I’ve ever had it. I don’t like myself the way I am (with his players) right now. I feel like I want to launch my stick in the stands every time a guy makes a mistake. I love every guy in the room; I recruited every guy in the room. I need to make it more enjoyable for them."
“I need to be a better friend to develop these players, first as people, then as hockey players.
“And I’ve got two kids. I don’t want to take this crap home to them. So I just want to step away and get my head straight.”
Hopefully Stienburg finds that balance quickly, not the least for the selfish reason in this corner that he is an emotional coach that makes every game, and post-game, more interesting (much like Torts in the NHL).

Back to the ice. All eyes will be on Fredericton opening night when UNB raises their two championship banners Friday while hosting StFX (who really should be ranked at least #10). Saturday the Huskies are in town for their first meeting with the V-Reds since that fateful game in March. Moncton hosts the same two visitors on the alternate nights.

Acadia hosts St. Thomas on Friday while Dalhousie hosts UPEI. The teams trade dance partners for Saturday night.

Bruce Hallihan's annual AUS hockey preview, a must read every year, will be in Friday's Daily Gleaner. The Gleaner is unfortunately behind a paywall, so make sure yourself get a copy of the paper. I will try to have my much less detailed season preview effort posted before the puck-drop on Friday, so that everyone can have fun second-guessing my predictions.
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