It will be a confident, highly prepared group of Steinbach Pistons when they hit the ice at the RBC Cup in Chilliwack, B.C. Pistons first game is Sunday afternoon (2 p.m. CST, May 13) against US-based Wenatchee Wild (BCHL).
There have been valuable hockey lessons learned for GM/Head Coach Paul Dyck from the franchise’s last trip to the Western Canada Cup (WCC) back in 2013. Fresh off a championship win over Dauphin Kings, Pistons headed to the WCC not quite knowing what to expect.
“Going to the WCC was really uncharted territory for all of us,” Dyck says. “I suppose we headed into the WCC thinking of ourselves as underdogs. We really focused on our opponents and what they did well. I suppose we lost our focus on what we really did well.”
Much to everyone’s disappointment Pistons failed to win a game at the 2013 WCC.
“I suppose we gave our opponents a bit too much respect,” Dyck said of the experience. “The first periods in all our games just killed us. Absolutely killed us. But, we really held our own in the second and third periods. We lost a couple of really close games, and I thought we got better as we played more games.”
Dyck knows in a short-tournament format, getting off to a good start is important. Unlike 2013, this year’s group of Pistons come to the RBC Cup highly ranked, thanks to numerous high placings in the weekly CJHL rankings. Over the regular season the club only lost eight games, and are highly motivated after last year’s disappointing playoff showing (again, only eight losses).
“We have nine guys who came back from last year,” said Dyck. “Those players have been very vocal about our goals and moving forward. Once we won the league we turned our focus to the ANAVET Cup. We were careful not to look too far ahead.
“We’ll be approaching this year’s RBC Cup a bit differently from our WCC trip. We’ll focus on our game and what we do well.”
Pistons are hoping to become the second MJHL team to win the RBC Cup in four years, with Portage winning at home in 2015.
Of note, the Wild defeated Spruce Grove Saints in the BC/Alberta final. Wenatchee is the second U.S.-based team to compete for the RBC Cup. The Minnesota Wilderness, then of the SIJHL, competed in the 2013 RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I.