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Eyes on the prize . . . Tainui hockey player Jared Ovens (left) plays a pass as teammate Blain Hamilton backs him up. PHOTO: AMBER ALDEN

Despite a winless start to the season, there is an air of confidence in the Tainui men’s hockey team.

Playing in the five-team South Canterbury Hockey Division 1 competition, Tainui lost its first game 5-3 to Wakanui and then drew the second against Northern Hearts 2-2.

After a bye two weeks ago, the team returned to action last weekend, losing 4-1 against Temuka, a team coached by former Black Stick Hayden Shaw.

The final score did not reflect the team’s performance, Tainui co-coach George Smith said.

“We actually didn’t play too bad,” Smith said.

“Everything [Temuka] did just stuck. I think they had five shots at goal and scored four times, and we probably had 10 shots and scored once.”

Without a Division 2 team this year, Tainui’s Division 1 team had good player numbers, Smith said.

“We have got a good balance of young talent coming through and guys who have been in the team for quite a few years now.

“Our team has come a long way, we have been practising the basics.

“It’s something we have lacked in the past, probably because we have struggled to get numbers to training.”

A player to watch was midfielder Henry Peter, who had played hockey at a high level in the United Kingdom, Smith said.

Peter brought a lot of experience to the side, he said.

Despite the winless start, Smith was excited about the team’s prospects for the rest of the season.

“We are going to get there, we just have to be able to put the goals away.”

Tainui faces Cambridge in Timaru at 2.55pm tomorrow.