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Friday , 25 September 2020

Pontiacs Learn from Mistakes as they prepare to take on Grande Prairie

Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs’ win streak may have had a slight interruption, but Assistant Coach Larry Draper says the team will shake off Tuesday’s loss to Sherwood Park and move forward for a double header in Grande Prairie, Friday and Saturday.

“You can’t win them all,” says Draper who feels the team’s attitude was off on Tuesday night. “You make your breaks. It started in practice, the purpose and emotions that’s necessary for a team to be successful was missing in practice.”

Draper explains the players need to recognize when the attitude shifts and the atmosphere is different on the bench or in the dressing room, “if the players sense that something’s different, and then what should the players do? Change it. It’s important that the group understands that if it isn’t right, if it doesn’t feel right, then fix it.”

“Everybody needs the right feeling to be successful,” and it should be the player’s goal to find it, explains Draper, “each person has to find a way to get that right feeling, and what that looks like… it’s up to each individual player to find that feeling.”

“We have a heck of a hockey team,” Draper explains if anything the loss will help the squad appreciate what needs to be done before a game to win, “it taught us we need to prepare better. That’s your bottom line.”

Draper had a chance to review the game footage and was able to pinpoint plays and errors that cost the team the game, a great teaching opportunity for him. “I had the opportunity to review the tape twice, we got some work to do. There’s guys who were staring at the puck and not reading the play and it’s a process.”

With 15 rookies donning a Pontiacs’ jersey, a nine game win streak is almost unheard of. “These group has done really well considering so many young guys and they’re gonna do well again.”

In preparation for Grande Prairie, Draper says the team will be put through a few practices, “Coach Swann and I will put them through the grindstone and help fix some of the mistakes that made on Tuesday.” Drills will be specific to the mistakes that were made against Sherwood Park, explains Draper, “it’s not enough just to tell them, you got to show them. You talk a little bit about it, but then they have to fix whatever it is in practice, so in the game it’s familiar and they’re able to do what’s right in the game.”

“Guys get a little complacent,” Draper says it’s the pitfall of a streak, “you learn a little bit from winning hockey games, but you really learn a lot when you lose. Mistakes are necessary for a person to grow, no matter what you’re doing in life, hockey’s no different.”

Draper isn’t worried about the team in any means, “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There’s a few things we need to fix, and it’s a process we go through every year. Our head coach, Rick Swann, is a very patient man and we’re all going to be staying the course and sticking to the process. We’re gonna get the job done.”

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