The Cold Lake Jr B Ice picked up three of four possible points with an overtime upset at home and win on the road this past weekend. Not taking the OT win on Friday against the Frog Lake T-Birds was somewhat upsetting, explains Head Coach, Scott Hood.
“It would’ve been nice to beat Frog Lake, they’ve got a skilled team. We played with them, for the most part. We lost on a bad goal in overtime. Definitely, the way we lost was frustrating, it went off a skate behind the net.” It was a 5-4 loss to the T-birds on home ice Friday, but the team was able to bounce back quickly, explains Hood. “The boys rebounded well on Saturday, we seen some real progress.”
The Ice took the Tigers in Saturday’s match-up 5-3 in Vermilion, “Vermilion’s a hardworking team, they always have been a hardworking team. They’re on ya all the time. But we stuck it out and had a fairly successful weekend.”
The league is more even then it has been in recent years, with many team competing at the same level. In the past, there’s usually been a clear standout, which has typically been the Ice. With five-in-a-row Championship titles, the Ice are working harder than ever to make a go for six. “We didn’t need systems before, but now we need systems, we need to work hard every night and use our skill. We do that, and we can beat just about every team. We’re working on that [mentality] and they seem to be slowly getting it.”
“Most teams in this league are hardworking, the years have gone by of having all skill,” states Hood, who’s seen the team come together, “if we hadn’t seen any progress over the first seven games, I’d be worried. But we’ve seen a good chunk of progress.”
“You’re going to have fans that look at the record,” Hood explains it’s a new year, “it’s a different team and a different organization then it has been in the past.” Hood’s always believed in a clean slate going into his term as coach and doesn’t want to concern himself with past organizational issues, nor does he want to speculate on what may have happened. He’s always been looking forward, “you don’t win league championships in the first seven games.”
“You can’t worry about what someone else is doing or who they brought in. We control our own destiny. We have to do our part, we have to keep working and keep battling. Buy into the systems that are in place. If some guys aren’t buying in or working hard, they’re going to be sitting on the bench.” Hood says he’s commitment to seeing the system through, “I’m here for the long-haul. We’re going to get through this, and I hope everybody buys in.”
With a pair of games on the schedule for the weekend the Cold Lake Jr B Ice are hoping to secure four points. Hood believes the team is prepared for tonight’s games versus the Onion Lake Chiefs, “we’re gonna play our game and be ready for what they throw at us and maybe dictate the play. It would be nice to get up more than two goals to roll four lines and take a little bit of a deep breath. Every other game [we’ve played] from the start been either getting blown out or one goal games and getting down to the last seconds for us.”
The Chiefs are lower in the standings than the Ice, Hood says it’s a great opportunity for the team to pick up some points. “We can’t give them that opportunity to catch us, we gotta put some distance between us and them.”
Vermilion will be in Cold Lake for the Saturday night game, “this time it’s in our barn and we know what they’re about. We gotta dictate the play and push the pace. The guys are in shape and skating really well in practice. So as long as we keep that up, we’ll be fine.”
The home crowd has been a huge asset to the team this season, says Hood, “they’re been fantastic. I didn’t know what to expect after last year, but it’s totally different. We have a different mentality, the fans have been great. They’ve seen three great games [this season] and I think the people sitting at home are missing some great games! We’re gonna keep putting on a show, it’ll be nice to give the fans a big win!”
Friday and Saturday games will be held at Imperial Oil Place with a 8:00 pm puck drop.