Team's in hands of goaltending team
Chris Jaster, The Leader-Post
Published: Saturday, October 04, 2008
The Regina Rebels expect to be in a lot of tight games this season. The difference between wins and losses may fall on three new members of the team.
The Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League club is relying on rookie goaltenders Krista Funke and Samantha Langford to backstop the team to victories.
Rebels head coach Doug Folk plans on splitting the goalies' workload 60-40, but wouldn't specify which netminder will get how much ice time. He is, however, happy with the girls' performances in exhibition play.
"We were pleased with the two goaltenders we have coming out with us this year," he said. "They're rookies but from what we've seen in the exhibition season, they're both going to put on a real good show for us this year."
Doug O'Brien is the third new member of the team that will determine how successful the Rebels are. He joined the organization as the goaltending coach.
Last season, Folk and his assistant coaches -- Todd Dixon and Laurie Montgomery -- coached the goalies. They have the "technical textbook knowledge" of goaltending, but they knew there was room to improve on coaching the goalies.
"He's able to pick up on deficiencies goaltenders have and not only correct them, but emphasize the correction," Folk said of O'Brien. "So when a goaltender gets tired or when they get a little sloppy, he's there to correct them before it becomes a bad habit.
"He has that expertise and we're really excited to be able to provide that to our goaltenders this year."
Folk believes there will be a lot of parity in the SFMAAAHL and he expects many tight games. The Rebels went 2-2 in exhibition play since the final roster was named and all four games were decided by a single goal.
Folk believes he has implemented a program that will see his team prevail in most of the tight contests.
"We try to keep practices up-tempo with lots of puck movement and hard work," he said. "We always emphasize the tempo that's required and good habits at practice that transfers into games.
"We have a fairly extensive off-ice program as well. We provide nutrition sessions, mental skills training sessions and off-ice workouts. We do some skating stuff with power skaters throughout the course of the year."
This has Folk looking to improve on his team's 9-18-0-1 record from last season. He's targeting a top-four finish this season, which he knows will be tough to do.
"Obviously, at the start of the year we're striving for the championship,'' he said, "but realistically we see ourselves in the top four.
"From how close the league is and the parity, it's going to be a challenge each night out for us. It's good for our players to improve and it's good for our league in general."
The Rebels season starts today when they play host to the Saskatoon Stars. The puck drops at 5 p.m., at the Al Ritchie Memorial Centre.
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2008-09 Regina Rebels
Goaltenders: Krista Funke, Samantha Langford.
Forwards: Paige Anakaer, Kelsa Duffy, Andrea Ehrmantraut, Kendra Finch, Jenny MacKnight, Patricia McGauley, Nicole Mitchell, Brooklyn Moskowy, Brooke Wollmann, Richelle Zimmer.
Defence: Molly Findlay, Melissa Folk, Tayler Kosloski, Brittany MacDougall, Taera McGauley, Mariah Wilder.
Head Coach: Doug Folk.
Assistant Coaches: Todd Dixon, Laurie Montgomery, Bob Brennan, Doug O'Brien, Julie Folk.
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008