By Shannon Hurst - Smithers Interior News
Published: December 15, 2010 8:00 AM
The Hazelton Wolverines continue to struggle after another pair of losses on the weekend when they fell 10-4 and 7-2 to Prince Rupert.
Despite the scores, head coach Fred Hudson is still confident the team can turn itself around in time for the playoffs.
However, the continued losses and high scores are playing a factor with the team’s confidence and Hudson said they have to change the way they play.
“You need a commitment to defence and if the guys can do that the scores will come down,” he said. “We have to clean up our end and play better defensively. Everybody is worried about scoring all the time but they don’t look around and pick up their man. It was a little better on Sunday but in the first five minutes of Saturday nights game everyone was coming back like they should but they weren’t identifying their check and looking for the puck and Rupert is a really skilled team and if your going to do that, they are going to burn you.”
Yet, overall, Hudson said is content with where the team is at and that they are still motivated to improve.
“Cody played well both games again and there is no lack of effort,” he said. “I am happy how hard they play we just got to keep figuring out the little things. They have good puck movement and we are starting to score some goals.”
In addition to working on different areas and improving the defensive style of play, Hudson said the shortage of experienced players is also plaguing the team.
“Right from the start of the year we needed more veterans,” he said. “The idea of bringing on all these young players was to teach them how to play at this level and carry our full 45 guys and then work them into the line up occasionally. But we have had to go with a lot of these guys on the main roster and if you don’t have many veterans they can’t settle them down or if you’re coming out flat they can’t pick it up so it has been tough but we are getting better. But with that said, we had a good turnout on the bench this weekend and we had Curtis Cardinal and Lou Parent Jr. return to the line up and they have committed to being here for the rest of the year which will help.”
In addition to the continued losses, another contributing factor is the lack of fans in the stands at home games. While bad weather and the approaching holidays are factors, Hudson said he believes the team has to do better before the fans will come back.
Despite the results of the past few weeks both the players and Hudson are not giving up and are committed to keep improving.
“We are going to keep practicing all through Christmas and keep working hard so that when we come back to play in January, hopefully we will be an even better team,” Hudson said.
The Wolverines next game is on Jan 8.