Hockey: Conditioning key to successful Storm season
After only tallying four wins last year, the North Shore Storm girls are looking for a fresh start with a whole new coaching staff.
New head coach Neva Maxwell said conditioning is the key to a successful season for the team.
"The girls have been doing a lot of conditioning over the last week, so I hope we have enough legs going into the third period early on in the season," Maxwell said. "I think if we take advantage of being in shape and being on our 'A' game early on we'll do well."
Over the 2016-17 season, the Storm had just as many power plays as it penalties. Maxwell said conditioning should keep the penalties down.
"I think when people get tired, they start getting sloppy," she said. "So being in shape and being able to skate with your competitors, and not having to pull a penalty to do it, is one of the key ways to stop yourself from being tempted to pull a penalty."
When the Storm managed to win a game last season, the goals against were kept to four or less. The average goals against per game last year was 5.26. To keep that number down, the Storm needs to work on its defensive zone coverage, Maxwell said.
"We have been working on defensive zone coverage and breakouts every single practice. The girls are probably going to get bored with it soon, but part of winning a game is having really solid defensive coverage," she said. "Also, the other part of that is making sure we have players in the positions where they are using their best talents and energy."
Maureen Dwyer will get the start in net this season. With the help of assistant coach Jessup Pelkey, Dwyer should gain more skills
"(Dwyer) is coming back really solid this year," Maxwell said. "Our assistant coach, Jessup, is a goalie himself. So our goalies basically have a personal goalie coach every practice."
The Storms' first game of the season is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, against Moose Lake at Lake County Arena in Two Harbors.
"The girls are coming to have fun and work hard, so I think that going into the season here we are coming in with fresh energy," Maxwell said. "We are moving people around, trying different positions and different lines. It's a season about new beginnings for us."