Major Midgets coaching staff confident in their players
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Mark Vokey takes a pass during the Weeks Major Midgets practice Thursday night at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The team’s focus this week was their in-zone coverage and transition play.
NEW GLASGOW – It’s not the start the coaching staff wanted with regards to their record, but there’s no reason to be concerned about the Weeks Major Midgets according to head coach Dave MacIntyre.
His club dropped both games over the weekend, 4-0 to Newbridge and 6-3 to Halifax, to open the regular season. MacIntyre said they could easily look at the score and dwell on the negatives, but he felt there were a number of positives.
“I did see a lot of good things,” he said. “It’s easy to dwell on the negatives, but I felt we did a lot of things right. As a team we aren’t coming into the season like last year with 15 rookies, so there may have been a little over-confidence, which may come with that age. The thought of us being able to just show up and win seems to be there, but we aren’t in that position.
“We need to show up every night and work hard to win because we can’t just show up and win by three or four goals.”
Over their opening games the team had only three goals. MacIntyre said the coaching staff wants to see more from their returning players, but they’re happy overall with what the new players have shown thus far.
“Our new guys have stepped in and are doing exactly what we want, doing all the little things right like going to the net,” he said. “They’re doing what we need to do to be successful. We really are looking to the returning guys to lead and need them to step into those leadership roles.”
Although it’s no excuse according to MacIntyre, as every team suffers from injuries, the Weeks Major Midgets have had their fair share of injuries to key players. Goalie Luke Melanson and forward Cody Johnston were in the lineup over the weekend, but recently returned from injuries. Lane Cormier, who finished second on the team in scoring last year, is still out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.
“It definitely does affect us, but every team has them,” said MacIntyre. “Guys need to learn how to play within themselves and within the injury. If you have a sore shoulder for instance you aren’t going to try to crush someone into the boards over and over. Guys know how much they can push themselves and need to be mindful of it.
“We came into the season with some injuries, but those are things you work through and overcome.”
MacIntyre said that although Melanson came back from an injury not long ago that he knows he can be better. The Weeks squad outshot Newbridge 38-18 last Saturday, with Melanson allowing four goals.
“Luke will be fine as the season continues,” he said. “He knows realistically that we outshot them 38-18 and realizes he should’ve had two or three of those, but even if he stops all but one we still need to score to win and we didn’t do that.”
This week the focus at practice has been on in-zone coverage and transition play. MacIntyre said it’s been as simple as making and receiving a pass at full speed.
“We’ve been breaking the game down into those little aspects because that is what will make us a better team,” he said. “Last weekend we had guys getting the puck on their tape when they were going full speed, but they bobbled it and the puck was right back in our end. When you go from a potential breakaway to being back in your own end it makes a big difference.”
This weekend the Weeks Major Midgets host the South Shore Mustangs for a pair of games at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Saturday night they play at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. MacIntyre said they’re hoping for a better result this weekend and the coaching staff is confident with the players they have that they can be successful.
“We, as a coaching staff and the Weeks Organization, feel we have a winning team in locker room,” he said. “But at the end of the day the crest on front is more important than the name on back. We need everyone to work as a unit and not individually.
“If we focus on working hard as a team we’ll be fine.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris