For Ryan Frain, this fall’s training camp has churned out results.
The second-year coach said he believes his camp itinerary shows a good idea for what his coaching staff wants to draw up in games this season.
“I think the conditioning is the best we can get for right now,” Frain said. “We had things we wanted to work on going into this training camp and I think we made huge strides in teaching personal defensive coverages and reinforcing things on the forecheck in the offensive zone.”
The team returns from its 2 1/2-day trip in Hershey that made up the “Temple Mini Showcase,” as Frain dubbed it. The trip’s schedule contained five hours of practices through two days ahead of the team’s season-opener this weekend.
“It’s the hardest thing we do all year for sure,” senior defenseman Chris Carnivale said. “It’s a lot of skating and conditioning, but overall it’s a lot of fun getting to really know the guys.”
Last year was the first year the team had the idea for the training camp. The motivation was a chance for the team to get away and partake in team-bonding exercises.
This year besides the team practices the team also took a trip to “Hersheypark” and the new guys got a chance to know the returners. Comradery was already brewing amongst the team prior to this trip, as a few of the players met up to attend Temple football’s home opener against Navy.
Prior years were basic practices where the team just basically practiced and then headed home.
Frain refuses to slight that methodology, but believes this is the better route for the team to take both now and in the future.
The first post-training camp practice began with some of the defense stationed at center ice. Offensive players would begin at the one end of the ice and take on a defenseman one-on-one.
An early lapse allowed one of the skill players to get a step on his defenseman and score on goalie Scott Salamon. The defense would lock down from there as they consistently turned back its attackers.
“Our defensive group is a going to be a deep group talent-wise,” Frain said. “A lot of our defensemen have a few years of experience here and we have some new guys coming in that are going to make an impact.”
The defense dished out spine-tingling hits along the boards as multiple players got knocked off the puck. One of the bigger hits was handed out by defenseman Matt Krulikowski, who laid a paramount hit on fellow defenseman Chris Parrezzi.
Frain credits his assistant coach Andrew Trainor with the defense beaming this preseason.
“[Trainor] has done a great job of pulling these guys aside during drills to try to make these guys better individually and as a group,” Frain said.
Frain does not view the stronger defensive unit as a slight against his offense, but believes it can only make his scorers better.
A return to scrimmages
Last week’s practices lacked scrimmages, but the team implemented a pair of scrimmages in the finale of their excursion. Sunday’s scrimmages were controlled as Frain and Trainor skated in the middle of the mayhem and stopped play when they noticed the squad out of position.
Negatives were not the only thing Frain and Trainor were looking for as they let play carry on if things were going well. Once the players were on the bench for a breather, the two coaches let their team know they were playing well.
“I learned a lot last year,” Frain said. “I was always focusing on the negatives because I wanted the team to be perfect about how we went about things. I kind of neglected to point out the positives as well.”
Who looked good?
Redshirt forward John Kumpf teamed with defenseman Alex Wizna in two-on-ones later as they scored a change-of-direction goal.
Kumpf re-emerged later in practice when he swung into the zone behind goalie Eric Semborski and scored a nice wrap around goal in scrimmages.
The team will debut its season Friday night against the University of Maryland.
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @StephenGodwinJr.