The tryout on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Northeast Skate Zone rarely saw a break in action as the Owls were up and down the ice all night.
“It was nonstop,” senior goaltender Chris Mullen said. “But I think that’s all part of it. With 20 minute periods you’ve got to be able to play a full 60 minutes if you want to win. And previous years we’ve got burned because we didn’t have legs at the end of the game, and that’s one thing we’re certainly trying to change.”
Those end-of-game struggles are part of the reason why first-year coach Ryan Frain wants his team to be a hard-hitting, up-tempo team this year. Frain made it clear he will not let poor stamina be the reason for losses.
“That’s absolutely what we’re trying to put in place here, up-tempo and hard work,” Frain said. “We are going to be fast, hard-hitting, hardworking, putting pucks on net and crashing as well, so that’s going to be our motto this year. From this hard work, it’s going to lead to ‘W’s’ on the scoreboard.”
Frain’s new focus on speed and hard work is something the team believes will be an effective strategy to help them pick up more wins throughout the course of their tough schedule.
“It’s definitely [an effective strategy],” senior forward Joey Pisko said. “Especially in the third periods this year, because we do have a real tough schedule and a lot of games are going to come right down to the wire. That extra step and that extra gas in the tank is something that we’re going to need. So [Frain] has the right idea, getting us in shape early and getting us ready for the schedule.”
Overall, Frain is pleased with the way his team looks in these early stages.
“The squad looks pretty solid,” Frain said. “Obviously some looked a little better and were on the ice a little more than others. But that’s why we have five tryouts. It allows us to get the kinks out, get their hands back and skate a little bit, and we need to get them in the best condition possible.”
Pisko was also pleased with the way the team is progressing.
“Everybody looked a little better,” Pisko said. “I think the guys who have a shot at the team are starting to show themselves now and playing the way they should be, and I was definitely happy to see that.”
Frain is expected to have his final roster determined by Sept. 5 or 6, giving him and his team a little more than two weeks to gel before the puck drops on Saturday, Sept. 21, when the Owls take on the University of Maryland Terrapins.
Samuel Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.