Edwards likes schedule at OFSAA

While many people–especially Muskie fans–see having three of the team’s four games at 8 a.m. as a negative, head coach Glen Edwards has a much different outlook on their schedule.
In fact, he likes it.
“From our point of view, we’re very happy with it,” he noted yesterday morning before the team boarded the bus for Dryden. “It gives us a break between games from 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. the first day and then we don’t play until 5 p.m. [Thursday].
“It gives us a good break between games,” he enthused.
Edwards also stressed the schedule allows the 10th-ranked Muskies to get into a “routine” of getting up at 6 a.m. and heading to the rink each day.
Still, he did admit the schedule was less than ideal for their fans.
“The schedule is not too good for the fans but I think despite the schedule we’re still going to have lots of fans,” he noted. “And even if we play at 8 a.m. or [5 p.m.], we’re still going to have more fans than everyone except Dryden.”
For the Muskies, though, their biggest focus will be the task at hand–finishing first or second in Pool ‘B’ (which includes the second-seeded Ridley Tigers of St. Catharines) to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The black-and-gold have had a strong two weeks of practice since they clinched NorWOSSA in the third and deciding game here March 9 against the Dryden Eagles (who also advanced to the all-Ontarios as the host team).
Edwards said special teams once again will play a key factor, especially with games shortened to three 15-minute periods at OFSAA. And he feels the shorter periods will work in the Muskies’ favour.
“We don’t have a lot of depth like in other years where we had the depth and other teams didn’t,” noted Edwards, who’s been part of the black-and-gold coaching staff since 1980.
The Muskies have spent a great deal of time in practice working on moving the puck with the man advantage. And even though Edwards admitted it has struggled at times, he feels it should be ready when it counts.
The black-and-gold have the luxury of sending out two formidable power-play units for the full two minutes. One will consist of Steve Keesic, Jesse Rodrigues, and David Lloyd while the second will feature Ross Anderson, Adam McTavish, and Brad Gushulak (NorWOSSA’s leading scorer this season and still playing with a cast on his right wrist).
Edwards said the two units differ on how they move the puck around in the offensive zone but added both are effective. Keesic tries to set up the play from behind the net, a la Wayne Gretzky, using the size of Rodrigues’ 242-pound frame in front of the net.
Anderson’s line, on the other hand, is a “bit more creative” with the puck and tries to use its speed to create chances in close.
On the point, Chuck Arpin and Jon Lloyd will be paired up, with Jon Rogoza teamed up with Chris Kellar.
When short-handed, the Muskies will use veterans Jordan Roy and Ryan Armstrong to help kill most of the penalties.
Edwards said their penalty killing has looked good in practice, much like it did for the much of the season, and could be a major factor to the Muskies’ success at OFSAA.