Muskie girls give mid-season update

Like a well-delivered vodka martini, the Muskie girls’ hockey team is a balanced blend of new and veteran players that has been shaken (not stirred) to create a team that has been steadily improving since the season began.
The squad remains winless in NorWOSSA play—their latest loss coming here last night when they fell 5-3 to the Dryden Eagles.
Sarah O’Sullivan, Danielle O’Sullivan, and Carly Holt were the Muskie goal scorers.
But the black-and-gold continue to play well in exhibition action. Last week, they returned home from the annual Schwan Cup tournament in Minneapolis with their best showing ever—the consolation crown—after winning two of their three games there.
Playing in the “Yellow” pool at the 72-team tourney, the Muskies opened with a 3-2 victory over St. Bernard’s on goals by Katie McTavish, Cortney Caldwell, and Rebecca Witherspoon.
The black-and-gold then were blanked 5-0 in the ‘A’ side semi-finals by St. Francis, which went on to capture the “Yellow” crown while outscoring their opponents 16-1.
But the Muskies would not be denied in the bronze-medal game, beating the Long Prairie Grey Eagles by a 4-1 margin to wind up third overall in their eight-team pool.
(The goal scorers were not available).
At the halfway point of the season, coming oh-so-close in league play but easily beating U.S. squads in exhibition games, who better to give an update than those directly involved with the team’s performance—the players.
What have been the highs so far in the season?
Deanna Saunders (first-year player)—All of our exhibition games.
Mackenzie Caul (third year)—Us coming together and playing as a team.
Cortney Caldwell (second year)—Team bonding, and every time we came off the ice knowing we played hard.
Ashley Whalen (third year)—Being able to skate hard every time we step on the ice.
Hannah Firth (third year)—Going into overtime against Dryden.
Jessica Barker (first year)—Each game that we won and how well we are getting along.
Carly Holt (second year)—We went in overtime against Dryden and we won all of our exhibition games.
Kim Pacarenuk (fourth year)—Our strongest games. Game one against Dryden. The Falls. Baudette.
Francine McCabe (second year)—Scoring goals, and beating teams we could never beat before.
What were the lows?
Katie McTavish (third year)—We have had some disagreements for certain things that caused a few problems; most worked out in the end.
Sarah O’Sullivan (third year)—Our shooting is horrible, and I think we need to focus more on that in practice. Also we need to think more on the ice because we look like a foosball table out there.
Kelsey McLean (first year)—The losses and the fact that the rookies don’t get played as much (most of the team is made up of rookies).
Courtney Reutzal (first year)—We lost the first time we played Kenora. We need to focus more in practice and we need to improve on our passing.
Miranda Kellar (first year)—Feeling bad when we lost or had a bad game.
Lauren Pierce (first year)—Losing to Dryden in OT, and losing to Kenora.
Saunders—When Kenora kicked our butt three times.
Holt—When we lost to Kenora, but it was so close.
Barker—Not playing to the level of our game, but playing to the level of the other team.
What are your feelings on the first half of the season?
Caldwell—I think we’ve played strong, but then there’s still half-a-season left.
Whalen—I believe we worked hard, played strong, became more of a team, and also started to work together.
Firth—We have a good strong team, and we’re only going to get better.
McLean—Our team has a lot of potential, but it seems that everyone is content with how we are doing. I’d like to do better! I think that we have to respect each other more off the ice, as well.
Reutzal—We were accomplishing our individual goals and we were coming together as a team, and we played a lot better each and every game we played.
Kellar—I think we are doing great. We have a lot of potential.
Pierce—I think we played really well, but still have room for improvement.
Saunders—I think we played pretty good, but I know we can get better and beat Kenora.
Caul—We’re started off a little rocky, but I feel that we can only improve from here on.
What do you, as a player, need to do to help the team win?
McTavish—I want to support my teammates, and to continue motivating them.
Barker—Keep going hard. Be nice and play to the best of my abilities.
Holt—As a player, all I can do is the best player I can, and contribute everything I can to the team.
Pacarenuk—Stay focused, try hard, and stay uninjured.
McCabe—Be in the right place at the right time.
Saunders—I need to be pumped at the beginning of every game, and give 110 percent all through the games.
Pierce—Be a team player, and stay out of the box.
Caldwell—Have a positive attitude towards myself and towards my teammates.
Kellar—Play good all the time, work together with my linemates and work on my skills.
Caul—As a defenseman I need to start making good plays.
McLean—I need to give my all, encourage people instead of putting them down, pass the puck, improve on my skills, and give suggestions.
Reutzal—I need to shoot more at the open corners than at the goalie’s body. I need to play a lot harder and more aggressively.
O’Sullivan—I need to have a positive attitude and when we are down by a few goals, I need to focus and not try to do all the work.
Whalen—Be confident, be prepared to play, get rest, and have fun.
Firth—Step up my intensity. Play as a team, and work together.