Muskie girls off to solid start

More fans, more goals, more spirit, and, of course, more wins. So what happened to the Muskie girls’ hockey team to put them atop the NorWOSSA standings for the first time ever?
“The girls are more comfortable and they have more experience,” noted head coach Lynn Kellar. “They know what to expect and they came back this [season] wanting to do better.”
Obviously, skill and experience have something to do with the Muskies’ success so far in the 2005-06 campaign. But Kellar said it has more to do with their attitude towards the game.
“They are willing to work hard, but more importantly they are willing to learn,” he remarked. “They are carrying stuff they learn in practice into the games.”
And Kellar said a big part of that is learning how to gel as a team—on and off the ice. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem for these hard-working Muskies, who hang out off the ice almost as much as they do on it.
Still, that doesn’t mean there are a few things they still need to work on to keep up their winning ways.
“We’re spending more time on position play, offensive patience, and shooting more,” noted Kellar. “The girls need to take their time and stop rushing the plays.”
Drills they have been practising, such as puck movement, generating attacks, and forcing plays, certainly are paying off.
“I’m seeing success because they are working together as a team and starting to accomplish goals,” said Kellar.
Often when the girls get close to the net or are given the opportunity to shoot, they freeze up and get rid of the puck. And that’s an area they will have to gain confidence in, especially if they want to beat teams like Kenora and Dryden.
“We still have a lot of work to do [but] we’re still catching up to the [Dryden and Kenora] programs,” said Kellar. “But by setting short- and long-term goals, I feel we have as good a chance as any to make it [to the NorWOSSA final].”
At the rate the team is now going, that goal should be in reach.
“Our win [on Nov. 22] set the tone for the rest of the year and if we continue to work hard, we’ll make things happen,” remarked Kellar.
Kellar also lauded the work of assistant coaches Chris Kellar and Chris Hill.
“They’re both young and enthusiastic,” he said. “They can relate to the kids and the kids can relate to them.”
It also helps that all three coaches are on the same page—and believe in similar coaching styles. Like using similar ways to motivate the girls to continue to work hard and reach the goals they have set for themselves.
“If they play good hockey, people will come to watch,” Kellar reasoned.
A solid fan base is something that never has been a problem for the Muskie boys’ hockey team for obvious reasons—namely their prior success, including three provincial gold medals over the years.
However, the girls’ team has seen that hard work really does pay off—and will continue to sweat to build up their very own fan base.
“The best thing that can happen for us is to have a competitive league,” stressed Kellar. “People want to watch good hockey.”

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