Another week of practice is in the books for the Fort St. John Huskies and they concluded yesterday’s session with a lot of time and energy dedicated to defensive zone play. Play in their own end was a glaring weakness for the Huskies in their exhibition opener on Sunday as they allowed seven goals.
Team general manager Jeremy Clothier preached patience when it came to the defensive game, but also acknowledged that in due time there’s confidence that the players on the roster will be able to pick up the strategies that are being taught upon them.
“We did a lot of defensive zone coverage. They responded well. It’s a learning curve for sure. We’ve got a lot of new guys coming into the system so it’s definitely a lot of stop and go, ‘this is where you need to be, this is where you should be, why are you here, why are you there.’ It’s going to take some time but it’s definitely coming,” he said.
The issue right now lies with players being too focused on following the puck and forgetting about their defensive responsibilities.
“Just being so early in the season there’s a lot of puck focus,” Clothier added. “They’re trying to follow the puck too much instead of picking up the open guy or picking up their man or staying in their lanes. The more we work on it in practice, the more time we spend on it’s just going to get easier and become second nature.”
The Huskies exhibition series with the Vermilion Tigers will begin tomorrow night at the Pomeroy Sport Centre at 8 p.m. That’s followed by a rematch on Sunday with puck drop at 11 a.m.