As good as the Muskies were in the first half of the season, compiling a league-leading 8-1 record along the way, head coach Glen Edwards is hoping his team continues to make great strides when they open the second half Friday night in Kenora.
The Muskies looked impressive throughout much of the first half especially on offence, where they scored a league-high 67 goals--led by top scorer Brad Gushulak and rookie linemates Adam McTavish and Ross Anderson.
The trio has become the team’s number-one scoring line, and leaves Edwards optimistic the Muskies will continue their torrid offensive pace in the second half.
“I was very happy with the way we played in the first half, only losing one game, and now the second half will be a challenge to see if we can finish in first place,” said Edwards, whose team will face the 8-0 Dryden Eagles in a big showdown up there next Tuesday.
The Muskies don’t see action on home ice until Jan. 15-16 when they entertain the Red Lake Rams for a weekend series.
Edwards would like to see the Gushulak line continue its scoring prowess, and hinted he expects other players to find their touch around the net as the Muskies strive towards the playoffs--and possibly the all-Ontario championships in Dryden in March.
“Absolutely! We have some kids like David Lloyd, McTavish, and Jordan Roy who have the potential to start scoring more, which will help us,” Edwards said.
Still, while the Muskies have dominated most other NorWOSSA opponents so far this season, blowing out a few by large margins along the way, they have been plagued by slow starts out of the gate and trailing early.
Edwards hopes that trend stops in the near future.
“We didn’t play well at the start when we played up in Kenora the first time, and anytime you don’t play well in Kenora, you’re going to get beat so we want to get a good start while not looking ahead to Dryden,” he noted Monday morning.
“In any game, you want to get a good start, and it’s a mystery to any coach why that happens and why it doesn’t happen,” he added. “We’re going to work on getting a better [attitude] in the dressing room and get better mentally prepared.”
While the Muskies have looked more than prepared on offence, the defence has struggled at times in their own zone--especially evident in their overtime loss here against Dryden.
“We’ve had our problems there, most of it caused by injuries, so we’re hoping to get some stability back there,” Edwards said.
“With guys coming back, we have the opportunity to run six defencemen and we’ll continue to work on our own zone,” he added. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”