There was a lot to do Tuesday morning.
Following a 9-3 loss to Clearwater on March 2, assistant coach Scott Cross says the message to the 100 Mile House Milers ahead of their next practice was “come ready to work.”
The local midget rep hockey club, sponsored by Mayvin Plumbing & Heating, is getting set to host the 2014 Midget Tier 3 BC Hockey Championships, March 16-21.
So far this season, including tournaments and exhibition games – like the recent one against Clearwater at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre – Cross count three wins for them.
“It’s been a work in progress,” he says of developing the team.
“It has been for a couple years. It’s going to continue to be for a few more years. With our rep program, it’s up and down, up and down.”
Many of the players had little rep hockey experience before the season started in October, Cross explains. They’ve struggled getting wins, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made any progress.
He mentions two playoff games against Prince George a couple of weeks ago.
The Milers lost both – 6-2 and 4-2 on Feb. 14-15 – but it was the best they’ve looked on the ice all season, Cross says.
“They did everything right, everything we asked of them.”
However, that wasn’t the team that showed up against Clearwater, says assistant captain Lynden Jeffrey, following the loss.
“We’re normally competing better than that, for sure.”
Clearwater went up 5-0 before Cassidy Mellott fired a wrist shot from the left wing over the shoulder of the Clearwater goalie and put 100 Mile House on the board. Ryan Cross assisted on the play.
In the third, for 100 Mile House’s second goal, Emmett Collens, standing in front of the net, slapped one home, with an assist by Adriana Johnson.
With just under two seconds remaining, Mellott notched her second, and Johnson picked up another assist.
Captain Evan Yano talks about how the team needs to buy into the game plan the coaches are trying to have in place to match up with teams at the BC Hockey Championships.
“That’s really what’s going to win us games – the systems,” he says.
“I’m super excited about provincials. Every single game we’ve played, basically, was leading up to provincials. You can really feel it. We’ve been improving so much for this.”
Jeffrey echoes Yano’s point about sticking to the game plan if they want to compete.
“These teams coming up are definitely going to be faster and better. That’s where we really have to work our systems to play well.”
Cross says it’s easy to focus on a team’s win-loss record and miss the big picture about player development.
“The kids don’t always see it. The coaches see the progress. That’s a win in our book, to see where they’ve come from since the beginning of the year.”
So, the team has been building. Not only for the upcoming provincial tournament, but for next year, too.