HOULTON, Me (WAGM) - The Houlton-Hodgdon Hockey team made it back to the playoffs last season. The team has lost its first three games of the season, but feel they have plenty of time to bounce back and get into the playoff mix.
"I'm expecting a year a lot like last year. A lot of the games will be very competitive and it's going to be a hard fought league this year. There's a lot of parity in the league. We're off to a rough start, but expecting to get things turned around this year," said head coach Tony Marino.
The Blackhawks first game of the season was a 3-2 overtime loss to Camden Hills. The team learned a lot from that game.
"We need to cut down on the penalties. We spent 2/3 of the game in the penalty box and were a man down. We need to work on that and be disciplined. I think we moved the puck well, it was with that man down that really affected us. I think we're going to do good during the season," senior Abe Lorom said.
Houlton-Hodgdon likes to play hard and fast.
"We try to be aggressive 24/7. Always on the puck and aggressive. Always hitting and just keeping the tempo up," said senior Nick Delucca.
The Blackhawks don't have as many players this year, so everyone is contributing off the bench.
"We always work on conditioning, but one of the things this year that's going to be especially important when we do have a small bench. We have 13 skaters on a regular basis and two goalies, so just a 15 man squad this year, so conditioning is key," Marino said.
"We don't have any players that aren't a part of our system. Everyone plays. We don't have anyone sitting this year because we don't have a ton of players," Lorom added.
Marino says there is downfall from not having a full roster, but there are also some advantages of having the younger players out there.
"They definitely get a lot of experience from the ice time. They do find out what their role is awful quickly. It gives them a lot of opportunities to play special teams like power play and penalty kills," Marino said.