Back on track
After hitting a bit of a bump in the road, the Bottineau/Rugby hockey team got back on track with a pair of wins over the last week.
Playing a home game in Rugby on Dec. 15, the Braves overcame a slow start to dust Hazen/Beulah 10-4.
The next night, B/R was even more dominant, shutting out Williston 10-0.
“We wanted all of the momentum,” said Cody Longie, who scored two goals and six assists against H/B. “We’ve had a rough time early in the year and we wanted to get back on track. We really needed this.”
The game featured a slow start for the Braves, which trailed 1-0 going into the final few minutes of the first period.
Luke Amsbaugh scored a goal, followed closely by a Harrison Aide goal to give B/R a 2-1 lead entering the first break.
“We started off slow, but started making passes and plays and got some goals,” Longie said.
The goals let everyone wearing Bottineau/Rugby jerseys breath a sigh of relief and gain some momentum for the second period.
“Maybe we on the bench worry about that more than the players do,” Hoff said. “We scored 10 and had a lot of quality opportunities we just don’t finish on. There’s a lot of room for improvement. I thought that last minute of the first period gave us a little momentum in the locker room.”
The Braves’ power play was outstanding throughout the night, scoring on a number of opportunities.
“Our power play is one of the best,” Longie said. “I love winding up for those big slap shots.”
Hoff said getting depth on the power play will be a key going forward.
“That first unit does a great job possessing the puck,” Hoff said. “There’s a lot of weapons out there, from the big shot with Longie to the puck movement with those guys at the edges. Our second unit picked up a goal there, too, which was good for their confidence.”
When it wasn’t the power play, it was scoring on delayed penalties.
“We also scored on a couple of delayed penalties where I thought our guys fought through some things,” Hoff said. “Cody Bedlion fights through a play where he’s getting hooked from behind. We did a good job in the second period of moving it up ice and not letting them get changes or maybe catch them on a change.”
Luke Amsbaugh had a hat trick against H/B and Harrison Aide also tallied two goals.
After building a big lead in the second period, the Braves let H/B back into the game, allowing a goal as time expired in the second period.
“That’s the thing that bothers me as a coach,” Hoff said. “Maybe it’s our lack of depth, we rely on kids to score on the power play and penalty kill. You don’t want to give up a goal in the final minute.”
Against Williston, B/R got off to a 5-0 lead as Amsbaugh continued his stellar play. He added four goals to go with his hat trick the previous nights.
“We were happy to pick up a couple region wins going into the Christmas break,” Hoff said. “I thought we were sharper against Williston. We possessed the puck and moved it very well in Williston. The region wins were the most important part, but if you look at the scoring we had a few guys who had huge weekends. I really think we can get better yet in some of these offensive areas as well. We will see how we progress after the Christmas break.”
The Braves aren’t in action until Jan. 4 when they play Jamestown.
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