Penalties in the first period of any hockey game make it tough to win.
The Ponoka junior B Stampeders inflicted just that on themselves with 17 penalties against the Red Deer Vipers Oct. 13. Of those penalties 15 were unnecessary, says coach Mark Dobler. “As a group as a whole, we were not disciplined.”
The Vipers are known to take advantage of power plays during a game and they did just that beating out the Stampeders 12-2. “Basically then the penalty parade started.”
With that many penalties, Dobler says players lose their focus on the game, and rather than working as a team, some individuals choose a different route.
“The top players that we have are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” he stated.
He is most proud of the first eight minutes of the game; the Stamps executed plays they have practiced and it worked enough to give the team a 1-0 lead in the first period. But penalty trouble cost them four goals. Dobler compared this game to a recent Medicine Hat game where the Stampeders lost 3-2. Despite losing, the team worked hard and had pride in their effort. The game against the Vipers was a different story.
“Red Deer did not beat us. We beat ourselves. That is the sad part…That’s what hurts the most,” explained Dobler.
He is taking a disciplined stance with players and if they take unnecessary penalties, he intends to bench them for the rest of the period. Dobler has some players who were intended to be first-string players but have not been performing well.
“To me we’re doing a lot of undisciplined things after the whistle,” he said.
He plans to have most of the roster ready for the season at the end of their fifth game Oct. 23 at 7:45 p.m. The Stamps play Stettler and he wants his goalies, defensemen and forwards set. For Dobler the most important thing is “guys that want to buy-in and play.”
The goal should be to make the team better rather than focusing on individual ideals.
“Those are things that are fully in your (players’) control, 100 per cent,” said Dobler.
Once he has a team put together, the goal is to start winning games to build players’ confidence. “Once you win the first one then you start to learn the little things you have to do to win the next one.”