Bears hope hard hits yield beginner's luck

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2009

After witnessing a true speed disadvantage against the MAC's "big three" of Lathrop, North Pole and West Valley this season, Crimson Bears coach Dave McKenna is hoping to see some more physicality out of his club in this weekend's playoffs.

"In past games against Lathrop we never really checked properly," McKenna said. "We brought the bodies, but we kind of pulled up and let guys get away."

The JDHS coach admits his kids likely won't be used to the increased intensity of today's game, but hopes that this week's focus on finishing checks will give them a leg up when the ice starts flying. The team has done so much work on conditioning this season that McKenna felt they weren't ready for the aggressive forechecking from teams like West Valley. As a result, this week's practices worked towards keeping his team's spirits up and heads on a swivel.

"Especially on our last road trip, we just weren't used to the pace," McKenna said. "It takes time to hammer out the technique, but there's one way to slow those guys down."

Proper physical defense is a part of playing smarter, not playing dirtier, according to McKenna. Hopefully, the Crimson Bears can find their rhythm along with boards tonight.

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