SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Hawks will face a familiar opponent for the first time this season when they host the Butte Cobras Friday and Saturday.
“We played Butte our first weekend,” Hawks head coach Andy Scheib said. “Obviously they are going to be a different team. We are a different team with a few new guys, they have some new guys, I know they got rid of a few guys. On paper we should be the better team and we should take control of the game, but that is why you play the game, you never know what is going to happen.”
The Hawks dominated the first meeting of the teams winning both games 9-0 and 8-2.
While the first meeting went the Hawks way, the team knows they cannot overlook any team in their division.
“Every night you come out it does not matter who you are playing,” said goalie Zach Hearn. “You need to play the same way with the same 100% effort the entire time because if we do not show up at all, anyone can beat anyone on any night and that is what we are starting to understand by seeing the scores in this league.”
Playing with consistent effort is something the Hawks have struggled with this year and is slowly improving after each week.
“We need to understand that we can dominate every second of the game and if we play to our full potential we can do the things we want to do, play the way we want to play,” Hearn said. “We have not been putting together a 60 minute game so far.”
Sheridan currently has a record of 3-1 on Friday nights and 1-3 on Saturday nights, with its only Saturday victory against the Cobras.
“Friday nights we absolutely dominate, we control the momentum and the pace of the game,” head coach Andy Scheib said. “Saturdays we come out and we are a little lackadaisical. That gets us into trouble a couple of times, we end up having to work from behind, which in this sport you can never do. Every goal is huge so it matters. As far as effort goes, I think we are getting better. We are still a young team and a bunch of new guys that are still trying to learn the junior process.”
Scheib said the Hawks effort needs to continue to improve each day this season, helping with the development of the team.
“It makes my job a lot easier if I have guys that want to show up to the rink to work and compete that want to get better and want to move on to the next level,” Scheib said. “Then we can focus on things besides competing and other little things. We can get more into skill stuff, more of developmental type practices.”
Right now the development of the players is not at the level Scheib wants.
“I think we have two lines that are pretty solid,” Scheib said. “I think forward-wise we could use one or two more guys that could either put the puck in the net or bring up the competitiveness of the team, a third or fourth line grinder, something like that. As far as chemistry goes, we are above where we need to be.”
Hearn attributes the defense’s good performance to developing communication and chemistry between defensemen and goalies.
“Every time you step out onto the ice for a practice or for a game, it is an opportunity to see what their partner is good at, where they are lacking,” Hearn said. “I think our D has been playing great. As a whole, the four Ds and the goalies have been communicating a lot better every day. Guys are figuring out their partners a little more and it is only getting better. From that aspect, the D is playing really solid it is going to continue to happen. I think we have four of the best defensemen in the league. When the D shows up, we are successful.”
During the past few weeks, Hearn and the defensemen have communicated how the defenders should play the puck in different situations, allowing the defensive end of the ice to be on the same page. Scheib expects a lot from his defense this week, having the goal of allowing zero goals in the next two games. Ultimately Scheib wants to earn two more wins this weekend at home.
“Home games are always exciting, everyone is ready to play,” Hearn said. “We have the confidence that we can dominate the two games this weekend and we absolutely should. The biggest goals are playing 60 minutes of hockey, dominating game speed and style. Outworking the other team, giving 100% effort.”
The puck will drop 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.