Generals hoping practice makes perfect for power play

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Ray Wareham has talked about the importance of special teams all season.

Moose Jaw Generals goalie Grant Naherniak makes a kick save during Thursday's scrimmage at Mosaic Place.

The Moose Jaw Generals head coach knows they're going to be even more important for his team during the Telus Cup when the midget AAA national hockey championship begins on April 21.

Thursday, the Generals used their final on-ice scrimmage to work on special teams and empty net situations as they continue to prepare to host the tournament.

"I love frustrating myself, so I thought we'd do that," said Wareham of the extended special teams scrimmage. "Actually I thought we did some good things. (Team) White looked good and (Team) Red did some good things, but if (goalie Grant) Naherniak plays like he did tonight during that week we'll have a shot to win."

The Generals penalty kill worked on some specific things that they feel they might see from the Halifax Macs and Okanagan Rockets in their first two games. He expects that by and large they will have to make in-game adjustments to their penalty kill, but felt it was a good chance to try some wrinkles.

The emphasis was still on their power play.

"Our power play has really struggled, so we were more working on what we're doing," said Wareham. "Our guys have to realize that we have to shoot pucks. We get puck possession all of the time, but we don't take a lot of shots.

"You're on a power play for a reason, you don't want to try to beat guys one-on-one. We have a real bad tendency of trying to do that all the time. You end up turning the puck over. The puck will move faster than any penalty kill. If we move pucks and get pucks to the net we'll have success."

The Generals were 2-for-15 on the power play (13.3 per cent) in their four game opening round playoff loss to the Regina Pat Canadians.

"I really think it hurt us in the playoffs, but we didn't have (Shane) Collins either," said Wareham. "Not to take anything away our other guys back (on defence), but after Collins and (Dawson) Davidson, there's not a lot of offence back there. Losing him really hurt us."

Despite the time they put into it Wareham doesn't want his players too tight or over-thinking what they're doing. He is hoping to get the message across that the power play is important without harping on it constantly.

"We don't want to put too much stock in it because we don't want to get the guys frustrated either," said Wareham. "They have realize that if you can get one or two — depending on how the game is being called — that can go a long to getting you to the playoff round on Saturday."

Wareham also made use of some of their guest players as the Generals special teams got to work against junior players Rhett Gardner, Ben Duperreault and Dylan McIntosh.

"We moved them up to put a little bit more pressure on our penalty kill," said Wareham.

The Generals held six scrimmages over the past three weeks to try to up the tempo during their six-week break between games. The play has slipped and Wareham knows his players are itching for real action.

"They're getting sick of it. They're sick of practicing. They're doing their best, to be fair to them. I can't harp on them too much because it's getting old," said Wareham.

The Generals are getting away from the ice for the weekend. They will practice Friday before doing some team building. They will return to practice Tuesday in Caronport as Mosaic Place prepares to host Avenged Sevenfold and then is prepared for the Telus Cup tournament.

Organizations: Telus

Geographic location: Caronport

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  • Whl Observer
    April 11, 2014 - 12:59

    The Generals PP during the regular season was 53 for 254 chances or about 20% (from SMAAAHL website). Against Regina in the playoffs the Generals were 2 for 15 or about 13% but if they had scored on 1 more PP chance they would have been 3 for 15 or 20% which matches their regular season PP%. Regina's PP % was 20% (3-15) during series. The Generals D were held pointless in series except Verall who had 1 PP G and 1A. Generals out shot Regina 114 to 93 during 4 games but were outscored 10 - 7. In fact, the playoff PP% for the Argos was 12% throughout playoffs and 22% for NB throughout playoffs. No team had a PP% of greater than 25% in playoffs. Collins and Davidson played at least 60-80% of the minutes of each PP opportunity throughout the regular season year. Of the 254 opportunities, they combined for 3G and 25A on the PP. Davidson was the highest point D man on PP with 17 pts. The other 4 D men (mainly Felner and Verall, less to Mohr and Sargent) got the rest of the time and usually were out with the "2nd" PP forward unit not the "1st". The remaining 4 D men accounted for 12 A on the PP throughout the year which was 43% of Collins and Davidsons point totals for the year, yet, the other 4 D men only got 20-40% of the PP time and played with the "2nd" unit PP forwards when they did get their chance. The numbers seem to indicate that for their limited PP ice-time and their less optimized situation being out with "2nd"unit PP forwards the other 4 D men on the PP (Felner, Verall. Mohr, Sargent) probably were just as offensively productive. Therefore the PP (or absence of Collins) was probably not the difference in the Generals vs Regina series (Davidson the top PP point getter for D was still playing). Nor does the PP appear to have been the difference in any other series as the team that won the provincials only had a PP efficiency of 12-13% throughout the playoffs. Goaltending, defensive zone play and the ability to make in game system adjustments, will be the critical elements in the Telus Cup as it is in any playoff series. Good luck to the Generals in the Telus!