By Lethbridge Herald on November 8, 2023.
By Justin Seward
The Lethbridge Hurricanes are just over the quarter-mark of the season and are starting to see small successes throughout the line-up.
“Really happy obviously with our start,” said Ryan Aasman, Hurricanes assistant coach.
“We got off and rolling. We’ve battled through quite a bit of stuff this first half if you think about it, a lot of adversity. I mean we’ve had a banged up roster now for six or seven games and still finding a way to be in the top half of the conference is really exciting. I think it says a lot about the character in our group, but when you have a really solid backend and really good goaltending, it sure helps (you) to find ways to win some games or at least stay in games.”
Aasman says it’s exciting for players to get opportunity, on finding success while dealing with injuries.
“And I think that’s the biggest thing is you come in and you pound the table saying, well it’s next man up, “said Aasman.
“But it’s a good chance for guys that usually play on let say the quote on quote fourth line are now playing in the third line or the second line, guys that may not play powerplay are going to get an opportunity (with) a look there, guys that don’t play penalty kill now get an opportunity and then they have a chance to solidify their roles.”
Aasman says there’s players that aren’t seizing that opportunity too some nights.
“But I think for us with having a younger group and having players that have to play in more ice time roles five-on-five and some special team, they’re learning how to play every night,” said Aasman.
“We’ve had some nights where we’ve been off, we haven’t shown up, and that’s a part of the learning experience for a young group.”
Aasman has liked how the team has been able to score goals in different ways, whether it has been off the rush or off a fore check with good structure.
“You’re starting to see some of those details come through with our game,” said Aasman.
Aasman has seen more players take a leadership role.
“You (can) see some of leaders starting to form, whether that’d be guys that have to be because there’s other people hurt or just our natural leaders that we thought were going to come through,” said Aasman.
Veteran forward Blake Swetlikoff thought the team’s first quarter of the season has had its ups and downs.
“We’ve definitely shown that we can be a powerful team in this conference,” said Swetlikoff.
“But then we’ve also had some down nights where we falter a little bit. So I think we just need to, as we move on through the season, find a little more consistency in our top end game.”
Swetlikoff would like to see the team work on their pace of play and its consistency.
“I think we keep up with that and just overall hardness in our game and that’s something we just keep pushing forward,” he said.