July 17th, 2024

Canes happy with first half, know improvements are needed

By Lethbridge Herald on December 20, 2023.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward Herald FILE photo Lethbridge HurricanesÕ Brayden Edwards attempts to cross the blueline into the offensive zone while Ty Gibson of the Everett Silvertips checks him during Western Hockey League action at the Enmax Centre in this November file photo. Edwards felt the teamÕs play had gotten stronger in the first half of the season.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have completed the first half of the Western Hockey League season and the coaching staff has been happy with areas of the team’s game, while there is still plenty to work on heading into the second half.

“I think we’ve been really happy with our defensive play,” said Matt Anholt, Hurricanes assistant coach.

“ You know, amongst the team leaders I guess across the Western League in regards to goals against, and save percentages, and expected goals and penalty kill, all the kind of defensive metrics that you look at, which is excellent to see.”

The team feels they need to clean up the opportunities given to other teams.

“Well first off, it’s not giving anybody anything for free,” said Anholt.

“Recently, we felt like we’ve been giving teams too many looks that they haven’t had to work for or earn. We’ve been maybe coughing pucks up in the neutral zone a little bit too much or taken bad penalties that have led to teams getting free powerplays. So, I think we just got to clean up some of those areas.”

Anholt said Harry’s (Harrison Meneghin)  been excellent.

“Obviously we’re missing him right now due to a little bit of a nick,” said Anholt.

Anholt has seen defencemen Noah Chadwick take his game to a whole different level.

The top line of Brayden Edwards, Logan Wormald and Miguel Marques have made a big difference with their 91 combined points.

“But realistically it’s a lot of the guys that had really big summers and took a step this year and overcame obstacles in the summer, so they didn’t have to in the winter,” said Anholt.  

Brayden Edwards thought the first half was really good.

“But for majority of the play I think we’ve been strong, really dialed in and a lot of good lessons we’re learning from Bill (Peters),” said Edwards.

Edwards thought the team improved in playing fast and as a team.

“I think all four lines have really been dialing in practice (and) learning a lot of new systems,” said Edwards.

“Yeah, just learning a whole bunch of new things from our coaches,  and a lot of video and I think it’s really translating to the games.”

Forward Miguel Marques had noticed the systems getting stronger in the first half.

“Obviously, a new coach coming in, we didn’t know what to expect, and then obviously he’s been really good,” said Marques.

“He’s so knowledgeable and smart that his systems are unbelievable and then we just got to  put that to a tee and play the way he tells us to and that’s how it’s been going.”

The Hurricanes sit eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 15-15-2-0 record at the half way point of the season.

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