Hockey: Century working through the growing pains of a young team

Local Sports

The Century Patriots know the growing pains have been here this winter on the ice, but after a couple of close losses in overtime, things could be turning the corner for the defending WDA Champs.

Head Coach Troy Olson understood that his young squad would be a work in progress, bringing in 15 new players to the roster.

“Just getting to know the guys,” says head coach Troy Olson. “What do they do well? What do they need to work on? Especially early in the year, we try to go some even lines and get some good battle level and some competition in practice. We want to be careful with the new guys. We don’t want to bring them along too fast and lose some confidence.”

With young players come a lack of size, Century knows winning the puck battles leads to wins on their record.

“We’re fairly quick and hopefully we can use that to our advantage,” says Olson. “We did graduate a lot of sizes. And so it seems like most of our taller guys are coming from our underclassmen but you got that to look forward to when they get to be grade 11 and 12.”

“It’s going to be a new game, team game,” says senior Alec Fosland. “I don’t think we necessarily have the guys that take it up the ice themselves this year. With the lack of physicality, we’re just going to have to step up. Even though we’re not big, we’re going to have to play the body and wear our opponents down.”

One group that doesn’t lack experience is the goaltenders, three seniors that have supported each other through their time in the program.

“Say I don’t get the call to play, I’m supporting that guy because it’s a team effort,” says Casey Odegaard “I want him to play well for the team. It’s not an individual thing. We work hard, we challenge each other. We build off each other’s games so one person plays well, you try and play better than that guy and improve your own game.”

The Patriots know the wins are coming, with the WDA becoming closer than ever in terms of talent.

“The compete level, you bring that with you throughout the season,” says Olson. “And you know you have to have it in the tournaments. So it’s kind of nice to be able to compete every night in the league.”

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