The Wheatland Kings losing streak extended to four games after a 4-2 loss to the Coaldale Copperheads Oct. 29 at the Strathmore Family Centre.
According to head coach Doug Raycroft, the team needs to put in a solid team effort to be successful.
“We just did not start the way we wanted to, and we were short some players too … I really felt like the second half of the second period and most of the third, our effort was much better, but … if you do not play 60 minutes, you are giving up a lot of chances,” he said. “We (were outshot 38-20) tonight. Whenever you have those kinds of stats coming against you, you know you have not played very well.”
Similar to some of the sentiments from last season, Raycroft said he wants to see the most effort possible from his team for the whole 60 minutes of game time.
The other problem currently faced by the Kings is being down players due to suspension or injury. Sunday’s game saw only 10 forwards and five defensemen rotating on and off the ice.
“Some of the guys, their confidence is pretty low, so there were a lot of scoring opportunities that guys just lost the puck when they usually would not,” said Raycroft. “The pass is right on the stick and they got a chance to shoot and they lose the puck. That was happening quite a bit. It is just, to me, a lack of confidence.”
He explained whenever a team is going through a tough time or a losing streak, the trick is to rely on hard work and giving that little bit extra until the team works itself out of the streak.
The Kings will be kicking off November on the road against Okotoks on Nov. 3, before returning home the following day (8 p.m.) to host Medicine Hat.
According to Raycroft, the team needs to be at its best against the Top 2 teams in the South Division.
“I do not feel we have played our kind of hockey the last two weekends, and that kind of hockey is where we move the puck well and we play fast … I do not think we played that way at all in the last couple weekends,” he said. “It is a long year, there are going to be ups and downs in any season, we are not panicking. Last year, this group lost 10 in a row … in the grand scheme of things, it’s been a couple bad weekends for sure, but there is no reason to hit the panic button yet.”
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times