Hibbing Daily Tribune
HIBBING — It’s getting down to crunch time for the Hibbing/Chisholm High School girls hockey team.
The Bluejackets have six games left in the regular season, with four against Section 7A opponents.
If Hibbing/Chisholm wants to make a move up in the seeding procedure, then it starts today when the Bluejackets travel to Cloquet today to take on the Lumberjacks in a 7:30 p.m., contest.
After this game, Hibbing/Chisholm has a game at Proctor/Hermantown, then home contests against Marshall and Moose Lake-Willow River.
After a 9-1 loss to Roseau Saturday, the Bluejackets must refocus their energy to make a run heading playoffs.
“We have to get back to playing our systems the way we can play them,” Hibbing/Chisholm coach Pete Hyduke said. “Saturday’s game was an anomaly. Roseau is a good-skating team. We knew what was coming at us. We started the game well, then they scored three goals in about a minute.
“That would put anybody into a tailspin. We didn’t recover until the end of the first. We know what Cloquet is going to bring at us.”
According to Hyduke, since the two teams have competed against one another, the Lumberjacks will rely on a stingy defense, then take advantage of their scoring opponents.
“They go hard and play physical,” Hyduke said. “They have one top-end line that does most of their scoring, but they don’t worry about scoring a ton of goals. They worry about shutting the other team down.
“They run the same systems that we’ve been trying to get our kids to run here. They have seven seniors who have bought completely into the system their coach (Courtney Olin) has set up for them. When you believe in them, you have success.”
When a team plays a tight-defensive game, the key to penetrating it is getting shots on net.
“You can’t pass up shots on net, and you have to crash the net,” Hyduke said. “They don’t have to be pretty goals. They have to be shots that give you good rebounds. The shots have to be low, so there’s an opportunity for a rebound.
“You also have to be aggressive because they do play a great defensive game.”
In the first meeting between the two teams, Hibbing/Chisholm did hold a 2-1 lead halfway through the second period, but the Lumberjacks scored twice more to win 3-2.
“There isn’t a team in our section that we can’t compete against if we play our systems,” Hyduke said. “Whey you get into the playoffs, it’s not going to be blowout hockey. It’s going to be tight games.
“That’s what you strive for. That’s the type of hockey we usually play against them. We need to play solid, in-your-face hockey in our defensive end and shut down their cycling. You eliminate that by taking out the hands and the space in front of them.”
Offensively, Hibbing/Chisholm needs to transition off of its defensive play.
“We have to do that as fast as we can,” Hyduke said. “We have the players that can get to the net, but we have to finish when we have those opportunities.”