The Portage Collegiate Saints have fallen to 1-2 so far this season after a tough loss to the Westwood Warriors today. The Saints fell 4-0 on home ice but head coach Jo-Anne Clark-Gillespie says the game was closer than the score indicates.
"4-0 looks like it was one-sided but their goals came one, two, at the beginning of the second period and then not again until the third period. Giving up quick goals like that at the beginning of a period just shows a little bit of that mental focus and not being ready for the puck drop," Clark-Gillespie explains. "We have such a young team, and they're not used to playing in this environment where it's intense right off the bat but they're going to learn."
The head coach notes, despite the loss, she could already see growth from the players through three games this season. While the team is very young, Clark-Gillespie says all the girls are very coachable, which is all she can ask for at this stage.
"I'm noticing on the bench that they're talking about their shift, and that shows me that they're interested. We have a lot of girls that want to know," Clark-Gillespie continues. "It's just about learning the game. You can't teach hockey IQ, so every week, they have homework to watch a game a week. Whether it be Terriers, AAA, or NHL, we ask them to watch their position and learn the game. One girl we had play centre tonight, I said to her, 'You have a four-day weekend. You're going to get mom or dad to get some pucks, and you're going to watch some YouTube videos on how to take faceoffs, and you're going to practice faceoffs.' She said, 'Yes, coach.' I love that attitude."
Clark-Gillespie gives credit to the players that stepped up today and played some new roles.
"I want to shout out Alexis Waldner, who is a D, and I talked to them tonight and said, 'I'm short a forward, who wants to (play forward).' She volunteered, and she did amazing. Brielle Caners she's in Grade 12, and it's her first year playing. We moved her to centre tonight because we love how hard she works and she skates very well. She is always asking questions. I want to recognize those two for sure," says Clark-Gillespie. "Brooke Henderson got the Hardest Working Player from the girls tonight. She's on what we call our ringette line, three ringette players on one line. They're starting to gel really well."
PCI will hit the road for their next two outings and will return to home ice on November 7 as they host Murdoch McKay.