2014 Midget-AAA Western Regional Championships
The 2014 Saskatchewan Midget-AAA Hockey League champion Notre Dame Argos will head into Western Regionals on Thursday with a fresh perspective.
After downing the Battlefords Stars three games to one in the Provincial Championship final, Argos coach Del Pedrick said they’ll be looking ahead to the future rather than dwelling on past achievements.
“You have to leave the league play behind you,” Pedrick said of heading into the tournament. “It’s a short term event, you can’t rest on what you accomplished in the league, it’s going to be a different environment.”
The Argos kick off regionals with the tournament’s opening tilt against the Manitoba Midget-AAA Hockey League champion Winnipeg Wild on Thursday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Like the other three coaches in the round-robin tournament, Pedrick has done his homework on the somewhat unfamiliar Wild and the Thunder Bay Kings of the Northern Lakes Hockey League.
Familiarizing themselves with the tournament’s field as best they can, Pedrick said the Argos focus should be on themselves, not the other three clubs.
“You have to focus on your strengths and your identity as a team,” Pedrick explained. “A common mistake in coaching is trying too coach to much towards the opposition instead of making sure we do things we are capable of doing and sticking to our plan.”
On the Mintos, Wild and Kings radars will be Argos forward Dillon Dube who after finishing the regular season with 63 points in 44 games, went onto tally 13 points in the playoffs en route to the league title.
Unlike the other teams participating in the tournament, the Argos have faced the Mintos four times during league play, taking the season series three games to one.
In terms of the Mintos, Pedrick knows exactly what he’s up against.
“You have to play disciplined against the Mintos,” he said. “They don’t take a lot of penalties. They are very well coached and play strong defensively.”
En route to their first SMAAAHL title, Pedrick said the Argos learned a lot about themselves throughout the playoffs, serving only to improve their play heading into regionals.
“We had a tough go with a five-game series against Regina and then four against Battleford,” he said of his team’s playoff run. “Those series could have gone either way so we learned how to handle adversity. Give the kids credit, they stepped up at the right time.”
The Argos will face off against the Wild on Thursday to kick off the tournament before taking on the Kings on Friday and the Mintos on Saturday.