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Raiders looking for consistency as post-season nears
When the Roseville Area High School girls hockey team started the 2013-14 season with a seven-game winning streak, it appeared the Raiders were ready for life without Kate Flug. Roseville is 6-8 since then and is using the final few weeks of the season getting ready for the post-season.
Consistency is the main thing the Roseville coaching staff is looking for between now and the playoffs.
“I guess it’s finding consistency,” assistant coach Craig Rosenthal said following the Raiders’ game against East Ridge last week. “Coming to the rink and playing well every game. Teams don’t take us lightly. We’re Roseville; we’re a strong program with a strong tradition. We’ve got to come ready every game because we’re going to get the other teams best.”
East Ridge is one of those teams that has brought its “A” game against Roseville. The Raptors snapped the Raiders season-opening win streak and also beat them last Friday in overtime.
When Flug, who is now a freshman on the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, graduated last spring, it dramatically changed the identity of the team.
“She’s a highly-skilled player and a lot of kids were trying to get the puck to her,” said Rosenthal. “So what makes this team different is we need everybody to step it up. We don’t have that superstar Ms. Hockey candidate.”
The Raiders’ leading scorer is Erika Bjorkman, who was second to Flug in points last year. Bjorkman has 13 goals and 14 assists and leads Kathryn Larson by six points. Larson begins the week with five goals and 16 assists. Allyson Reilly is third on the team in points with 19 and second in goals with a dozen.
“I’ve been juggling the lines a lot trying to find some chemistry,’ Rosenthal said. “It’s just going to boil down to us working hard for three periods. We’ve got our top six (forwards) and we’ll go from there.”
The offense hasn’t been too much of a concern so Roseville’s main focus this season has been shoring up its defensive coverage.
“To get ready for the post-season, we’re going to work on a lot of D zone and take care of our own end,” Rosenthal said. “Make sure everybody knows their job in the D zone and that should let the offense take care of itself.”
The Raiders will try to shake off the overtime loss to East Ridge when it takes the ice this week at Anoka on Tuesday and at Hastings on Friday. Anoka is a non-conference game and there will payback on the line against Hastings, which beat Roseville 2-1 in overtime in their first meeting in mid-December.
Another thing that might help Roseville’s fortunes going forward is avoiding overtime. The Raiders have gone to OT three times this season and lost all three games. In addition to the Hastings and East Ridge losses, Roseville also fell 5-4 in overtime to Mounds View in the first round of the Kaposia Classic holiday tournament.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.
Suburban East Conference girls hockey standings (Through Jan. 19)
|White Bear Lake||2-8-3||7-10-3||7|