Last November and all of December could have been better for the Westshore Wolves, with the team dropping a game on Nov. 24 to the Campbell River Storm and splitting their next four games with two wins and two losses during December.
“We could have been doing better during December, for sure, but we’re looking to explode out of this break with some much better play,” rookie head coach Tyler Matheson said.
“December really wasn’t very strong and we had hoped for a much better outcome, but we have to look past that and move forward with a better effort.”
The Wolves currently boast a record of 16-12-1 and are second in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s south division, sitting two points behind the Victoria Cougars.
Heading into the second half of the season, Matheson said the team will be concentrating on making the practices harder, and paying attention to details and using videos of past games to highlight the areas players need to concentrate on.
“We watch the videos and in practices we put ourselves in those situations and work on what we’ve seen so we don’t make the same mistakes again,” he said. “In this league you have to be prepared. Junior B is a developmental league, and it’s tough, so if you don’t come prepared you’re going to lose two points.”
Cameron Coutre is a strong representative of what it takes to win, said Matheson. With a league-leading 48 points on the season so far, Coutre has been a consistent asset to the team.
The head coach also credits 20-year-old captain Brandon Tutte, who is fourth in league scoring leaders with 40 points, with providing maturity and stability that is important to the team’s success.
“The same is true of Tomba Huddlestan and Trevor Bottomley, who have helped to keep the team centred and play with the kind of maturity we count on out there.”
One of the Wolves who has really shown a lot of heart and exceeded expectations as well is forward Keegan Durrance.
“Durrance has really stepped up and done very well. He’s shown so much improvement and we expect even better things from him in the new year,” Matheson said.
As far as what fans can expect in 2018, Matheson is optimistic.
“I’m happy with what we’ve done so far but I know these guys and we have a lot more to offer. We have one of the older groups in the league right now and we have to take advantage of that and put those wins on the board,” he said.
The Westshore Wolves return to The Q Centre on Jan. 3, where they’ll host the Peninsula Panthers. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. The next day, they’ll take on the Victoria Cougars at Archie Browning Arena in Esquimalt, also at 7 p.m.