PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle High School Wildcats gave up 40 goals in their first four high school hockey games, including 15 in a loss to Bangor, going 1-3.
But they have allowed just 11 over their last four games and are 2-2.
Coach Carl Flynn said his team has reduced its high-risk play and significantly reduced the number of odd-man rushes (three-on-twos, two-on-ones) it has allowed.
The defensemen aren’t rushing the puck up the ice and trying to get involved in the offense as much and the forwards are making sure they don’t all get trapped deep in the offensive zone, leading to odd-man rushes.
Flynn said one of the forwards is staying high in the offensive zone so he can get back and help out the defensemen.
“Rather than running and gunning, they’re stopping and thinking of themselves as one of five pieces to a puzzle and if they don’t do their share, the puzzle won’t fit together,” said Flynn.
The Wildcats have won their last two games, 4-2 over Houlton-Hodgdon and 5-1 over Winslow, and two of the catalysts have been sophomore left wing-center Alex Michaud and freshman goalie Jillian Flynn, his goalie.
Flynn played both games and Michaud had three goals and three assists in the two victories.
“Alex is tenacious. He goes after the puck with every ounce of energy he has and he sticks with it until he gets it,” said Carl Flynn.
Presque Isle travels to play Orono at Alfond Arena at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
“That’s a big game for us. It will tell us if we’re in the middle to upper echelon [of Eastern Maine Class B] at this point of the season or in the middle to lower echelon,” said coach Flynn.
The 3-5 Wildcats are in sixth place in the Heal Points standings while 3-4 Orono is in seventh.