The Kindersley Klippers and Notre Dame Hounds travel to Nipawin this weekend to take on the Hawks.
Nipawin lost both games on opening weekend, a 5-3 loss to Flin Flon on home ice last Friday and a 3-2 shootout loss in La Ronge on Saturday. Head Coach Tad Kozun said the team addressed some early season issues during a full week of practice.
“We had some areas of concern through out the first weekend, so we made sure they were a big focus this week and make sure we get back to hard work,” Kozun said.
As part of improving in their own zone Kozun acquired 20-year-old defenseman Luke Chase from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) Canmore Eagles. Chase is the son of former National Hockey League player Kelly Chase, who hails from Porcupine Plain, Sak. The 6’4” defender grew up in St. Louis and spend the last couple seasons in Canada. Kozun said his veteran presence is already being felt among the club.
“He’s tough, he’s a big body, he’s going to help our backend big time,” Kozun said. “We talked about how young we were back there on opening night and its just something we felt to help our young guys grow and learn we needed a veteran presence out there to help them along.”
Discipline has been an area of concern as well, Niapwin was shorthanded 15 times in two games, including down two men for a full two minutes in their first games. Kozun said that needs to be better plus the team’s forward group needs to push their production to another level after just five goals in two games.
“Every night there is going to be guys on the other side that want to make it hard on you and win as bad as you do, so you must find that inner drive. How bad do you want it and how bad are you going to go out there and work for it,” he said.
Friday’s faceoff is 7 p.m., Chase will make his Hawks’ debut starting on the blueline with rookie phenom Ronan Buckberger. Notre Dame visits the ‘Cage’ on Saturday, also a 7 p.m. faceoff.