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Women’s Hockey Looks to Improve the ‘Little Things’

by Montclarion Sports
Alexandra Tepper takes the puck down the ice. Photo by @msugirlshockey on Instagram

Alexandra Tepper takes the puck down the ice.
Photo by @msugirlshockey on Instagram

The Montclair State women’s hockey team was back on the ice against Navy on Jan. 13 after a long winter break.

The game was a rough one for the Red Hawks. The team suffered three penalties and gave up four goals in the second period alone. That did not bode well, as Montclair State fell 7-4 at Floyd Hall Arena.

“Two of our girls were missing, which brings us down to eight skaters and a goalie. [Navy] had a full bench,” Head Coach Dave Solomon said. “[Navy is] an established team, but we can definitely compete with them, so we’ll take the positives out of [this game].”

Penalties proved costly for the Red Hawks, who surrendered four goals, three unanswered in the second period. But co-captain Kristen Iattarelli remained confident that the secret to the Red Hawks’ success this year is playing smart, sound, fundamental hockey.

“We were taking tripping penalties because instead of skating and keeping up with them, we were using our sticks,” Iattarelli said. “I think that was a turning point in the game, where we went from [having] momentum with our lead to throwing [the game] away.”

This year’s Montclair State team often sports a short bench, and while this would seem like a disadvantage, Iattarelli reminded her teammates to work on what matters—the little things.
“It’s really important to play smart,” Iattarelli said. “You do your best to keep in shape and to build stamina and endurance, but if you’re not making smart passes and playing good defense in our zone, [the game] will just go downhill.”

“Once we are working in practice on the way we want to play, I think these games will begin to turn out differently,” Solomon said, reiterating his captain’s message. “Getting in the rhythm of moving the puck, shooting in practice and doing the things on the ice that matter.”

Solomon also mentioned what Assistant Coach Eddie Gaetjens brings to the 2017 Red Hawks. “We’re always at a loss when [Gaetjens] isn’t at the rink,” Solomon said. “He always has encouraging words for the team.”

Solomon also applauded freshman Amanda Peterson for playing well this season. The defenseman has one goal and four assists, and has played with discipline, with only two penalty minutes throughout this season.

“She’s one of the leaders on and off the ice. She’s a workhorse and a good quality player,” Solomon said. “If someone’s open, she’ll find them. And if she has nothing, she’ll get the puck deep and let the forecheckers get in [the zone] and forecheck.”

Co-captain Iattarelli explained how important personal responsibility is with the Division II National Championships starting on March 15.

“We remind each other to do the things that you learn in [youth] hockey, like passing the puck and getting in position on the boards; the little things that will keep us level in the game,” she said.”

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