Posted at: 01/26/2014 2:43 PM
Updated at: 01/28/2014 10:51 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Mental focus is a game day priority for Hibbing-Chisholm. Senior wing Eric Gooden says arriving at the rink a few hours early gives them time to get their heads straight.
"It's really nice when we're playing these big section games," Gooden said. "You want to come out and make sure you're prepared. If you're focused, it's a lot easier for you to come out where you ned to be and have your head in the game."
Every Bluejacket has his own pregame routine. For senior goalie AJ Allison, it's a solitary one.
"I'm really superstitious. I do everything the same basically," Allison said. "I come to the rink, listen to music the whole time. I stay to myself, just think about the game, think about what I've got to do."
In his first season as head coach, Todd Versich says on game days, he steps back and lets the seniors light the fire in their teammates.
"I always tell the guys my job is done in practice for the most part, and when it comes to game day, I always hope we're real prepared as much as we can be," Versich said. "Other than making a few decisions on the bench and on the lines and putting guys in situations to succeed, it really is at that point up to them."
Hibbing-Chisholm has had its share of ebbs and flows this season. Last week's game against Duluth Marshall didn't go their way, but when the going gets tough, the Bluejackets lean on their tenacity.
"Just play with grit, work hard," said Ty Birdsall, Bluejackets senior wing. "I think getting the puck out of the zone is the most important thing, and play leads from that."
"All the guys on our team have a strong work ethic and they always go out there and give it 110 percent," said Eric Riihinen, Bluejackets senior defenseman.
With seeding as important as ever in this year's 7A tournament, the Bluejackets hope to pick up some section wins in the final stretch of the season.
"I think we're gonna have to get some bounces against those better teams, but I also think we're skilled enough to take it to any team," said Dylan Pechovnik, Bluejackets senior defenseman. "We've just gotta keep working hard."