New MBC team stings Somerset hockeyThe Eau Claire Regis-Chippewa Falls McDonell-Bloomer cooperative team was added to the Middle Border Conference for boys hockey this season.
The Eau Claire Regis-Chippewa Falls McDonell-Bloomer cooperative team was added to the Middle Border Conference for boys hockey this season.
Somerset’s skaters found out that the new team will be a factor in the race for the MBC title. RMB beat the Spartans in the co-op team’s first MBC game last Tuesday, 2-0, in Somerset.
Regis climbs to 5-0 with the win while Somerset drops to 6-2.
Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said the team didn’t prepare well for the new opponent. Adding Regis makes the MBC even stronger, with Somerset, New Richmond and Amery also having hopes of getting the conference championship this season.
“We learned a great lesson. We need to show up mentally prepared for every game,” Gilkerson said. “We came out pretty uninspired and flat.”
Gilkerson said he was surprised at the depth of the RMB roster. They drew most of the top freshmen in the Eau Claire youth program this year.
“Regis has a lot of up and coming talent,” Gilkerson said.
The Spartans could never get going offensively against Regis. Somerset was limited to a season-low 11 shots on goal in the game.
Regis was much more active in the offensive zone, pelting Spartan goalie Jordan Langness with 36 shots. Two of those shots got past Langness, both within a five-minute span in the second period.
Gilkerson said the Spartans were “very solid” in their defensive zone, which was needed because the puck was there much of the game. Breaking the puck out of the defensive zone was the Spartans’ main difficulty. Gilkerson said it’s been the team’s main drawback through the first eight games of the season.
With school and practices canceled the day before the game, the Spartans who were sick the previous week missed a much needed practice. They received limited ice time against RMB, meaning nine skaters played the majority of the shifts that game for the Spartans.
The Spartans had a full week between games to get ready for this Tuesday’s game at New Richmond. Gilkerson said the break came at an opportune time because there are a number of areas where the Spartans need practice time. Breaking out of the defensive zone is one, but Gilkerson said the team’s power play is equally in need of more sharpening.
There are two home games on the Spartans’ schedule in the next three days. The Spartans host Menomonie on Thursday, hoping to avenge a loss in their second game of the season. The Spartans will be at home at 2 p.m. on Saturday against Minnehaha Academy.