Blackhawks a work in progress: coach 0
Collingwood Blackhawks coach Greg Hotham says that his young team is a work in progress.
After a win and a loss over the weekend, Hotham says you simply look back at what you wanted to accomplish and assess the results from that viewpoint.
The former NHLer has been at the controls of the Blackhawks for about a month now, and says that there has been progress.
The team has had a mini-win streak of two games, and posted a shutout victory against Aurora on Sunday.
In fact the Blackhawks are playing .500 over the past six games. Hotham says every week the focus is on getting better.
Last Friday early penalty trouble put the Blackhawks in a hole as they were down 3-0 to Hamilton in the first period on their way to a 7-0 loss.
Hotham says that against a team like the Red Wings, it is tough to get out of an early hole.
The coach says he was happy with the effort in the third period, saying it shows the team has progressed in the past month. He says playing the full 60 minutes is important -- no matter how score turns out.
On Sunday afternoon the Blackhawks went into Aurora less than two weeks after upsetting the Tigers. Hotham says the players knew that Aurora would be eager to get some scoreboard revenge, and they answered the call.
The Tigers were held to less than 25 shots over the first two periods as Connor Watt and Tyler Crawford gave Collingwood a 2-0 lead.
The third period turned into the Jonathon Hall show, as Aurora took advantage of several powerplay opportunities-- including two in the final five minutes to pound 25 shots at the Collingwood net.
Hall answered the challenge to preserve the 2-0 win.
Hotham says it was a full team victory because over the first two periods when penalties weren't so easy to come by, the team earned full marks for competing with the Tigers, and in the third Hall did a superb job to defend that effort.
Hotham says he wants the players to focus on the third period of the Hamilton game on Friday, and the effort in Aurora on Sunday. He feels if they can develop a level of consistency with that kind of play, they will find themselves competing more closely with the upper level teams, and picking up a few victories as well.
It is a busy weekend for the Blackhawks as they were in Newmarket on Thursday (score not available at press time) and are scheduled to host Stouffville tonight (game time 8 p.m.) before heading to Huntsville on Sunday afternoon.