After being stuck in low gear or in neutral most of this season, the IceHogs are finally picking up the pace. They’re on a season-high four-game winning streak.
There are a number of factors that have played into that. Some guys have gotten healthy and the roster has settled in a bit. But the biggest factor is the guys just saying, they’ve had enough of mediocrity.
“There’s a lot of pride in that room, so we weren’t necessarily happy with how things were going,” said veteran forward Terry Broadhurst following practice Tuesday morning.
The players have also had more time to adapt to having Derek King as their head coach and King has had time to settle in to being the lead guy, but he says the biggest positive he’s seen lately is the guys taking ownership in the team.
“I don’t know what happened when the switch went on, but they seem to be just monitoring and coaching themselves,” said King. “They’re accountable to each other. It’s not the coach going in and yapping at them. That dressing room it just seems like they’ve bonded really well now.”
Broadhurst has spent parts of six seasons in the AHL. He’s been in a lot of locker rooms. He can tell when teams are beginning to jell on and off the ice.
“That’s usually a sign of a team bonding and becoming a good team when you hold each other accountable. I think it’s a good sign that we’ve taken ownership of the room. At the end of the day it’s our team.”
Broadhurst says the guys never doubted their ability when they were struggling.
“Everyone stuck with it and had faith that the skill level was there in the room. It’s was just a matter of putting it together.”
A four-game winning streak is far from the be-all and end-all. It’s a start. There’s still plenty of room for improvement. The power play is one area that still has yet to kick-in, and King admits he’s still learning on the job.
“I can always get better and I will get better,” said King. “You can always learn. I always said as a coach if you think you’ve figured out the game you’re wrong. You’re mistaken. This game will throw curveballs at you.”
But right now the curves have become straighter for King and this team as a whole. They have some momentum. Now they need to keep it going.
The schedule is set up for the IceHogs to continue to build momentum. Their next six games will all be at home starting Wednesday night when they host Wilkes Barre-Scanton.