Approaching the midway point of the season, the Kent State hockey team’s recent trend of inconsistent play has troubled its coach.
“It’s not a good thing,” Kent State coach Jarret Whidden said about his team’s roller coaster season.
The Flashes enter this weekend’s contests going 2-2 in its last four games.
“We’re really trying to figure out what type of team we are,” Whidden said. “Unfortunately, some of the games, not all of them, we (the team) get on two different wave lengths.”
The Flashes host unranked Duquesne tonight and the 11th ranked Adrian Bulldogs tomorrow at the Kent State Ice Arena.
It will be the third time Kent State has played Adrian this season, losing 3-1 Oct. 4, and getting shutout 4-0 on Oct. 30.
It’s Kent State’s second game versus Duquesne. The Flashes won 8-3 in their last meeting.
“They play two different styles,” Whidden said about the weekend opponents. “We’re working a lot on this week (in practice) with two different styles.”
Senior goalie Ryan Gregory said the team is young and therefore prone to mistakes.
“We’re a younger team,” he said. “So we’re going to have some inconsistencies. We don’t do all the simple, easy stuff. That’s why we struggle.”
Senior defenseman Jonathan Moser said coming to play every night is key, but it’s imperative to play each game through to the final horn.
“Earlier in the year we had some problems playing a full 60 minutes,” he said. “A lot of times we get a little tired toward the end, but we have to bear down. The second you let your guard down, that’s when they will capitalize.”
Whidden cautioned against taking tonight’s game with Duquesne lightly, citing the Dukes’ offensive potential. On the year, Duquesne has averaged four goals per contest and has only been shutout once.
“They can score a lot of goals,” Whidden said of Duquesne. “I think Duquesne won’t allow us to overlook them. If any of them (Kent State players) are looking to Saturday, it will be a quick wake-up call.”
Duquesne’s downfall this season is trying to establish a bona fide No. 1 goaltender. The Dukes have rotated three goalies, and each one has struggled so far, with no one posting a goal against average of less than four and a half.
While Duquesne presents a challenging offensive attack, Adrian emphasizes defense, allowing only 36 goals through 13 games and limiting Kent State to just one goal in the prior two matchups.
It’s an adjustment the Flashes will have to make in fewer than 24 hours.
“Coming into Saturday nights game, they (Adrian) play a little bit of a different style, a little bit more defensive,” Whidden said. “We really need to focus for Friday and readjust for Saturday.”
Adrian comes into the weekend riding a five-game winning streak and has reeled off seven of its last eight, while Duquesne enters the weekend on a three-game skid.
Contact sports correspondent Jeremy Juhasz at [email protected]