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The Huskies put a bow on their pre-season schedule yesterday afternoon with a 3-0 victory over the Vermilion Tigers. The shutout victory had the team’s coaching staff feeling better about the work of the squad after they showed improved play in many areas including the defensive end.

The improvement, especially defensively was a pleasant surprise as the Huskies were short staffed on the blue line heading into the contest according to assistant coach Andrew Riddell.

“I thought we played pretty well defensively tonight. We were a little short handed on the back end. We improved on a lot from last night [Saturday]. They played as a cohesive team down there. We weren’t in our zone for very long,” he said.

The club’s veterans also stood out Riddell added as they took an active role in coaching the new players on the team, in turn allowing those with less experience to benefit by the example being set out on the ice.

Coaches have been stressing the importance of getting the puck out of their own end as quickly as possible to generate a quicker attack and better offence overall, and Sunday’s game was the first time the team played well at both ends of the ice.

“As we always tell the guys we want to play in the fun zone. Five to seven seconds in our zone and out. That’s something that we’ve worked on a lot. The start of the year has been quick passes in our zone, use our support guy, and into the offensive zone we go,” Riddell said.

Scoring for the Huskies were Jacob Lang, Shawn Wilson, and Lou-Turnbull Giesbrecht. Lane Delfs stopped all 22 shots he faced.

The Huskies will have four practice sessions before opening the regular season on the road in Beaverlodge October 4. That will be followed by the team’s home opener on October 9 against Sexsmith.

The league schedule meanwhile will begin on Friday with Dawson Creek in Peace River, and Sexsmith visiting Fairview.

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