Thunder coach happy with progress despite losing streak

By Jordan Bay
February 11, 2019 - 2:58pm

It was a tough weekend for the Drayton Valley Thunder as they dropped back-to-back games to the Grande Prairie Storm.

The first game was an absolute killer for the Thunder, going into the third period leading by three goals and before losing in overtime 6-5.

Thunder head coach Eric Thurston says the game was a really buzzkill for their entire weekend.

“Ugh, the first one…it still sits in my gut,” he lamented.

“You’re supposed to park things and leave it but you know, we’re up 5-2 going into the third period, and we need to be able to close games out, and just play the right way.

“Simple things like always getting pucks deep off the rush, making sure we’ve got a third forward high, coming back, not giving up any odd man rushes, and just being a lot better in our end. Losing that first one the way we did, that really stung.”

Saturday night, the Thunder fell to Grande Prairie 4-0. The two losses extends their losing streak to five games.

Thurston, however, understands why his team has been struggling, and isn’t worried.

“Every game is like the seventh game of the Stanley Cup, and it’s been that way. We compete so hard every night, and we have to be on our A-game every night. So I think right now being where we are, February, having every game like the seventh game of the Stanley Cup, we’re mentally tired. Right now we’re physically tired, we’re mentally tired, you know, everybody has given every bit of what they (have) at this point.”

Thurston says he’s working to help the boys get on track as playoff time nears.

“I think our conditioning is in place. I like the way our structure is, so we’re going to shorten practices, probably from now on in go 45 minutes, maybe, maybe an hour tops,” he explained. “We’re going to have our sports physiologist come in tomorrow and it’s being able to come to the rink, focus for that hour, but then being able to go away and re-charge your batteries. Just being able to relax, and stick together as a group, because that’s been our strength through the season.”

The Thunder sit with 48 points and are already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

Llooking back at the year, Thurston is proud of his group’s overall play.

“I think it’s been very good, to be honest with you. I’ve been very with you I’ve been very happy with our teams play. We’ve worked very hard, there’s very, very few games where we get outworked, our team has a very good commitment to bring it every night and as a coach I couldn’t be happier with how we battle and how we compete.”

The Thunder are back in action on Friday when they travel to Whitecourt to face the Wolverines.

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