Quake Hockey at Butte for a Pair of ‘Must Win’ Games
Written by Cole Havens on February 4, 2021
The Yellowstone Quake Hockey team fresh off a split vs. Great Falls will return to action with another two game set on the road up in Montana as they will make the trip to Butte. Points are at a premium for the Quake who are looking for a late season surge and with plenty of games left against winnable opponents anything is possible. As always I caught up with Quake Head Coach Phil Oberlin who calls this weekend’s face-offs with Butte “must win” games.
“They’re huge. Again, they’re games that we have to take care of. We have to be prepared and ready to play. Again, we’ve got to make sure that we’re beating the teams that are below us and then taking care of business with those teams that are right in front of us. That’s the only way we’re going to start to climb in the standings and end up making the playoffs. Big weekend, but again, we want to just make sure we’re focused on ourselves and making sure that we’re working hard, first and foremost.”
Right now Missoula is the 4th place team in the division sitting 17 points ahead of the quake, making the Butte games that much more important. With a veteran roster that won’t quit it bodes well for the Quake that they have what it takes for one final surge.
“It’s great. And again like I said, the second half the guys have played extremely hard. So its been good to see. Our offense has been scoring a lot more the second half than we did the first half and then obviously defensively we’ve been much more stifling. Our goaltenders have started to really pick up their game as well in limiting those second and third opportunities, that we were giving up the first half. I think everything about our game is moving in the right direction and so hopefully, again, we can string together some wins here and start to climb.”
Last time that Yellowstone and Butte matched-up it was a weekend sweep for the Quake. As they look for another sweep of the Cobras, coach details this contest.
“The last time we played them, we kind of adjusted a little bit on our breakout to kind of push tempo a little bit and drive their defense off the blue line. They typically take the walls away on their floor check so again, being patient with our break out but when we have full possession, not just being stationary coming up the ice but getting our feet moving up and trying to push their defense off the blue line and kind of make the pace a little higher in terms of our line rushes and everything like that. Just playing with a bit more tempo against them.”
And for the Quake to come away victorious coach switches things up and says they must bring the intensity offensively.
“Three years, I don’t know if I’ve ever said offense. Yeah, scoring. I mean, if we can continue to put the puck in the net I think we’re going to be well off, especially this weekend. I know the first series with Butte earlier in the year, the game after the first period should have been, we should have been up five or six goals probably. So again, if we can score early and often, play with that intensity, play with that offensive ability that I know we’re capable of and just finish on some of our opportunities early, I think that’s what’s going to separate us from Butte this weekend.”
The Yellowstone Quake are back on the road this weekend making the trek to Butte for a pair of face-offs with the Cobras on Friday and Saturday. All the action gets underway at 7:30pm both nights.