Yellowstone Quake Eyeing More Consistency on the Ice

Written by on January 9, 2020

THE YELLOWSTONE QUAKE HAVE OFFICIALLY RETURNED TO THE ICE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON. YELLOWSTONE ENDED 2019 ON A BANG DEFEATING THE BOZEMAN ICE DOGS FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON. ALL-IN-ALL IT WAS A POSITIVE END TO 2019 AFTER A ROCKY START. I SAT DOWN WITH HEAD COACH PHIL OBERLIN AND HE GIVES A RECAP OF WHERE THINGS STAND FOR THE QUAKE TODAY.

“WE’RE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR THE CONSISTENCY, WE TALKED ABOUT THAT A LOT THE FIRST HALF. IT WAS A GOOD TURNAROUND, THE SECOND PORTION OF THE FIRST HALF AND THEN KIND OF MOVING INTO THIS SECOND HALF WE’VE PUT OURSELVES IN A GOOD POSITION TO BE PLAYOFF ELIGIBLE AND NOW COMPETE, THE SECOND HALF TO TRY AND GAIN HOME ICE ADVANTAGE FOR THAT FIRST ROUND. SO THAT’S KIND OF WHERE WE’RE AT RIGHT NOW.”

THE QUAKE CURRENTLY SIT AT 5TH PLACE IN THE FRONTIER DIVISION, JUST THREE POINTS AHEAD OF MISSOULA. AFTER TWO ROUGH LOSSES TO HELENA TO BEGIN 2020 THE QUAKE WILL LOOK TO REFOCUS AS THE MONTH OF JANUARY IS AN IMPORTANT ONE, AS MANY OF THE TEAMS THE QUAKE WILL PLAY LIE BELOW THEM IN THE STANDINGS. COACH OBERLIN ON THE NEXT MONTH OF COMPETITION.

“THAT’S ALWAYS THE GOAL, IS THAT YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE TEAMS THAT ARE BELOW YOU AND YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE TEAMS THAT ARE DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU IN ORDER TO KIND OF CLIMB, RIGHT? IT’S NOT A ‘WELL WE SHOULD BEAT THESE GUYS’ BUT YOU HAVE TO DO THE RIGHT THINGS TO END UP WINNING THOSE GAMES AND SO I THINK WE LOST OUR FOCUS IN THAT. THAT’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND, OKAY WE SHOULD WIN THESE, BUT I THINK AS LONG AS WE TRY TO MAINTAIN OUR FOCUS ON DOING THE RIGHT THINGS TO WIN THOSE GAMES IS WHAT IS GOING TO HELP US TO WIN THOSE GAMES DOWN THE ROAD.”

UP NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE IS THE TEAM DIRECTLY ABOVE THEM IN THE STANDINGS, THE GILLETTE WILD. LAST TIME THESE TWO TEAMS MET IT WAS A WEEKEND SPLIT WITH GILLETTE WINNING A GAME IN OT WHILE THE QUAKE REBOUNDED FOR A 6-4 WIN THE FOLLOWING NIGHT. COACH OBERLIN TALKS ABOUT WHERE THE QUAKE WILL LOOK TO ATTACK THIS TIME AROUND.

“OUR POWER PLAY LOOKED GOOD AGAINST THEM LAST TIME. THE WAY THAT THEY FLOOR CHECK, AND THEY’RE FAIRLY AGGRESSIVE, SO IF WE CAN BREAK THAT FIRST LAYER OF FORWARDS WE FEEL LIKE WE CAN CREATE SCORING CHANCES OFF THE RUSH AND OFF THE BREAK-OUT. OBVIOUSLY WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE HAVING SOME SUSTAINED PRESSURE AS WELL, WE’RE NOT JUST ONE-AND-DONE. WE THINK THAT WE CAN SCORE FAIR AMOUNT ON RUSHES JUST CAUSE THAT’S KIND OF WHAT WE DID LAST TIME WE PLAYED THEM AS WELL.”

ACCORDING TO COACH OBERLIN ONE THING THAT MAKES THIS GILLETTE TEAM SO TOUGH IS THEIR NEVER SAY DIE ATTITUDE, SO WITH THAT IN MIND HE TALKS ABOUT WHERE THE DIFFERENCE MAKER LIES IN THE OUTCOME.

“I THINK IT’S GOING TO BE A DEFENSIVE GROUP EFFORT. SO IT’S GOING TO BE EVERYBODY AND IT’S JUST GOING TO BE OUR DEFENSIVE ZONE. YOU KNOW WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE’RE NOT GIVING UP GOALS, ESSENTIALLY PERIOD. WE’RE GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT SHORT THIS WEEKEND WITH INJURIES AND THINGS LIKE THAT. AND SO JUST MAKING SURE WE’RE COMMITTED TO NOT ALLOWING GOALS.”

THE YELLOWSTONE QUAKE RETURN TO THE FRIENDLY CONFINES OF THE REILLY ARENA FRIDAY AND SATURDAY FOR A WEEKEND SERIES VS. GILLETTE. PUCK DROPS AT 7:30PM BOTH NIGHTS.


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