Experience and chemistry: focal points for new season

Photo by Romain Polge

Ivy Reynolds | Reporter
From Print [September 22, 2015] Legacy

Athletic seasons are typically broken into three categories: fall, winter and spring. Unless you’re talking about women’s ice hockey, whose season spans about seven months from its start in September to the final championships in March.

“We have the longest season in college athletics,” head coach Scott Spencer said. “Altogether, we have a 34-game schedule.”

Photo by Romain Polge
Photo by Romain Polge

With that intense of a calendar, training becomes crucial. Junior center forward Holly Dietzler says the team has been hard at work preparing for the coming season, both physically and mentally.

“Currently we are lifting every other day, skating for two hours everyday and some of the team is doing an early conditioning program,” she said.

Spencer said he is already seeing things in preseason that he feels will carry over to success on the ice.

“Our athletes are all wired the same way where it is easy to have that family type chemistry you want in a team,” he said. “Also, the pace and level of competition in practices we have this early in the season is something I’m really happy with.”

Last year, the Lions ended with a conference record of 7-11-2. With rivals like Penn State and Syracuse, the task of moving up the rankings can seem daunting, but the players and coaching staff are on board to make progress this season.

“The biggest difference between this year and last year is experience,” Dietzler said. “Last year we got a new coach and had to learn all new systems across the ice.”

She said that knowing the plays by heart now will help the team play with consistency.

“This year, our biggest challenge will be scoring goals,” Spencer said. “We have to improve our special teams to make sure we are [scoring] by committee and being able to produce in those areas instead of five-on-five play.”

The second-year head coach said he plans to keep the same structure and process as far as game strategy goes.

“The framework really never changes, it is mainly the players and personnel,” he said. “First thing is to create the culture and then recruit players who fit into that.”

Spencer feels they can pride themselves in a work ethic mentality, and that attention to detail is something they take seriously, especially in the fundamentals.

“Our goal is to be well-conditioned so we can play three solid periods without physical or mental breakdowns,” Dietzler said.

Both she and Spencer said based off their progress last year, the team should be right there in the mix with the best schools in the conference this season.

“We have the potential to own the most successful season Lindenwood has recorded at the Division I level,” Dietzler said.

The first puck of the season will drop Sept. 26 as the Lions face five-time national champion, University of Minnesota-Duluth at 2 p.m. at the Lindenwood Ice Arena in Wentzville.

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