Through 23 games, the Superior Roughriders have managed to fashion a winning record in the Western States Hockey League.
They were 12-11 just after the Thanksgiving break, going 2-1 in the three games around the holiday.
By Brian Lester
Head coach Paul DePuydt said the success is attributed to the fact that his team, despite its youth, has adjusted well to the game at this level.
“Many of the guys have come from Europe or are new to the game of junior hockey, and they’ve done a good job of adjusting,” DePuydt said. “We’ve gone through some ups and downs, had good games and struggles, but it’s good from a learning curve standpoint.”
What has impressed DePuydt is his team’s work ethic and their will to continue to fight even when logic might say to stop trying. The case in point is the series against El Paso earlier this month. Superior was outscored 23-4 in three games.
“We haven’t quit. Even when we were playing El Paso and they were pushing us down hard, we didn’t give up,” DePuydt said. “Our guys kept playing and kept battling.”
Nikita Sheberov has been the offensive leader for Superior, scoring 28 goals and dishing out 21 assists in 22 games. L.J. Newell, Marshall Murphy and Emanuel Hertel-Bauman have all seen time in goal, with Murphy playing in 19 games and making 364 saves.
With still a lot of hockey left to play, DePuydt notes there are improvements to be made. However, he believes this team is more than capable of being a playoff contender.
“Our one on one compete battle level needs to be stronger,” DePuydt said. “Success ultimately comes down to that. The idea is to keep getting better. Our talent level is strong. We just have to learn to compete consistently for 60 minutes and make it tough for opponents every minute.”
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