With the IIHF Worlds fast approaching, New Zealand Ice Fernz captain Helen Murray calls in from Austria. So, how’s the mood in training camp?
Head coach Rachel Park echoes Murray’s positive sentiments as the Ice Fernz’s training camp at the Sports Zentrum facility in St Pölten winds down.
“Yeah, I’m really encouraged by the team’s performance, and commitment to training” said Park.
As well as twice-daily ice time practices, the team has spent a lot of time discussing tactics and engaging in exercises to help build team cohesion.
“I’m thrilled with how the team is starting to gel. Despite the intensity of the training, there’s a positive vibe amongst the players. There have been some really good insightful and honest discussions.”
The first three days of training culminated in a practice game against local Austrian team, the EHV Sabres, which allowed Park to assess player development and try out a number of different line combinations.
“It was good for us. They were a great team; they were very fast, they were agile and they skated the puck down the ice, and they could shoot. Their shooting was hard and accurate, which disrupted our defence zone.”
The Ice Fernz lost that warmup game 6-3, but came away with some valuable lessons moving forward.
“Our powerplay was solid, but our penalty kill could do with a bit more improvement, especially our forechecking. I think we need to do some more work on shooting from inside the blue line, and more emphasis on our defence zone structure.”
“From an offensive perspective, I want to focus more on triangulation in our attack and certainly putting more pucks in front of the net will help.”
The Ice Fernz’s World Championship campaign gets underway in Brasov, Romania with Chinese Taipei providing the first test on Monday (11pm NZ time).
Main Photo: Kathy Gaze