The Sudbury Midget AA Lady Wolves will head into the Stoney Creek Showcase this weekend with some positives to build on after showing some noticeable improvement over their final two days of play at the 2013 NAHA (North American Hockey Academy) Tournament in Vermont over the weekend.
Bouncing back from an 0-2-0-1 record on Friday, the locals battled a very talented Boston Shamrocks team tooth and nail, dropping a 2-1 decision as Kennedy Lanktree drilled her second goal in as many days.
Buoyed by the confidence from that game, the Lady Wolves played to a scoreless draw with the Ottawa Jr Senators, with Stephanie Pascal recording the shutout.
The team closed out play on Sunday morning with a 1-1 tie against the Massachusetts Spitfires, with rookie Melisa Kingsley finding her way on to the scoresheet.
"We're a better team today, leaving the tournament, than we were arriving," noted coach Tim Stortini. "We know a little bit more about some of the players, some of the rookies. It's a learning experience for both the coaching staff and the players."
Part of that learning process will allow Stortini and company to tackle specific priorities in the pre-Christmas practice sessions, with little surprise in regards to the early season focus.
"The foundation of everything is defence," Stortini stated. "We want to make sure that everyone is on the same page defensively, in terms of defensive zone coverage. Secondly, we have some players that we know from last year are very, very capable defensively.
"We want them to spring forward and become more offensive players."
While all coaches would prefer to hit the win column more often than not, the third-year bench boss of the Midget AA Lady Wolves wasn't about to lose any sleep over the team's record in Vermont.
"What we're looking for is the battle," Stortini explained. "I was really proud of the girls battling back against Boston, a very good team."
That said, facing a level playing field at the Midget AA showcase in Stoney Creek this coming weekend, Stortini has set the bar notably higher.
"We have high expectations and will be disappointed if we don't come away with something very positive," he said.
Sudbury opens play on Friday with match ups against the Oshawa Lady Generals and the Pacific Steelers, closing out their round robin Saturday opposite the Scarborough Sharks.