Kids off to slow start
Northampton hockey coach Brian Ruff isn't about to concede that this is a rebuilding year for his club.
Through his team's first four games this season, Ruff's team has a 0-3-1 record in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL) Non-Pure Division. Last season, the Kids captured the Non-Pure division crown, marking their fourth championship under Ruff's reign.
This season, Northampton began the season minus a core from last year's championship unit, but they did return eight players who were on the roster last season. With some returnees back in the fold, Ruff believes his club should be off to a better start.
"I don't really think of it as a rebuilding or a transition year," said Ruff. "We did lose a number of players from last year. We're not the type of team like we have been in the past. But we did lose some games we shouldn't have.
"When I look at everything, we should be 2-2 instead of being 0-3-1."
Ruff cited the play of goalie Chris Tanczos, who is in his first year starting in the nets replacing three-year starter Adam Orsulak.
"Chris (Tanczos) was a backup for us last year as Adam (Orsulak) got the bulk of the playing time," said Ruff. "He has looked good for us in the early going and he should have a solid year for us."
As well as Tanzosh, Ruff has been pleased with the play of Anthony Belsky, Derek Wruble, Eric Tanczos, Colin O'Donnell, and Ryan Dequintal.
Belsky was the team's leading scorer through the first four games with 13 goals and four assists.
"Those guys have been doing well for us so far," said Ruff. "They saw ice time for us last season, and they have taken the initiative to lead the team so far. They should all have good years for us.
"We're basically a young team and we'll be bringing up JV players along the way. Our JVs are off to a good start this season."
Ruff also noted the team's lack of consistent play that has plagued them, and he has taken full responsibility for their start.
"We have played good, intense hockey," said Ruff. "We can go out there and play five minutes of good hockey and then let up. We have worked to make adjustments before the game in the locker room. We are starting to see a difference.
"But we just haven't been mentally prepared enough and that falls upon me. Obviously, we are not good enough yet."
However, Ruff is confident his club can turn the corner soon.
"I think we'll be there," he added. "We have the talent here, and we have a good work ethic. We just have to stay positive and keep plugging away."