Sunday Sports: Watertown Wolves prepare for post season
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Wolves ended their 2021-22 regular season atop the standings in the Federal Prospects Hockey League with a 43-12 record, capturing the regular season title, and in the process, earning a first round bye in the playoffs.
For Wolves Coach Brent Clarke, the formula for success this season centered on the veteran leadership on the team.
”I think it’s our leadership core. Taking the young guys under their wing. I mean, we got a lot of young players. I think we have 14 or 15 first year players and the 5, 6 veterans that came in here, they did a great job. That room is very tight in there and when you’re like a family it shows on the ice,” said Clarke.
One of those veterans is defenseman Justin Coachman, who says the disappointment of the Wolves sitting out last season with a championship caliber roster due to COVID concerns is in the past. The players are now focused on bringing home the Wolves 3rd championship in team history.
”Of course we had that shutdown last year, but Clarkie definitely came back with an even better team than we had. We’ve been strong from the beginning, we just found a way and we’ve been winning games and of course it shows with clinching first. Very excited to go into playoffs this year. I think we have a really good chance. Like I said, we have a great team, so I’m really excited about that,” said Coachman.
The Wolves boasted one of the best offenses in the league, scoring 292 goals while allowing just 184 goals. That’s a differential of +108, the best in the league.
In order for the Wolves to be successful in the postseason, both Clarke and Coachman say the team has to keep playing their brand of hockey.
”Just keep playing our game, keeping it simple. We have some great offense and a better defense, so as long as we take care of our own end, the offense will come,” said Coachman.
”You know, staying disciplined, doing our game plan, everybody pulling the same rope, and just having that one mindset, that one goal in mind right now and that’s to bring a championship back here to Watertown,” said Clarke.
The Wolves, by virtue of winning the regular season title, earn a bye into the semifinals and get to choose who they will play from the winner of the 2 first round playoff series.
The Wolves first semifinal game will be Friday, April 29th and Clarke says despite not playing for nearly 2 weeks, the Wolves won’t be taking any time off.
”Yeah, I mean no days off. Let’s not get that confused. I mean, we’re going to be practicing our butts off here for the next 3, 4 days starting Monday with a plan on one of two teams we could pick in the semifinal round. You know, winning first place, you get to choose this year. Kind of a cool idea, see how it works out,” said Clarke.
The Wolves hoping it works out with the team bringing home a Federal Prospects Hockey League championship.
Copyright 2022 WWNY. All rights reserved.