Playing in their first competitive series over the weekend, the Tulsa Junior Oilers lost three straight games to the Dallas Ice Jets at the Polar Ice House in Grapevine, Texas.
“I think the weekend really opened our players eyes and showed them just how hard they’re going to have to work to be successful,” said Jr. Oilers Head Coach Zac Desjardins. “This weekend definitely proved that they have to step up the physical aspect of their game and bring more intensity in practice.”
As a brand new team, Desjardins knows the Jr. Oilers will have their share of struggles but he wants his players to stay focused on the positives.
“I told the guys that we are going to slowly build on our achievements,” said Desjardins. “Let’s win one shift, let’s win the period, and we can build from there. On Sunday, our penalty kill was 100-percent and I was encouraged by what I saw from our special teams. Those are areas that will only get better when we start focusing on them in practice.”
The Ice Jets, WSHL runner-up last season, outscored the Jr. Oilers 35-1 in the three contests. Ben Reaman, a forward from Crested Butte, Colorado, scored the Jr. Oilers first goal of the season and lone goal of the weekend. He was assisted by Brad Raucci.
“It was great to see Ben score that goal,” Desjardins said. “It was a nice breakout play to set up the goal and I know all the guys on the bench were happy to see that one go in.”
The Jr. Oilers have three weeks to prepare for their first home series which begins on Friday, October 12 against the Texas Jr. Brahmas.
“Now we have our first games under our belt, we’ve got the jitters out, and we know what we have to do to play at a top level,” Desjardins said. “Overall, I was really pleased with the effort and the attitude this weekend. We kept a positive atmosphere throughout the locker room and in the hotel and now it’s time to get back to work.”