MINNEAPOLIS - Mercyhurst College women’s hockey coach Michael Sisti smiled when asked about his team’s morning practice on Thursday at the University of Minnesota‘s Ridder Arena.
“You want honesty?” Sisti asked, which evoked laughter from media members during the opening news conference at the NCAA Division I Frozen Four.
“It was probably the worst practice of the season,” he said. A blend of nerves and excitement left the Lakers unfocused for their first on-ice workout in preparation for Friday’s 6 p.m. ET semifinal game against Cornell.
“Some players were trying too much,” Sisti said. “Some were nervous. Some were probably trying to conserve energy for (Friday’s game). But it’s all right. We’ve solved so many problems on the go. That’s the story of our season.”
The Lakers understand the magnitude of this national championship tournament and the talent Cornell, Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth possess. “We’re excited,” junior forward Jesse Scanzano said. “But we’re definitely nervous because you never know what could happen in that one game.”
Sisti said the thought of skating his players hard in Friday morning’s skate crossed the coaching staff’s mind on Thursday. “But calmer heads prevailed,” he said. Instead, Sisti has scheduled an optional skate – his normal game-day plan all season. Despite the subpar practice on Thursday, Sisti isn’t concerned about his team.
“What’s great with this team is the resilience and also the focus when it’s time to focus,” he said. “With some of the maturity (on this young team), there’s days where we may not have everyone dialed in on every single day. But when it’s time to play, they play. They’d be nuts not to show up ready to play awesome. They know what’s at stake.” Read the rest of this entry »