By Scott Mackar
With an overall record of 163-59-17 in only eight years of existence, the Mercyhurst College women’s hockey team has been molded by head coach Michael Sisti into one of the most feared programs in the nation.
Sisti stresses maintaining possession of the puck as a key ingredient to ordering up the W. “The more you have the puck, the better your chance of winning the game, because you create more offensive opportunities,” he says. “Defending a team that possesses and handles the puck well is hard to do, because it requires you to exert so much energy.”
Sisti offers some puck handling tips for maintaining possession.
1. Don’t panic when you’re pressured; use your body to shield off opponents, and move away from pressure until help arrives.
2. Anticipate a checker coming at you by maintaining balance and having the puck in good position with your body.
3. Keep the puck close to your body and in position to shoot or pass. Leaving the puck out in front—exposed to the defender—makes it vulnerable when pressure is applied.
4. Don’t telegraph passes; keep the defense guessing with a look or quick shoulder lean in one direction, then move the puck the opposite way.
5. If you’re under pressure and no one is open, look to find the safest area where you can put the puck until help arrives. Don’t throw the puck away carelessly.