RICHLAND HILLS – Normally, Midlothian hockey coach Ryan Pfeiffer is a man of few words to his team following a game. His post-game speech is generally a few brief words before he leaves his team to get dressed.
But on the Thursday night, the discussion Pfeiffer had with his team was long and of a totally different tone. Following a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Keller, the players discussed how they felt being the brunt of a beating both on the ice and from the stands. Pfeiffer offered the best advice he knew.
“(I) just had a heart to heart about getting our focus on why we’re here and not how much fun we have together. It would be a hell of a lot more fun with each other after the game if we’re the guys that got everybody cheering like we were getting cheered on today,” Pfeiffer said. “They didn’t like what they were hearing so I said you should have thought about that when the score was 0-0.”
Over the course of the night, the Panthers (16-4-1) were beaten by a Keller team out to prove it deserved the top spot in the league standings. Both teams came into the night as the top two teams from the West Division with Keller holding a slight edge at only two losses.
The result – Keller started and finished strong and for the one of the few times this season, Midlothian had no answer.
A lone goal by Matt Bassett in the second period was the lone highlight of the night as the team was outshot 28-15 making it the first time since the midway point of the season that had happened.
With just two games left in the regular season, Midlothian will get a chance to end on a win streak and will have a crack at revenge. After a game with Arlington Martin on March 2, the regular season will finish out with a game against Keller on March 4. The game against Colleyville Heritage originally scheduled for Feb. 11 has not been rescheduled yet.
The key according to Pfeiffer will be how his team handles the loss and what it intends to do heading into playoffs. His approach to coaching has gone from directing to seeing if the team understands what he’s been telling them along.
In the end, that might be a hard direction to head in but he feels it’s the right one.
“Underachieving is hard to accept as a coach when you remember it as a player and how much it pissed you off but you could something about it then and you can’t do anything about it as a coach except beg and try to communicate,” Pfeiffer said. “Today was just a lot less medicine in the dog food and more here’s the medicine will you please eat it? I’m tired of putting it in your dog food.”