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Marlins working on communication heading into season opener

Mitchell Marlins second-year head coach Cody Denne kept blowing his whistle during Tuesday's hockey practice. During passing drills, Denne kept stressing that the Marlins' chemistry wasn't where it needed to be before the season opener at 7 p.m. ...

Mitchell Marlins forward Isabel Bathke controls the puck during passing drills on Tuesday at a girls hockey practice at the Mitchell Activities Center in Mitchell. (Garrick Hodge/Republic)
Mitchell Marlins forward Isabel Bathke controls the puck during passing drills on Tuesday at a girls hockey practice at the Mitchell Activities Center in Mitchell. (Garrick Hodge/Republic)

Mitchell Marlins second-year head coach Cody Denne kept blowing his whistle during Tuesday's hockey practice.

During passing drills, Denne kept stressing that the Marlins' chemistry wasn't where it needed to be before the season opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against Watertown at the Toshiba Rink in Mitchell.

"We're lacking communication right now," Denne said. "We're not playing as a team and we need to get more focused on what we need to accomplish this season. Hopefully, we have it cleaned up by Saturday. (Tuesday) was one of the worst practices we've had in awhile, but outside of that, everything has been going pretty well so far."

Working on finding where other players are on the ice isn't anything new to the Marlins, though.

"I'm hoping that we're more team players this year," Marlins junior forward Emily Spates said. "I'm hoping we're better communicating on the ice, because last year we didn't really do that well. I think this year we really improved on being a team altogether and not having so much drama."

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Mitchell will try to build off an 11-12 record a season ago without two of its tops scorers from 2014.

The Marlins will miss Kylie Barington, who accumulated 56 points (36 goals, 20 assists) last season and Jacey Brunsen (13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points) for their scoring presence.

Grace Halvorson (five goals, four assists for nine points in 2014), Faith Halvorson (two goals and three assists for five points last year), Kaihlen Smith (seven goals, four assists for 11 points) and Madison Arnold (12 goals, six assists for 18 points) will be asked to pick up the scoring for Mitchell.

"Offensively, we've been working on picking up our spots and where to be on the ice," Denne said. "Position is key. We need to know when to move, when to change lanes and stuff like that instead of driving to the same lane all the time."

Defensively, Bailey Hohn (six assists and four goals for 10 points in 2014), Shannen Koch, Maggie Dailey and Sarah Zimmerman each hope to make Marlins goalie Katelyn Uithoven's life easier.

"I hope we can win a banner this year," Hohn said. "I think we will have a shot to win some games."

Meanwhile, Uithoven-the lone goalie on the Marlins' roster-returns for her third year in the net after saving 83 percent of shots against her and after recording 123 saves in 2014.

"She's rock solid," Denne said. "I'm really confident in her in the net."

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Despite early struggles, Denne said just because the Marlins haven't been perfect in practice doesn't mean his team won't see any success on the ice this season.

"I know we'll get better," he said. "I have a good solid team all the way through."

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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