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Barker reflects on first year so far, knows improvement is on the horizon

December 18, 2013

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Brian Barker is in his first season with the Notre Dame Prep hockey team. Despite a slow start, he’s confident the season, and his tenure, will be a successful.

PONTIAC — He loves the effort, the tenacity, the attitude put forth on a daily basis.

He sees the confidence growing, the mistakes being limited.

And the wins, well, those will come, too. All in good time.

“The guys have stayed positive and upbeat. They’re working hard every day,” Pontiac Notre Dame Prep hockey coach Brian Barker said last week. “One of the main things I wanted to change here was the attitude, which we’ve started to do. Because of that, we can’t be overly concerned with a record just yet.”

Prep was 0-5-1 to start the season under Barker, who is in his first year behind the Prep bench.

In the five losses, though, two were by a single goal, and two others were a one-goal game before an empty net score was recorded.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Barker said about finding some consistency in the win column. “We’re right there, right in so many of these games.”

The lack of winning has been taxing, but not entirely surprising, he said.

The team, obviously, had to adjust to a new coach, who is adjusting to his first head-coaching job.

While the Fighting Irish did have 10 returning seniors when the year started, there were also three freshmen on the varsity roster learning to play at the high school level.

The injury bug has also been a factor, with some of the team’s top players missing time here and there.

Most recently, captain Dallas Ingraham suffered a concussion and is out indefinitely.

“These are all challenges, but we’re working at them,” Barker said. “We were held scoreless in the first few games. Now, we’re scoring more. We’ve had some chances to win. We just have to keep working.”

Besides getting healthy, capitalizing in on chances is the main thing Barker said needs to improve.

“We’re getting them; we have chances, we’re just not cashing in yet,” he said. “We’ve had three or four breakaways and haven’t scored, for example. Once we do that, once we start making the most of what we’re working for, we’re going to turn things around.”

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