The Yorkton RawTec Maulers are struggling early in the Saskatchewan AAA Midget Hockey League.
The Maulers have found only one win in nine starts for two points to sit 11th in the 12-team league.
Mauler head coach Kevin Rawlick said the problem starts with discipline.
Rawlick said some of the penalties have been obvious but there are too many where the players are getting behind and reach out with their sticks.
“They’re trying to understand what they can get away with, but some of it’s not moving their feet … lazy penalties,” he said.
And the number of penalties has taxed the defence.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to stay out of the box,” he said, adding the Mauler penalty kill is only operating at a 14 per cent success rate.
“It’s the chicken before the egg. Are we that bad (on the penalty kill) or gassed from taking too many?”
Rawlick said it is a situation that has the Maulers back at the drawing board, looking at the opportunity to use different players on the PK, as well as different set plays while short-handed.
Beyond the penalty kill, Rawlick said the team has to settle and gain some confidence as they focus on getting the .500 mark.
“Five-hundred gets you a lot in this league. It usually gets you into the playoffs. It gets you a team building confidence,” he said.
That process will mean getting beyond a bad set of three losses on home ice.
The Maulers hosted Regina last Wednesday, Oct. 10, and were pummeled 9-1 by the visitors.
Things did not get much better on the weekend as the Beardys Blackhawks visited the Farrell Agencies Arena for a pair of games.
The Blackhawks held a 2-0 lead after 20-minutes of play and added three unanswered goals in the second to extend the lead to 5-0.
The third period was more of the same as the visitors added two, while Mauler shooters failed to solve Tyler Peterson, who turned away all 25 Yorkton shots to round out a 7-0 win for Beardys.
The teams met again Sunday, with the Maulers finding some offence early. Goals by Massen Ziola and Carter Dereniwsky scored in the first period gave the home team a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.
It was a reverse of fortunes as Kylen Taphorn scored the Maulers’ only goal of the second period, sandwiched between two Beardys’ goals, leaving the teams deadlocked 3-3 after two periods.
In the third, the Blackhawks pulled ahead with a pair of goals and held the lead the rest of the way as the two teams exploded for seven third period markers.
Only two of the seven were from Mauler shooters (Jayden Harris and Tanner Hoffman), who scored in the eventual 8-5 loss.