The Hastings girls hockey team is not where they would like to be record wise. The Raiders are 4-16-1 overall, and 3-5-0 in the Metro East Conference with four games left in the regular season. The good news is that head coach Josh Colvin has identified several problem areas that need improvement over the end of the season.

"One of the things we know is that our non-conference schedule is going to be tough, as far as our section opponents," he said. "We've had some inconsistent efforts at times. But the biggest consistent theme, unfortunately, is penalties. Especially stick penalties, trippings, hooks, those kind of things where we're just not moving our feet enough. So if we can clean up our penalties and stay out of the box, we at least put ourselves in chance to be competitive."

"The other thing is, the hardest thing in hockey is scoring goals," Colvin continued. "It's not rocket science. Coach Audra (Richards), who is with us, is always talking to the girls 'you just have to shoot the puck and get to the net'. We just need to get more girls buying into that and getting pucks on net."

However, there are some positives heading into the last stretch of the season. After battling injuries for much of the last two months, Colvin said his team has finally started to get healthy. On top of that, he praised the play of goalie Alayna Kunshier and the lower squads.

"Alayna has really stepped up her game and realized the kind of work it takes to consistently keep us in games," he explained. "The other thing is our junior varsity has been playing lights out. So you're going to see, now we're starting to shuffle our lineup up a little bit. Some of these ninth-graders are going to get some game-time that maybe juniors or seniors or sophomores have gotten as we try and figure out the right combination down this home stretch. The success that those freshmen have had is a great thing and it's going to put some pressure on our older girls to try and up their game."

Colvin said, like last year, he expects to make a nice little run at the end of the season, but also that he and the coaching staff needs to figure out how they can not start so slow.

Hastings has four games left this regular season before section playoffs. They hosted Mahtomedi on Tuesday, Jan. 23, and are at home on Saturday, Jan. 27, against Henry Sibley. Then they wrap up the season with two road games on Tuesday, Jan. 30, against Rosemount and Saturday, Feb. 3, at Simley.