Four games in four nights.
The Williamsport Outlaws received a harsh introduction to the 2012-13 season with four consecutive games out of the gate - all four losses - so head coach Chris Firriolo gave his team Sunday and Monday off.
The team was expected to return to the ice on Tuesday for a practice but Mother Nature gave the Outlaws an added day to refuel and recharge for Thursday's home game against the 1000 Island Privateers.
"We obviously lost a practice today because of the weather, but I'm not too worried about it," said Firriolo.
The Outlaws' coach said the team went to the gym twice on Tuesday and hopes he can get it on the ice this morning at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field, but added today's practice could be anywhere from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. depending on the weather and ice rink preparation.
The added day off may turn into a blessing for a team that has been using 16 players (10 forwards and six defensemen) compared to 18 for their opponents and was the lone team in the league to play the first four nights of the season, including separate trips to New England and New York.
Firriolo expects his team will have a full compliment of players on Friday or Saturday and could have a 17th player on Thursday with the addition of defenseman Kevin Hamel, who has been a previous teammate of Paul D'Agostino, Trevor Karasiewicz and Rob Sich in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
The Outlaws, the defending Federal Hockey League champions, enter Thursday night's game 0-3-1, with their only point coming in an overtime loss last Friday night at home when they held a two-goal lead.
Firriolo said he saw a lot of parity throughout the league during its opening weekend and thinks his team can make up ground quickly in the standings with one hot streak.
"I've been doing this a long time and have been in every situation," said Firriolo. "I've seen teams lose their first six or seven games and went on to win a championship. It's a marathon not a sprint and I'm confident in these guys and that in the next couple of weeks they'll make a big run."
Firriolo gave three reasons for his team's slow start:
1) The Outlaws didn't have a chance to condition right away because they started their training camp a few days late.
2) Every team is gunning for the Outlaws after they dominated on their way to a FHL championship last year.
3) His team had a lot of turnover from a year ago and the guys are still learning each other's tendencies.
"We're at 60 percent of where we're going to be," said Firriolo. "We took some lumps and we can't forget that taste, but I feel by the time we get to the playoffs we'll have a squad on par with last year at that point."
The Outlaws will play home games Thursday and Friday before traveling to Massachusetts on Saturday to play the Cape Cod Bluefins, one of the two teams the Outlaws have yet to meet this year in the six-team FHL.
"The guys should be rested and have their legs underneath them," said Firriolo.