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Monday, October 20, 2008

Impressions from the Bridgeport game: 1st Period

That was a nice shorthanded goal by Raduns. Too bad I know it'll be our only marker of the night, and things will proceed downhill from here. :( Raduns and Nodl were the forwards on that PK unit. Syvret and Curry were our D. Kalinsky and Cabana were our next pair of forwards on the PK, and they got a couple more nice chances. We looked good on that entire PK, in fact. As much as Paddock will have video from this past weekend that he can review with the team, so they know what NOT to do the next time a similar situation arises, we can file the video from that particular penalty kill under "A Job Well Done".

Five minutes into the game, we lead in SOG 5 to 1, including the fact that we spent two of those minutes shorthanded and scored into the bargain. We've also chalked up a fight and right now I'm watching the Cabana, Clackson, and Szwez trio in a little conference with their SoundTiger counterparts behind the Bridgeport net. So if anything, we came out of the gate with plenty of jump.

OMG during our next penalty kill, Aubin makes a save for the highlight reels. Wow, that was nice. At this point in the game, we don't look anything like a team that's about to give up five unanswered goals during the course of the rest of the contest. In fact, we look like the distinctly better team. However, the next shift during the same PP was when the SoundTigers managed to tie the score. Smith's shot from the slot went through two Phantoms and a SoundTiger standing right in front of Aubin. So on the one hand, I wonder if Aubin was screened or if its trajectory changed on its way to the net. On the other hand, Aubin is already down on his knees in anticipation of the puck's arrival, so my presumption is that he did know the shot was coming.

On our first PP, I was a little surprised to see Aubin leave the puck behind the net for our D to retrieve. Usually, the veteran goalies are the ones who are willing to make a long outlet pass to get it back to our guys ASAP. The second time this happened, maybe it was because our guys were about ready for a line change. Syvret (first PP D pair) collected the puck, but by the time we returned to the SoundTigers zone, our second PP D pair was on the ice.

Speaking of whom, said PP D pair was Ratchuk and DeSantis; two rookies. Again, I like seeing Paddock give responsibility to our young guys right from the start of the season. Because he does that, at the END of the season, we won't be able to tell at a glance which players are rookies vs. which ones are more experienced.

Boy, Guenin blocks a lot of shots. If he doesn't lead the team in that stat so far this season, I would love to see who does.

I just saw the go-ahead goal. Joensuu, standing near the boards just in front of the goal line, directed the puck on net because he had Bentivoglio charging in on goal. Aubin made an initial stop, with his skate jammed up against the post. However, he was either caught moving to anticipate where the puck would be next, or his momentum slid him a bit to his right..That's when the puck got deflected into the net through the space left open when Aubin started moving away from the post. It originally looked like it was going to be a cross-ice pass by Joensuu. Instead, the puck wound up being a pinball whose ultimate destination was in the net. Let that be a pair of lessons to our young guys: A. Get the puck toward the net at every opportunity, even when you're in no way in position to score yourself. B. Crash the net. Just being in front might make the difference. You don't get extra style points for shooting it in vs. having it deflect in off you somehow. DeSantis was all over Bentivoglio, but that wasn't enough to prevent the goal in the split-second sequence of bounces the puck took after Aubin made the save at the post.

How aggravating to be in the game and competitive all period long, only to end up trailing when the puck goes in on a play like that. At this point in the game, the Sound Tigers have all of six SOG, but two of them counted. Argh.

Shortly after we got scored on, Powe made a NICE move and came close to tying the score, but Mannino came up with an even nicer save. He earned a much-deserved "Great Save" graphic on the scoreboard for that one.

The same Bridgeport line that scored the second goal burned us again a few shifts later. They came in on a 2-on-1 and Ratchuk was unable to prevent the cross-ice pass.Aubin had to move WAY east-west to track the puck, he was already down in a butterfly, and Joensuu found plenty of open net up high to aim at. He scored the proverbial flying-water-bottle goal. Now the SoundTigers have three goals on seven shots in this period.

NOW I see what triggered the second fight. Szwez and his line, once again, were the next ones on the ice after we gave up a goal, and he immediately went with Jackman. Nice to see that he not only knows when to attempt to fire up the team, but he managed to win a bout with the same guy that defeated Powe in a fight earlier in the period. I like his sense of timing AND his choice of sparring partners there. Oh, and the fact that he won the fight at that particular time is icing on the cake. ;)

We've reached the first intermission. Matsumoto and Powe have gotten nice opportunities in the first, but Mannino has been up to the challenge. They need to keep on doing whatever they've been doing to keep creating those chances. If they do that, the pucks will start going in. Then we'll actually give our goalie more than a one-goal lead to work with, which is something I don't think we've had since opening night. Meanwhile, Aubin was down on his knees in a butterfly for all three goals against. I know there were some mitigating factors like deflections and cross-ice passes that make a goalie's life harder, but I'd like to see him make himself larger in goal. When he's down on the ice, it seems to give our opponents too much net to shoot at. Maybe getting up sooner, or not going down as soon, will help matters.

On to watching Period 2.

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