Preseason Game Night 9/29: Wolf Pack at Falcons

Bolt Prospects is watching this game live on B2: HFD-5 SPR-3 Final [b]1st Period[/b] 1. SFD Cavanaugh, ([url=darren-reid]Reid[/url]) 2. SFD [url=adam-henrich]Henrich[/url], ([url=radek-smolenak]Smolenak[/url]) [b]2nd Period[/b] 3. HFD Jessiman, (Smith) [b]3rd Period[/b] 4. HFD Falardeau, (unassisted)(PP) 5. HFD Lee, (Bochenski, Moore) 6. HFD Falardeau, (Weller, Grahame) 7. SPR Adams, (Boisclair, Cavanaugh)(PP) 8. HFD Moore, (unassisted)(EN) [i][b]First Period:[/b] Very good period for Reid, Cavanaugh, Henrich, Atherton and Czuy, in my opinion. You have no idea how great it would be if Artyukhin would come back to North America so we could have a line with "R2" and Czuy (pronounced "Chewie") on a line together. First shift of the game Reid absolutely hammers a Wolf Pack player on the forecheck. Darren Reid hockey. He was active, especially on the penalty kill, and got an assist on Dan Cavanaugh's goal where Cavanaugh toe dragged around a Hartford defender at the left wing circles and snapped home the first goal of the game. Henrich's goal came on a seemingly harmless 2-on-2, maybe a partial 3-on-2, with Smolenak steaming down the left wing. Henrich's man fell asleep and Adam got free at the high slot, took the pass and quickly wristed it home for the 2-0 lead. Falcons got into the box far too much in the second half of the first period, but the team is blocking shots left and right, something they didn't do last season. Gerald Coleman doesn't seem to be following the puck terribly well, but fortunately he hasn't had too much work. The only negative early has been Sylvain Dufresne. He got caught flat footed and got beat wide early in the game and also failed to clear the zone at least one other occassion in the first. Falcons need to stay out of the box now and get back on the attack at even strength. [b]Second Period:[/b] Very good period for Smolenak and Reid. Smolenak drew a penalty with his speed about halfway through the period busting down right wing on a partial breakaway where he got off a weak backhand. He later showed off some outstanding skill on the rush late in the second doing the "Vincent Lecavalier move" putting the puck behind his back off his right skate and kicking it to the blade of his stick on a right wing rush. Hartford defender Kenny Smith seemed pretty angry Smolenak tried to show him up so the two dropped the gloves but no punches were thrown. Darren Reid is just a fun player to watch at the AHL level. He finishes every check, gets in every shooting and passing lane and also had an excellent pass to Desharnais on a 5-on-3 power play that went, unfortunately, unconverted. Jessiman's goal came on a broken play. Falcons had number with 4 men in the zone and only 3 Wolf Pack on the rush but the puck squirted through two players to the middle of the slot where Jessiman beat Coleman cleanly. Gerald saw a little more work early in the period, but Springfield is still blocking a ton of shots. Springfield may live to regret their lost power play opportunities in this game. After Smolenak drew the power play midway through the period Hartford took a major for high sticking to give up the 5-on-3 but Springfield squandered it all. The best chance for the Falcons came on a Doug Andress breakaway but the defenseman missed the net on his shot. I would say the power play is a concern, but I doubt any of these players will be on the Falcons' regular power play unit during the regular season and I suspect Andy Delmore will give the Falcons plenty of punch with the extra man. I'd like to see more of Todd Griffith. He hasn't had the puck much, but what little he has he seems to know what to do with it. Jay Rosehill looks so much more comfortable this year than he did a year ago and Waugh looks a lot now like Rosehill did then. The interesting thing about Waugh is, he looks big, slow and stiff, but he's got good balance and agility and is hard to shake in the defensive zone. I'm loving the way PJ Atherton is taking the body in this game although he had a couple of weak clears in this period. Sylvain Dufresne has tightened up somewhat and almost got a goal late jumping into the play at even strength and getting a centering pass from Czuy from behind the net. [b]Third Period:[/b] I don't think anyone played their way on to the Falcons roster tonight, but a couple of players might have played their way off. Unfortunately, one of those may be Jonathan Boutin who allowed 3 goals on 13 shots after being inserted into the game in the third period to take the loss. None of the goals were necessarily soft, but a couple of them were saves the Falcons needed from Boutin to get the win. Falardeau's first goal came on the power play as he came in on the rush 1=on-2 and split the pairing of Atherton and Adams. Adam tried to lean in for a hip check and missed and Atherton looked like a matador as Falardeau got off a backhand that squirted five hole on Boutin. Atherton may have played his way off the team as well as he was on the ice for 2 of the 3 goals Boutin allowed and, along with Waugh and others, looked horrible for a 6-7 minute span of the third. The next Wolf Pack goal came after defensive zone coverage broke down and Greg Moore was left all alone on the door step one on one with Boutin. Boots made the original save point blank but in the ensuing scrum a Hartford shot went off the post bounded out and hit Boutin's leg and went in. The final Pack goal Boutin allowed came on an unscreened Falardeau wrister from the right wing circles that beat Boutin clean. Not good. The Falcons' power play goal came on a scrum off a shot from the wing by Cavanaugh that led to a goal mouth scramble. Boisclair got a couple of whacks at it before Adam jumped in and collected the loose change. Boisclair, by the way, has a ridiculously hard and nasty snap shot. Unfortunately his turnover led to the empty net goal to cap the game. Sylvain Dufresne was beat badly with speed wide twice in this game which is a definite concern. He may be playing himself from a safe spot on the team onto the bubble. Darren Reid, unsurprisingly, was the best player for the Falcons along with Dan Cavanaugh. Radek Smolenak may have helped himself the most showing good speed and a ridiculous set of stickhandling skills for a man his size. He is dangerous on the rush, and after another couple of years of seasoning, I suspect he'll be an NHLer. The good news is, this was probably 3/4 of the Johnstown Chiefs on the ice tonight. The Falcons won't roll out their big guns until tomorrow night against Providence.[/i]

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Exactly

"The good news is, this was probably 3/4 of the Johnstown Chiefs on the ice tonight. The Falcons won't roll out their big guns until tomorrow night against Providence." This was my thought reading through this. Good to hear that Smolenak played well and Reid was a leader by example. As mentioned, most of the rest are basically tweeners at this point. Did Coleman look like he had improved in areas he was lacking last year?

Hard to Tell

14 of Hartford's 33 shots came in the 3rd period. Coleman only had to face 19, and that's probably generous from the scorekeepers. He only faced maybe 2 or 3 real quality scoring chances all game. They blocked a ton of shots for him. Hrdel really shot himself in the foot too. You can't be invisible when you're one of only a handful on forwards on the ice who isn't a rookie.

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