AHL Game Night 2/2: Falcons at Crunch
I missed the first 3 minutes of the game, but I'm watching it live on B2 Networks.
SYR Platt, (19) (Lindstrom, Picard), 2:23
SYR Platt, (20) (Walser, Lindstrom), 4:05
SYR Walser, (6) (Platt, Picard), 14:27 (PP)
SYR Labelle, (6) (Simon, Verot), 0:21
SYR Pineault, (8) (Glencross, Murray), 14:37
First Period Notes
Well, right off the top, the Falcons only have one natural center in the lineup tonight in Dan Cavanaugh. Blair Jones is obviously still up with the Lightning and I haven't caught the exact reason Daniel Corso is out of the lineup, but it's really playing hell with the team's lines. And, I have to say, it says something about how Coach Stirling feels about Cavanaugh that he's the only natural center in the lineup tonight and he still can't get on a scoring line.
As I said, I didn't catch the first goal but the second Syracuse goal was a centering feed that bounced in off Doug O'Brien. The third goal was a power play talley by Syracuse where Ramo made the initial save after a cross crease pass but the rebound squirted into the slot for an easy rebound goal. I can't necessarily fault Ramo, but I've seen Karri play better this season.
Wanvig is a lot more skilled than advertised and actually beat a Syracuse d-man 1-on-1 midway through the period to manufacture himself a breakaway. Unfortunately he couldn't finish after deking to the backhand. Baby is hitting anything that moves. Unfortunately that hasn't led to any offense yet. I'd say Wanvig and Kvapil were the most dangerous forwards for Springfield in the opening 20, but that's not saying much.
Second Period Notes
I really, really don't like what I'm seeing in this game. Ramo looks incredibly frustrated with the way the team is playing in front of him, the younger players look like deer in headlights and the veterans look, well, they look beaten. The power play looks awful, none of the bounces are going Springfield's way. It isn't pretty at all.
The Crunch scored their 4th goal 21 seconds into the period as a puck bounced in off Labelle's skate and past Ramo. Their 5th goal was an incredible shot from Adam Pineault who beat Ramo cleanly with a perfect wrist shot high glove side from the left wing circle.
Adam Henrich doesn't look completely out of place centering the first line offensively, but at the same time he hasn't really created any scoring chances either. Healey and Milley started to pick it up late in the period.
Keller looks like he's struggling with conditioning issues a bit and that second line really doesn't have a playmaker. I'll be interested to see what Jones can do centering Keller and Wanvig.
Stephen Baby started playing more minutes in that period on the third line with Cavanaugh and Kvapil and they look like the most cohesive line so far tonight. Kvapil doesn't play enough. I don't know what Stirling's beef is with the young man, but I do know he provides a spark and right now this is a team that desperately needs a spark offensively. Baby is huge. As tall as he is, he's about that wide. He seriously blots out the sun and he moves well for a big man.
I'd also like to see more Smolenak now that the game's gotten out of hand. Also, put Boutin in. Leaving a frustrated Ramo in won't help anyone in the long run.
Third Period Notes
Well, if there's a positive to take from this game, it's how Jonathan Boutin played in that third period allowing no goal and really anticipating the play well, especially on a long 5-on-3 power play for Syracuse. I also have to extend a tip of the cap to Mike Egener for running down Curtis Glenncross and challenging him to a fight after a high hit on Dan Cavanaugh laid out his teammate. You expect nothing less from a stand up team guy like Egener. Finally, Matt Smaby. He ended the game even with 3 shots on goal and was rewarded with some power play time toward the end of the game (although that may also be a function of the fact the Falcons were 0-for-7 on the PP tonight). For not being in game condition, Keller did decent as well. He nearly created a goal stripping a Crunch defender behind the net at one point during the third period. Hopefully by the time the weekend is over his fitness level will return, Blair Jones will get back on the team and he, Jones and Wanvig can start working together as a unit.
Best chance of the night came to Adam Henrich who got a rebound to the right of Dan LaCosta after a blistering Andy Rogers shot from the slot. He had all day, a down and out goaltender and 1/3 of the net staring at him and I still have no idea how he didn't score. Henrich and Smolenak had a nice little shift at the end of the game where Smolenak would line up in a position to shoot on an offensive zone faceoff and Henrich won 2 or 3 draws in a row and Radek got some pretty good shots on goal.
By the way, final verdict on Daniel Corso: out with the flu.