Few quick thoughts and observations from Charlotte’s 3-2 loss to Rockford.
1. Overall the Checkers were coasting to an extent during the whole game, even with the 2-0 lead the team had the look of players ready for the all-star break. As the lead started slipping they did not get urgent until it was too late.
2. To add to the coasting losing Dalpe to an injury and Bowman for 17 minutes for policing the hit to Dalpe really sucked the energy out of the team.
3. The first power play looked great with Sanguinetti putting an absolute laser into the back of the net. The 3 minutes they got on the boarding major was ugly and was really the turning point of the game. Charlotte could have put Rockford away but that kill really gave the Icehogs some momentum going forward.
4. The 5-3 PK in the first period was huge by Muse and the PK unit. They kept to their lanes, Muse made some nice saves and they applied just enough pressure to cause Rockford to mess up on their own a few times.
5. Muse continues to look good as a rookie free agent signing but his rebound control needs to get a little better and he is still adjusting to making saves around screens. Rockford’s last 2 goals were both screened out pretty well (including somewhat of a screen by our D on the last goal).
6. AJ Jenks had one of the best open ice hits the Checkers have had this year down near the goal. This kid looks even bigger than his stats and moves well for his size. Hopefully he continues to progress but if he winds up with Staal and Soryal on 4th line do not expect a ton of offense.
7. As much as I point out Soryal on the 4th line–he had one of his better offensive games in a while. Puck control and passing were more crisp and he avoided bad penalties.
8. I’m no coach but Boychuck and Dadonov need to be on different lines, both play a similar game and dont look like they complement each other very well. Plus they are two small guys on a the same line trying to back check and knock people off the puck.
9. A little more on Dalpe’s hit/injury. Honestly it did not look intentional but it is exactly why organized hockey needs to increase the penalty for any type of boarding. Its going to take a lot to get players mind-sets to change when they are going that fast but as players get bigger and faster more and more guys are going to go down on plays as simple as an extra push from an elbow.
10. Good luck to Nash on his lastest recall–he has been a great player all year even though his numbers are not huge. He came through big time when Matsumoto was traded and gave 110% even he had to center the 4th line and was not given as many offensive chances.
11. February is going to be a tough month for the team only 10 games but 7 of the next 8 are on the road. They also have two 3 games in 3 days and 3 games against the best team in the AHL Oklahoma City. If they come out of this stretch with a winning record the team should be well on their way to winning the division.