Duluth, MN – Generally, it’s not a cop out when a coach says he needs to review “the film” in order to fully evaluate the performance of his team for a particular game. Having sat through a number of film sessions I can tell you your perception of the game can change greatly after watching three periods of hockey period by period, goal by goal and turnover by turnover. That’s the disadvantage the typical fan has when watching a game in real time without the opportunity to review the development of a play leading to a turnover, goal etc. The post-game film session by the Huskies coaching staff probably revealed a lot more than their initial impressions following the 5-1 loss to the Bulldogs.
First of all, consider the Bulldogs scored 5 goals on 14 shots. Defensive breakdowns were obvious and it’s been the case for two consecutive games. It’s a concerning trend that needs to be corrected if the Huskies are to have success the balance of the season. Specifically, last night, the defensive breakdowns led to four of the UMD goals and the goal that was disallowed. Hrenak had little chance on most of the goals and the odds are simply not in a goaltenders favor when facing a 2×0 or a 2×1. The Bulldogs made it look easy when gifted the opportunity of these odd man rushes.
I think it’s fair to say the Huskies did put forth the effort and dominated segments of the game. I think it can further be said that the Huskies may have beaten themselves as opposed to considering a 5-1 result meant it was a dominating effort by the Bulldogs. The Huskies did in fact only allow 18 shots on goal by the Bulldogs. The two short-handed goals are simply unacceptable and certainly sealed the outcome of the game. This is not in any way taking away from the performance of the Bulldogs last night. The train got rolling and was never de-railed.
Little can be placed on goaltender Hrenak for the result of last nights game. He was hung out to dry on four of the goals and victimized by poor play of the SCSU defense. As a result, unless there is a game time decision to the contrary, you’ll see Hrenak in goal for the rematch on Saturday night.
The offense needs to get back on track and needs to be much better around the Bulldog goal. Scoring less than three goals a game (SCSU average entering the series =3.86) hurts their opportunity for success. Obviously, special teams play has to improve.
Expect a better outcome in the rematch.