A SPECIAL Performance

Posted: 2009/10/18 by Mike in 2009-2010 Regular Season

The boys started the winning ways Saturday night on the back of rookie goaltender Jeremy Smith’s shutout performance  and an absolutely stellar Penalty Killing effort. You can read Hammer’s recap here.

Coach Weber has a saying about goaltending that goes “make all of the stops you’re supposed to, and few of the ones you’re not.” Needless to say Smith took this to heart, stopping everything on a way to a shutout in his pro debut. Thankfully the B2 was functional for the game so I was lucky enough to get to see it. While the the Boys did an excellent job of blocking shots in front of Smith, Johnstown did have several chances to put the pressure on and when they did Jeremy was up to the task each time.

Speaking of Johnstown putting pressure on, you would think 8 Power Play chances would help, but just as they did at even strength the Cyclones defense cut off passing lanes, blocked shots and cleared pucks from trouble areas near the net. Even when Johnstown was able to create some chances Smith played large. According to the ECHL stat sheets the Cyclones killed of all 10 of their short handed situations this weekend (2 on Friday and 8 on Saturday). That’s a far cry from the Penalty Killing of last season. What a difference a year makes. My main concern is the simple fact that the boys took 8 penalties for the game. Regardless of how solid the PK is, taking that many penalties is playing with fire, especially with offense not firing on all cylinders.

I’m not sure how concerned Chuck is with it yet, but when the Penalty Killing Squad is putting up more offense than the Power Play, and half the goals for the team on the year, it raises and eyebrow in my book. Granted the boys have only played 2 games and odds are the offense will come together especially since the line up is now set going into the first full week of practice of the regular season. I’m expecting big things going into the home and home against Wheeling this coming weekend.

I’m giving a big thumbs up to the defense in last nights game. From the goaltending, to the penalty killing, to the play at even strength, they were simply stellar. The games thumbs down goes to the offense. The puck control and pressure is there, the Boys just have to be able to finish. Scoring opportunistic goals on the PK is great, but if the boys don’t start finding the back of the net at even strength and on the PP, it’s going to be a long season. In time I’m confident things will come together.

-Mike-

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