So… the power play is going to need a little work.
RECAP - BOX SCORE – EMINIAN
The Rivermen went 0 for 6 on the power play tonight. That, in and of itself, isn’t that remarkable. There are plenty of nights where a team goes blank on the PP, but this one was bad simply because it was terribly inconsistent. At times I thought that the PP would be scoring in bunches, and at other times they wouldn’t be able to find the offensive zone with two hands, a flashlight, a clue, and a map.
In the end it didn’t matter as the boys shrugged off another slow start to come back and really dominate most of the play on the ice. It was a good win. Solid.
Plus, I like winning.
Now that I have gotten a chance to see them in person I am convinced that there is a good team (potentially) in that locker room. But it seems to me that there is still some bugs in the system that need to be worked out. There was one play in particular when all three forwards chased the puck to one side, only to stumble upon each other in surprise. It was as if they were stunned to find out that other people wearing their jersey could skate that far.
Little miscues here and there are fine. Tonight they didn’t end up breaking the Rivermen like they did in Abbotsford (can we just have those two back please?). They did cost us a goal, however, on a play that a marginally trained pee-wee team would have been able to defend.
Now, while I am just as guilty of piling on Allen after the Abbotsford debacle, I have to say that tonight was a really good game for him. He let in a softy, yes. But then he seemed to say that enough was enough and he was Jake mother[censored] Allen and he wouldn’t be putting up with that [censored] any more. There were some brilliant saves on his part over the course of the game that most assuredly kept the Rivermen in the hunt for the win.
This is what Allison is doing when he starts Allen three in a row. Allen, even when Bishop was in town, was The Man for the Blues. They wanted him as projected to be a future NHL #1. Well, Bishop’s hot play and Allen’s weak start stymied that last year until Bishop was traded away. Allen responded well at the end of last season, but it was too little too late. Now when he gets rocked like in Abbotsford he’s going to have to shake it off and get back in the crease. Allen is a competitor, and he’s not going to take well to a benching, nobody would.
McKenna is no slouch between the pipes, and if Allen wasn’t going to respond well to the challenges there would have been a legitimate problem in regards to his starting job. Right now I think he’s been answering the bell nicely. The loss in Chicago was a tough one, but he wasn’t the problem. Tonight he wasn’t the problem, either, more that he was the solution. Rockford brought pressure for good stretches in the third to tie the game and Allen made several point blank saves to preserve the win.
Let’s hope his confidence continues.
I am excited to see what this team can do. I am anxious because I don’t want to get my hopes up (see last season) and have them dashed. But I can’t help myself.
Next weekend the Rivermen are at home Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have been wrong about McKenna starting every time so far this year, but I know that he’ll have at least one of those games. This I guarantee!
It was also good to see Schwartz live. Man that kid has scary talent. He was doing everything he could on the ice tonight, and it eventually paid off in getting his first goal as a member of the Peoria Rivermen. This kid, barring horrendous injury, will be a star in the NHL.
The first win is in the books, and now that the monkey is off their backs they can use the positive energy to move forward. A nice sweep of next weekend wouldn’t be amiss.