|Fresh from a three game winning streak and winning eight of the last ten, I was concerned that we might have a letdown as we opened up midweek against Lowell, a team that we had just faced only a few days earlier. |
Unfortunately, my concerns proved to be fact. Lowell came into our building with something to prove and that they did. From the opening face-off the Devils just kept coming at us and opened up a 2-0 lead and never looked back. The first period of our home games has been our nemesis and this one was no exception. This was not the way to start the week, as the next two games were on the road and presented difficult match-ups for us.
Albany was waiting in the wings for us...using their overall team speed and quickness, they were relentless on the puck all night and really put pressure on our defensemen in our own zone. This proved too much for us as we struggled with this pressure. Before we knew it we were behind 3-0 early in the 2nd and never recovered. Boutin replaced Ramo early in the second and played solid goal for us to the end. It was one of those nights where the effort was there but we could never really get going offensively.
What a difference a day makes...we go into Worcester and play what I think was our best game of the year from start to finish. Boutin was very good in goal, the power play was clicking and the penalty kill was outstanding, including a four minute kill in the 2nd period. All that said though, our overall TEAM DEFENSE was exceptional. At no time in the game did I feel that we were under any kind of pressure that we could not handle. I liked our poise and patience in all three zones. Boutin was the first star for me, with Healey and Kvapil a very close 2nd and 3rd star.
Any time you lose two in a row there should be some cause for concern, but our team went back to basics and played the game the way it is suppose to be played....simple, sound, fundamental hockey!
Happy Holidays and hope to see you at the Mass Mutual Center soon..'Till next week! Coach Stirling