(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)
Tonight, the Von Braun Center was rocking from start to finsh, as the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville were able to come back to tie the game with 2.4 seconds left on a Ben Allen put back on a rebound from a Quinn Green shot to send the game into overtime. In the extra stanza, Dayne Finnson rocketed home a top corner snipe to send the socially distanced crowd home happy, and put a stamp on one of the most intense games of this pandemic-altered season.
After all of that, there is plenty to consider, and while UAH did win, we think the staff will have some things they would like to chat with the team about before the finale. Remember that, tonight, in terms of time of possesion and shot attempts from dangerous areas, the Chargers not only did better, but found a way to answer adversity. This fact will serve them well as the season marches forward.
Well, the speed of the Chargers was on full display tonight. Tyrone Bronte was an absolute rocket on the ice, and he was not the only Charger that was able to get in behind a very physical Ferris State team that capitalized on chances they had. Bronte himself picked up a power play goal on a nice setup from Lucas Bahn. Bronte was able to get in between a big Ferris State penalty kill and tip the puck past Logan Stein, who showed why he was a goalie for Team USA at the World Junior Championship this year. Stein finished with 40 saves on the evening, including many grade-a looks. In terms of how hard the Chargers made a goalie work, this was their best outing of the year.
In addition, we were heartened to see Drew Lennon get his first goal as a junior for this team. He, like many in his class, could have gone elsewhere but he choose to come back and buy in to this new staff’s program, and had a key goal and two assists. Along with scoring his first goal as a Charger, he exceeded both of his previous individual seasons’ point totals in one game tonight with three.
To us, multiple people stood out, but Bronte, Lennon, and Dayne Finnson all stood out tonight. His winner was one of the most effective shots on net the Chargers have had all year on a tough angle against a superb goalie. He deserves all the credit in the world for his effort. Also, on the heels of a good weekend against Michigan Tech we will highlight the effort and speed of Quinn Green, on the equalizer by Ben Allen, it was Green’s speed and pass that sprung Allen for the look that provided the equalizer.
What to watch for
While the Chargers had the better time on attack, possession, and shots on net, we still want to point out a few areas we feel confident in saying that after the euphoria of today abates, that the coaches may adress with this group. First off, two penalties happened away from the play or not during its run that gave Ferris State more time on the extra man, and some five-on-three time. We are pretty positive neither Connor Witherspoon or Connor Wood meant to end up in the box for their faceoff delay, and roughing penalties, but it happened. Luckily the penalty kill of Karlis Zirnis killed off both looks there, but the point will probably be driven home some more in some way tomorrow.
Finally, for how important the system is to this team, it got away from it at points. Other than the first look which was a seeing-eye marker from Antonio Venuto, nearly every other goal from Ferris State came on a defensive zone breakdown that gave the Bulldogs more time and space in front of the net.
With all of this said, the page turns to tomorrow night, and the Chargers must be ready for a determined opponent that wants its first win. Ferris State, especially Stein will be ready, how will these Chargers react to playing after a win? Tomorrow will be the first chance they have to answer that question.
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