Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Tonight, the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville had some good moments against Bauer Neudecker put home is third goal of the year on a Mick Heneghan shot. Tyrone Bronte added another point to the strong start to his college career, and again showed his speed throughout the evening. David Fessenden made 36 saves on 39 shots faced for the night.
Beyond that, here are three adjustments the Chargers should hope to make to improve their chances against the Huskies in the finale, keeping in mind that this team, even after only having a few days of full practice, still showed flashes of their effort and speed against a physical Michigan Tech team coming off of a win against Ferris State on Tuesday. Alabama Huntsville also had Josh Martin on their first pair with Lucas Bahn tonight, in place of an injured Dayne Finnson (upper body). Martin played in his first game in 335 days tonight, and did well given the circumstances. His ability to box out Huskies from time to time was good to see, and hopefully as he settles in, he will be able to step into the rush a bit more.
Hear from Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis on what happened tonight for the Chargers in the second and third periods, then read on for areas to watch for improvement on in the finale tomorrow.
” Tech is a very good team. They elevated their game in 2nd and 3rd and put heavy pressure on us in all three zones and we couldn’t answer their hard pressure. There is no excuses in our poor performance in 2nd and 3rd period. We have to play a very disciplined game when we struggle in execution and we didn’t do it tonight. When another team elevates their game you have to answer it and we didn’t do it.”
Play every period like its the first
Easier said than done, but in the first period, tonight the Chargers had the better of chances, despite getting outshot (8-6). The only goal they scored was on a rebound from their effort off the rush to generate a quick look and score. Like Omaha in the NCHC, this team is built around speed and fastbreaks. From the second period oon, the Chargers showed little of their speed and got no real looks that were quick in transition. Part of this is from their breakouts. When this team is at their best, they do not need to make many home-run two-line passes that often get intercepted. Tonight, they helped the Huskies out in the last two periods by not keeping their breakouts simple. In addition, on the rare time where the Chargers had any space in the neutral zone to get a clean entry, they often dumped the puck in because they were tired and at the end of a shift.
Control is key
As Zirnis said, the team has to play with a bit more discipline. The first Michigan Tech goal tonight came on a power play marker from Brian Halonen, one of the better yet underrated goal scorers in the WCHA. The issue is the power play on which he did that. It was created with an offensive zone penalty as Adrian Danchenko went to the penalty box for tripping. For the Chargers to do better tomorrow, they have to eliminate offensive zone penalties completely from their game. If you give a physical team like the Huskies any breaks, they will take them and run. That penalty, mentally, felt like a turning point in the game as it happened early in the second period in a game, that, up until then was being played well by the Chargers.
This team is at its best when it works together. They do that when they do the little things right. One of those things tomorrow has to be shortening passes to get through the neutral zone. If this Michigan Tech sees an inch of a mistake in your game, they turn it into a mile of rewards for them more often than not. That was displayed over and over again in the final two periods of tonight’s game. This team has always been about compete and response level. Let’s see what changes they make together to change the fate of the series finale starting tomorrow at 5:07 PM.
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