Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Tonight, the Chargers played a decent first and third period, where they made the Falcons of Bowling Green earn their looks, and played the team game the needed to. Then we focus on the second period, where at least 60 percent of it was spent with the Chargers defending in their own end. As this team has seen, time after time, giving high-octane teams multiple chances will come back to harm you, and tonight was no different. Despite a valiant effort by the Chargers, the Falcons used a four goal second stanza to put the game on ice. Here are three takeaways from this game.
Deja vu all over again
Remember when Bennett Stockdale scored the first goal against Minnesota State in the series opener? Well the Mavericks got the next four, including three in the second and won the game. Tonight, the Chargers had a few chances to score first. The best came off a good wrist shot from Frank Vitucci short handed that Eric Dop kicked away. After that, the Falcons went on to score four goals in the second, and one in the third to provide the final margin. The score was slightly different but the pattern remains. This team is facing a trial by combat nightly, and learning what they need to do in order to compete with the top talent in this game, Once they can improve game management, you will see less 4-0 or 5-1 results and more one or two goal games, like you saw from this team earlier in the year.
Trust the process
This team plays with heart. Yes that is a cliché to put it mildly, but the effort in the third period, and the fire that they came out with in the first matters. For a team with ten or more freshmen in the lineup every night, and a group that has 13 people on it who did not know they’d be on the Huntsville campus before June, they are playing with a remarkable amount of synergy. The results do not show it yet, but this is a group that fights for one another, and works hard for all of the game even when the staff gets a lot on film they don’t like, like the second period. Remember this through the final three regular season games. The story of this team is not so much the record, yes no one wants to only win three games in college hockey, but how they have grown throughout the year, and some key players that have emerged
What comes next
Sunday is senior day for this group with two seniors. Connor Woord and Connor Merkley. Credit both players for helpling this team develop, and buying in from day one to the new group’s teachings. They have not been on the ice as much this year as they could have been, but still play important roles. Connor Wood is the heart and soul of this tea, and his passion for the game is fun to see every night. Merkley’s breakaway against Ferris State was the game winner, and he has been a reliable leader for this program.
We say all of that to get to this. Sunday means a lot to this group, and this city. This town fought to save this program not for the end result of this season, but for the long term health of the game of College Hockey. To think that Lance West and this staff will not have this team ready to do everything they can to take on Bowling Green would be unwise. If the Chargers can get more quick outs like they did in the first and most of the third period, and use the speed they have, then options open up for this tean, and a chance to avoid a date with Minnesota State in the postseason becomes a little more realistic. Senior Day, and a chance to write some more history comes this Sunday afternoon at 3:07 PM.
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