Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Based on our conversation with Alabama Huntsville Hockey Head Coach Lance West, here are some things to watch this weekend as the Chargers look to compete against a very offensively skilled Laker Superior State team.
Cut the motion down
One of the biggest concepts in the Lakers’ game that West took the time to bring up was the motion at the point the Lakers play with. They do this with skilled forwards, combined with defenders like Will Riedell and Mitchell Oliver among others. The Lakers use this motion to counter teams that play through the middle so well and gum it up like Bemidji State often does. How the Chargers can break that down will go a long way in determining a winner for this series. For this to go well, look at some of the breakaways caused by the Chargers’ defense on poor lateral passes from Bemidji State, when this team is active in its own end and can shorten the zone time of its opponent, they can earn chances going the other way.
Easier said than done of course, especially against one of the best goaltenders in the country, Mareks Mitens. When the Chargers score first, they have been able to play to their system better. When this team scored first against Bowling Green on their Senior Day, for a little bit they were able to push the pace and takes some more opportunities for themselves. The Lakers have one of the better offenses in the WCHA, and know how to close down games in their own end when they score first, if West’s group can push the pace early on, they may have more of a chance if they can get the Lakers out of sorts.
Simple is best
Against Bemidji State, we saw something in person that we have seen via Flo Hockey all year, this team, at times is trying too hard not to score, but to make an extra pass when it is not always needed. The effort in this group is great, and more consistent than the group we saw last January at Ralph Engelstad Arena. That is not what this is about, but rather concentrating efforts of the group to get to the net a little simpler. As Peyton Francis has condensed his game to channel his speed more towards the net, compared to going east-west, this team is well served to do the same. This team has not beaten Mitens cleanly on any of the goals he has conceded against the Chargers all year. They need rebounds and weird bounces to go their way, and focusing on the initial shot compared to making an extra pass is one way to take on this Lake Superior State team.
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