Post Game, Part Two

As promised, here are quotes from Jason Smith and Rick Kowalsky following last night’s 5-4 shootout win over the Reading Royals.

JASON SMITH

Not the easiest of wins, but still a win…

“A win’s a win.  We dug a hole for ourselves and we came out of it.  We didn’t dig another one, but we should have come out with a 4-3 win and we screwed up in the end, just a stupid defensive play.  We still got two points.  It sucks that we gave a point to Reading, but the important thing is that we won.”

When you’re in a shootout, you’ve got to be pretty confident with the guys you’ve got shooting for you, so how confident are you in your own game when the shootout comes around?

“Yeah, I’m pretty confident.  We do it in practice, because it’s part of the game.  We have some really good shooters and they go against me in practice, so I’ve kind of seen everything.  So when I go up against other guys, I’m not nervous or anything.  It’s fun.”

Must be nice to start getting some W’s in your own stat column as well…

“Oh God, it feels good.  It’s about time, it’s a nice Christmas gift to get two W’s before going home.  But there’s another game tomorrow, and we have to be ready to win that one.  We’re on a roll right now and we’ve been playing so well, both offensively and defensively.  We’re just doing the small things that we need to do, and we’ve just go to keep on going.  After Christmas, we have to come back in the same shape and the position that we’re in right now.”

Is this kind of a tough situation for you to be in?  Charlie Effinger’s been playing pretty well, and Gerald Coleman’s kind of waiting in the wings to come back from injury…has it been difficult thinking about how it’s all going to play out?

“That’s one of the things that you don’t have to worry about as a goalie.  As a hockey player in general, you control the things you can, and as a goalie it’s keeping the puck in front of me and out of the net.  I do my best to do that.  Everything else that happens, pro hockey’s not like college hockey or anything, it’s a business.  You can’t focus on things you can’t control, or else it just eats you from the inside out.  That can happen.”

RICK KOWALSKY

Where do you even start with that one?

“I thought it was a good game, they played better than they did last night.  They had a little more energy, they were better in all three zones.  They came at us a little more.  I thought we controlled and didn’t give them anything last night.  But two goals were out of piles where we should be tying up sticks, call it a lucky break and they bury it.  I still felt that what they got, we gave them.  We got on our heels a little bit in the third there, but we found a way to win.”

Talk about the way Trevor Kell and Jim Henkel played together, especially in the second period…

“I switched the lines up a bit during the week, during practice, and I liked what I saw out of those guys.  Jimmy’s been playing solid, and Keller’s probably been our most consistent forward in all three zones all year.  That’s his game, that ability to score and make plays.  I thought Castonguay had been struggling lately, so I juggled things up a bit.  he was playing with Burton and Snetsinger, and those guys were clicking.  Casty had a ton of shots.  But because of that line, I switched the power plays up.  They scored one last night, and they scored another one tonight.”

Nice to see Snetsinger finally get one?

“Yeah.  He’s been an adjustment for him.  He started in the American League, and he hadn’t played in a while up there, so I think he’s still trying to get a feel for this league.  I liked his effort tonight.  You can see he can score in the shootout, but I like the fact that he scored a goal going to the net.  But he should still be better, he can be a top player in this league, he just has to find his niche and do the little things right.”

I guess one of the things you have to think about now is what to do about the goalie situation once Coleman comes back…

“He won’t be back until after Christmas, but we’re going to have a decision on our hands, no question.  But we’ve got some time here.  Right now, hopefully we can head into Wheeling and cap off this little stretch before the Christmas break.”

Any update on Matt Torti?

“He had caught a skate, and had a laceration that went right through his skate.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  He cut his foot pretty bad, right down to the tendon, but not to the point where it damaged the tendon.  Not a huge cut, but enough where he’s got to stay off it.  He’s looking at probably about two weeks, hopefully after the Christmas break we’ll be able to get him skating.”

When do you anticipate Coleman playing?

“Probably not the first game against Cincinnati because we only have one practice and we come back just like that, so we’ll look at getting him in against Elmira.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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