Game 31: One-On-One With Coach Kowalsky

For one reason or another, I was the only reporter downstairs after the game.  How lucky Rick Kowalsky must have felt to be exclusively dealing with my special brand of stupidity.

In any event, here’s how things went after the game…

Asking you if you’re happy after a game like that would be a stupid question, but it must feel pretty good to take a game like that…

“I thought it was a bit of a sloppy game.  The first period was OK and then we got some bounces tonight.  I liked our speed, we really attacked off the rush and guys shot the puck and got to the net.  So say what you want about maybe we should have had a couple of those on the chances we didn’t score.  But we’ve really talked about our transition in the neutral zone and on the line rush and I thought we really attacked the net with speed, and that was positive to see.  I thought we got a little loose in our own end, but they were able to take chances because they knew they were down.  But I thought we tightened back up in the third — we talked about it after the second — which good teams need to do, it should be an easy period where you just dump it and keep the puck in and make them play in their end.”

So many times earlier in the season, there were games where anything that could go wrong did go wrong, but this game was exactly the opposite.  What’s it like to be on the other end of that for a change?

“I think there’s no question you make your own luck, but I think a lot of it had to do with our skating.  I’m sure they would have liked to have had some of those goals back, their goaltender or their coverage was not great.  But you get confidence, and you throw pucks at the net and you skate and good things will happen.  Eight goals were not a result of all us, but certainly a fair share of them were.”

This team won three out of their first 15 games, and now you’re sitting at .500.  I know you thought the turnaround was going to come, but did you ever anticipate it would come this quickly?

“Well, I’d hoped it would.  Obviously we’ve got a real good thing going here, and the biggest thing is that we feel we can win every night.  And that’s a good feeling, it’s a confidence thing in here.  Our division is slowly (getting closer) in the middle.  Johnstown lost last night to Elmira, Cincinnati beat Wheeling and those are two tough buildings to play in.  They were both in there tonight, and the last I checked they were close games.  We knew that we wanted to take care of our points at home here with those guys on the road, obviously those are the guys in our sights right now.  And in doing so, we closed the gap on Dayton.  So we’re logjamming everything up in the middle here and we turn around and go right out to Cincy and Dayton, who are two and three, respectively.  It’s not going to get any easier.  However we got to that .500 mark, we’ve got to keep going and climbing the ladder and try to catch whoever’s ahead of us in the standings.”

What specifically do you guys need to do to keep this going?

“I think skating, I think we’re really skating well as a team.  I think when we move the puck simple and don’t try to get to cute.  When tough teams play against us, the physical element.  Getting Eves back tonight, he hasn’t played in almost a month, and he adds that dimension.  But the biggest thing is I think our transition and our quick puck movement.  We’re able to get pucks deep and really hound other teams defensemen.  We’re starting to get some confidence.  Jeff Prough’s shooting the puck, Snetsinger’s been better, and it’s all come just from hard work.  The biggest thing is we can really skate and challenge other teams D, and we have to continue to do that.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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2 Responses to “Game 31: One-On-One With Coach Kowalsky”

  1. Al (Philly Devil) Says:

    Coach has done a great job and Eric Castonguay looks very comfortable at center.

  2. Tdevilsfan Says:

    Castonguay is definitely starting to outgrow this level. If he keeps up his current trajectory, he’ll be in the A next year…

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