Game 35: Rick Kowalsky Post-Game Chat

“Our power play’s been good lately.  Actually, the way they pressure, it’s almost…it’s a power play goal, but we scored that goal off the rush.  Even Snetsinger’s, the one there where he was kind of going around the horn, they force you to kind of come out of your setup.  We talked about moving the puck quick against them and exposing them, and obviously it gets us out to a good start.  Our PP’s been solid from going back to the beginning of December.”

“Our first or second unit, whatever you want to call them, Castonguay, Kell and Henkel have really been on fire of late.  The thing is, is that even when we don’t score, we’re getting chances.  And as a coach, that’s all you can hope for.  Even Kell, they make that bang-bang play there in the second, and they scored two goals in that last weekend on basically the same play.  So it’s good to have two units going, no question.  It’s a good two minute power play, and it was good to see those guys in the other unit get on the board tonight.”

“I think (Johnstown) tried to force some things, obviously with the shorthanded goal there was a turnover in the neutral zone, but in the zone there’s no question…going back to November, we made some adjustments where we got more aggressive down low.  If you really look at it, ideally we’re trying to force a dump and our guys, once that dump is made, it’s 50-50 pucks and all bets are off.  That really turned the corner for us and changed our penalty killing philsophy where we’ve been a lot more aggressive, and it’s not so much that it’s our in zone setup,  it’s the fact that we don’t really let other teams get set, similar to what Johnstown tries.  That’s been the key to it.  As far as doing stuff offensively, we don’t look for that.  If there’s an opportunity where we catch a guy pinching, guys go…but we don’t preach anything up ice, it’s more just taking care of our zone and holding the line and making them dump the puck.

“We’ve preached defense first here, even tonight.  What was there, nine shots through two periods?  I know we’ve had some key guys out of the lineup, but I mean that’s something that’s been our foundation.  Even when we were struggling, our goals against was right around three, and now we’re slowly creeping below that mark.  But there’s no question that we do have confidence that if we do make a mistake, the goaltending’s been there to bail us out.  You go back to the Florida series there when Charlie was in net, and you don’t want to get into those situations with 7-6 games, but I think that looking back on it, we got some confidence offensively in that series and realized that we can come back in games if need be.  We’re playing solid defensively, and we’re getting the goaltending.  On the offensive side of the puck, we’ve been a lot better in our transition and attacking the net.  We’re a hungry team right now.”

“We were looking at Charlie playing one on the weekend there, Charlie was probably going to play in Dayton.  But it’s a day-to-day decision here.  Obviously, Coleman’s our guy, but it depends on how he feels after each game and each day.  Right now, I would plan on Charlie potentially getting a game this weekend.”

“(Coleman) shouldn’t be too tired after tonight.  They got some shots, but even the other night in Johnstown…it’s a strange thing, I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t give up that many rebounds, but I’d bet that 75 percent of the games he’s played, we’ve kept teams to definitely under 30 shots and some of them 25.  There were only 21 shots the other night that we gave up in that first game against Cincinnati.  That’s not a busy night for him.  He’s an efficient guy, he’s fluent in his movement, so I don’t think it’s a case of him wearing out, but that’s something we’re going to monitor here.  After the break, we play a ton of hockey, so there’s no question we need two goalies.  Coleman’s going to get the bulk of the games, but he’s going to have to get nights off, too.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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