Notes for the Elmira Series

I attended a recent Trenton Devils practice and caught up with Trenton Devils head coach…excuse me, that’s ECHL Coach of the Year Rick Kowalsky.

I talked to him for a few minutes for a story you’ll see later on his being named the Coach of the Year, but also asked him a few things about the upcoming playoff series with Elmira.

Here’s what he had to say:

General thoughts on the series…

“We’ve played them 15 times this year, and ten in their building and five here…that’s if you include exhibition, which you have to. That’s the nature of the game, and that’s the way the schedule worked out, so at the very least we know what to expect. Steve Martinson’s teams play hard, they’re physical, they drive the net, and they can really come at you. I think our key is going to be to move the puck and move it quick. Make ourselves available, our puck support’s got to be good. We’ve got to play simple hockey. The biggest thing is we have to match their intensity and their physical play, and if not, take it to another level. When we get going, I think that last game, if we can carry it over from that, we were physical on a skilled team like Wheeling, we can have success. We can bring that element. We know they’re going to, that’s the way they’ve played. With the playoff rosters coming out, they’ve picked up some skill guys, so they might have a bit of a different look. But I expect it to be a heck of a series. The season series was 6-6-1 in 13 games, so it’s going to be a good series and we’re looking forward to it.”

On if Elmira’s style of play dictates what he does with the tenth forward spot:

“No question it does. With a seven game series — which the league has gone back to, which is great because I think that’s the way hockey should be played — a lot of changes can be made. Obviously their style of play, some of the guys from a toughness and physical standpoint, there’s no question we’re going to need that element in our lineup. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s just a Cormier and a Stoesz. Do those guys give us a presence? Absolutely. This is where the Jeremy Akeson’s, the Dan Eves…even Tony Zancanaro with his physical play, Trevor Kell…he had a hit in Elmira that knocked out Bruce Watson for his career. Then the guys on the back end; Cohen, Dyment..Dylan Quaile, he’s a young guy, but he’s a big kid than can skate. You have to match that. The Sgroi’s, the Betts, the Faubert’s, the Johnson’s, they’re going to come. It’s not so much about us kind of getting out of the way, it’s about us returning the favor and finding a way that we can play physically, and those are some of the guys that are going to have to step up and match that intensity and put the pressure on their D. But that tenth forward position for sure is going to be influenced by how the series plays out and definitely what they do.”

On if Nathan Perkovich, recently signed out of college, could play in the series:

“He’s going to come in, he’s a Devils draft pick. We felt that he’s a guy that could give us some depth up front. He’s six foot five, but I don’t know a lot about him yet. His college career’s been done, so right now we’re not sure when he’s going to get in the lineup. We’re just going to take a look at him here and go from there. But it’ll be a day by day and game by game decision. He gives us some size and he’s got a bit of bite in his game from what I understand and can put the puck in the net. That’s a good combination this time of year, and like I said it just gives us some more options. So many things can happen and can change throughout a seven game series.”

On the availability of Mike Wilson:

“We’re going to continue to talk throughout the week here and just go from there.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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2 Responses to “Notes for the Elmira Series”

  1. Tdevilsfan Says:

    Hopefully Perkovich and Wilson can help. This is going to be a tough series and being able to spread the work around will definitely help, both in this series and, should we prevail, beyond that.

    You have to plan like you’re going to win the series and don’t want guys wiped out by the Jackals.

  2. Al (Philly Devil) Says:

    Their goaltending sucks so that is a bonus. If Wilson plays, that could be a huge plus. Other than that, our top forwards have to jump on them..skate well and make them take the penalties a big team will take. Quick passes , shoot the puck …play hard but don’t take stupid retaliation penalties.

    We play the goon it up game and we fall into thier hands. YEs, play hard, don’t get pushed around..drop the gloves but at the RIGHT times. (In other words, no 1-0 lead and decide to drop the gloves ala Harrison).
    Don’t let idiot Sgroi be a factor.

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