Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Special Teams...

The first 44 minutes of last night's game between Cobourg and Lindsay were terrifically entertaining for the crowd.  By middle of the second period four of the five goals up on the scoreboard had been scored by the shorthanded team and Adam Place would make the score 4-3 for Lindsay with more than 15 minutes to play in the third.  But then the Muskies' Blake Sexton tallied a shorthanded goal at 9:21 of the third - Lindsay's fourth shorty of the night and his third!  Giving up goals while on the power play is a sure way to deflate the energy on the bench, which happened to be much more energetic than usual last night.  From then on the wheels had clearly fallen off with Lindsay scoring three more goals en route to an 8-3 romp over the Cougars.

It's tough to win when you have twelve (!) chances on the PP and your opponent scores four goals to your two.  On the other hand the PK was clicking, shutting down Lindsay on seven of their eight chances and scoring a shorthanded goal of their own.

The chaos on special teams overshadowed some of the bigger game stories.  One minute into the game Lindsay lost their leading scorer, Micha Calvecchia.  He flew down the ice on a breakaway, fired the puck past backup Matt Kaludis, then crashed loudly into the end boards and had to be helped off the ice favouring his left knee.  This was unquestionably a huge loss for the Muskies but their players responded with an impressive game at both ends of the rink.  Sexton and George picked up the slack scoring 9 points between the two of them and were a huge factor in burying the Cougars during a disastrous third period.

Lawton McCracken was one of the best Cougars on the ice, displaying his excellent speed on a few rushes and making some smart passes out of the zone.  The first pass haunted the Cougars all night as the Muskies were forechecking very aggressively in the neutral zone, ruining Cobourg's transition game all night.  The line of Place, Thompson and Couto had some serious issues backchecking and covering the point while putting up a disgusting -9 rating as a unit.  Matt Diminie missed the game with an injury and his presence on that line and on the entire team was sorely missed.  If the Cougars want to break this ugly losing streak they'll need to work hard on their power play and the sooner Diminie returns the better.

Next game is in Pickering where they'll face the Pickering Panthers for the second time this season.  The Panthers were routed by the Cougars in Cobourg on September 14th, the first game for both teams, and Pickering will be looking to avenge that ugly loss in their home barn on Wednesday night.

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