“In general, I think it was a similar game to last night. It was a better played game tonight than last night. There weren’t as many miscues. Guys earned goals tonight moreso than they did last night.
I was pleased once again with our penalty kill. They got two power-play goals, but one of them, the guy picks it out of the air while he’s falling down. I think the PK and the power plays were a bit of a draw. We went 1-for-6, but we got one one second after the power play was over that was really a power-play goal. So, they go 2-for-7, we go 2-for-6. That’s a draw. That’s a very good power play they have. I think it’s more mature than our power play right now, but we did a real good job over the weekend shutting them down.
I thought the game revolved around three things. We start the game taking three absolutely stupid penalties –– stick penalties, slashing guys’ feet, knocking them off the puck –– and give them three power plays right off the bat, and they finally score on one. Rule number one is don’t beat yourself, and we beat ourselves in that first period for sure. Not only does that cause us problems as far as giving up a goal, but it causes us problems as far as getting legless. I think we were a little bit legless in the second period because of what went on in the first period.
Another thing that was a major problem was the fact that we were absolutely horrendous off of faceoffs. The third period was a little bit better, but the first two periods, Lowell won 85 percent of the faceoffs. When you win faceoffs, two things happen –– you get shots on net, and you get absolute puck possession. You demoralize the penalty kill because you keep possession, and you do a great job against the power play because you win the faceoff and ice it. That was the second biggest thing in the game, and it might’ve been the worst thing. It was definitely a difference in the game, how bad we were on faceoffs, and how good they were.
And finally, our inability to stop them below the dots. They possessed the puck and they got the puck to our crease at will many, many times. Our goaltender had to save a lot of grade-A shots that were eight inches from our goal, a foot from our goal, two feet from our goal. We were really inept at covering out front.
Penalties. Faceoffs. They outplayed us at both ends below the dots. Certainly, in the lower grade-A area, they did a really good job and we didn’t. And yet, it was still a ballgame. We played pretty hard. I liked some things I saw from individuals. I liked some things I saw as systems.
But they’re a very good team, and we got a split on the weekend. I think it would’ve been awful nice if we could’ve got four points out of this weekend after winning the one on the road, but then we come back and lose the one at home. So, they probably have a better taste in their mouth right now than we do even though we each got two points, because they won the last one, and that’s the one you remember.
I like that team. They’re a solid team. They’ll be a home-ice team in our league, no question in my mind. Hopefully, we will be, too. We had five goals last night, but we’ve mostly been getting two or three, and we have to get much better at that.”
On expectations going into the weekend versus expectations after last night
“If you told me we were gonna have a split on Thursday, I would’ve said, ‘I’ll take that,’ with the way we are right now and Bonino out and knowing we’re playing one of the best teams in the league and usually it’s a tough place to play up in Lowell. But once you win the first one, you want to win the second one.”
On the problems with the defense getting outworked down low
“We’re not getting to people and ending it. We’re shuffling our feet five feet away from them and letting them carry the puck. Gryba ends it pretty quickly. We lost a couple shutdown defensemen in Matt Gilroy and Brian Strait who could get to people and end it right there and jump out of the zone with the puck. We spent too much time along the wall trying to possess the puck from them. And then, once they turned, they got the puck to the crease, and we did not defend the crease well enough. I don’t know how many goals they got from the crease, but they got way too many chances there.”
On whether or not he might make any personnel changes on defense
“No. We might roll a couple guys in and out, but we’re not gonna make drastic changes. We don’t have a lot of choices. Our biggest problem is down the middle. Without Bonino, Connolly’s playing out of position. He’s usually a left wing, but he’s playing center for us. Some other guys will get a chance to play a little bit, but the bottom line is that we are who we are.”
On whether or not the struggles on faceoffs are a technical thing or an effort thing
“It’s a little bit of a technical thing, and it’s a little bit of an ego thing. We’re trying to win the faceoff instead of making sure they don’t win the faceoff. It was as if the referee was just throwing it back to the Lowell point. That’s how easily they were winning it back.”
On his team’s power play with under three minutes to go in the game
“We got out of position. Guys didn’t recognize where we were. We had the puck right where we wanted it on the half wall down around the hash marks, and there was nobody to pass it to. Our defensemen disappeared on him. On a 6-on-4, we have a certain play, and the guy that’s supposed to go that position to get that play didn’t go there. All of a sudden, Connolly’s got the puck and he’s saying, ‘Where the hell is everybody?’ It’s 6-on-4 and he’s by himself.
We still had a couple opportunities. There were some close calls. I thought Chris had a couple good opportunities. But we haven’t practiced 6-on-4 once this year so far, so that’s not unusual. I would’ve thought we would’ve figured that out a little bit better, though. I thought that a couple upperclassmen disappeared. When Chris had the puck, there should’ve been some people for him to look to.”
On whether he’s leaning toward using Warsofsky as a forward or defenseman on the PP
“I’ll keep mixing it up. I want to get David a lot of ice time out there. I like it with those three guys at the point when he plays with the other two defensemen. But at the same time, I thought Trivino’s line moved the puck pretty well on the power play tonight. They had the better looks. And that was when Warsofsky was playing back at the point.”
On the play of Kevin Shattenkirk
“I think he’s struggling with the puck. I think he’s not moving his feet enough. I think that he looks great at times, and he’s just such a talented kid. He had a great goal tonight, a big goal tonight. But in general, I would say that not just Shatty, but a couple of our upperclassmen are not as effective as they have to be for us. I think Shatty’s a little jumpy with the puck, which is really unusual, because he’s always smooth as hell with the puck. He’s forcing things, I think. It’s not so much that he’s nervous, but he’s just forcing stuff that I don’t think he has to do.”
On Alex Chiasson getting more and more comfortable on the top line
“I think he’s very comfortable there. I think he’s gonna be a real good player for us. He’s our leading goal scorer as a freshman. He’s gonna get goals in this league, and he’s gonna get a lot of ice time for us. He’s very good on the power play, too. One of the reasons the power play with Trivino’s line looked pretty good tonight was because he played pretty well on the power play.”
On if Chiasson could fill the Colin Wilson role of a big body out front on the PP
“He’s a big body down there, but we’re trying to get him out on the flank on what we refer to as the ‘BU power play’ and get him one-timers, because he can really shoot it.”