From the Eagles Desk: Back to Reality

The beloved Eagles got stomped in Iowa this week, giving up 12 goals but somehow getting a point out of it. The weaknesses we suspected on the blueline were confirmed and neither Marty nor Frenchie could bail them out this time. The offense continued to be hit-or-miss with a strong showing in the first game and then nothing Saturday. This was probably a good time for a wakeup call after 4 wins in a row and hopefully they can continue to progress from here.

Injuries/Transactions

– Travis Barron was optioned to Utah early in the week while Nolan De Jong was released from his PTO and followed suit.
– Turner Ottenbreit was sent to Utah after the Iowa trip.
– Eagles have 15 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies on the roster right now.
– Dominic Toninato was injured last week against the Reigns and didn’t dress
– Sergei Boikov is still out with a shoulder injury from week one
– Cody Bass returned to the lineup after missing 4 games (all wins) with an undisclosed injury.
– Eagles signed D Justin Falk to a PTO on Monday

COL 5 – IOW 6 (OT)

Goals: Agozzino (Dries), Warsofsky (Bass), Graves (Lewis, Dickinson), Bass (Alt, Shvyrev), Agozzino (O’Connor)
Shots: +55/-34
PP 1/5, PK 0/2

Lineup:

The first period was wacky with the teams combining for 5 goals in a 4 minute stretch early on and tied at 3 at the end. Eagles had 23 SOG in the first somehow, impressive. The Wilds went ahead in the 2nd period then Colorado turned it around with a pair of goals 27 seconds apart with 8 minutes remaining. Iowa tied it again a minute later and we proceeded to overtime. OT was 3v4 thanks to a dumb faceoff violation call by the linesman with 38 seconds left in regulation. You just can’t have that, no one wants to see a game turn on a fishy call like that. Let the teams determine the winner. Iowa of course took advantage and left the arena 6-5 winners.

COL 1 – IOW 6

Goal: Dries (Agozzino, O’Connor)
Shots: +26/28
PP 0/5, PK 2/6

Lineup:

Not much to say here. 2-1 Wilds after the first and then the pain train left the station. 3 goals against in the 2nd. Highlights include Mark Alt getting boarded 5 minutes into the game and leaving, less than half the shots for as they had on Friday, Francouz’s first loss in North America and Anton Lindholm on-ice for 5 out of the 6 Iowa scores. Burn the tape.

Breaking Down: Week 4

Goals: 6 for and 12 against. Not good. They now sit at 3.13 goals for per game which is 18th in the AHL. The defense took a huge hit going from 2nd in the league all the way down to 17th with 3.38 per game.

Shots: +81/-62 (56.6%), which is good. For the season they are a +274/-229 (54.5%), top 10 in both shots for and against per game. Regardless of the scoring issues they are controlling play well so if they can keep that up they have a good base to work with.

Shooting percentage: 7.4%
Save percentage: 80.6%
PDO: 880

Overall they’re at a nice 9.1% shooting percentage for the year but the save percentage is brutal at 88.2%. We get wild swings early in the year so overall PDO plummeted down to 973. Not seeing a lot of consistency on defense so far.

PP: 1/10
PK: 2/6
Special Teams percentage: 43.3

Like the parent club the power play is a bit of an issue now. In 8 games they’ve scored 5 PPGs in 39 chances, good for 12.8% and 27th in the league. Like the defense overall the PK took a huge hit this week going from tops in the league to 6th at 85.7%. I said last week they should be prepared to come back to earth like this and so it was. Even now that’s a fantastic percentage so stay on course there. On special teams in general they’ve gone from overachieving to slightly underachieving with a ST% of 97.3, which is fair.

 

Aggz gets the scoring star of the week with 2G/1A. Dries and Bass both had 1G/1A each and Logan O’Connor had 2 assists. Worth noting that the top line of Greer/Beaudin/Kosmo got shut out and were on the ice for quite a few goals against. They kind of took one for the team here and while the Agozzino line was able to get production out of their matchup it wasn’t enough. The defense chipped in with 2 goals and an assist.

Overview

After game one the thought did cross my mind that the Eagles were 0-1-2 with Spencer Martin in net and 4-0-0 with Francouz but Saturday tossed that premise in the trash. If you break it down by opponent, the Eagles did well against two bad teams and not so well against two good teams. I’m thinking that’s a part of it for sure.

It’s interesting that last weekend the Beaudin line was red hot and this week they were cold. The reverse was basically true for the Agozzino line. Some of that is matchups, some of that is puck luck but it shows a little inconsistency in the top 6 that they need to think about. Out of 15 points on the weekend only 3 came from the depth guys – Shvyrev, Lewis and Dickinson – all assists. Is that enough? It probably should have been plus Martin Kaut played well and moved up the lineup a bit as the staff did a little blending late in the blowout.

The PK gave up 4 goals after surrendering only 1 in the first 6 games. Again, this was somewhat inevitable due to the law of averages but all at once was a little alarming. One was a 3v4 in OT so that’s a special situation but still counts. Personnel-wise the one thing that jumps out is David Warsofsky on for 3 out of 4. Sure, he’s a veteran but maybe they should be saving his minutes for offensive situations and the power play. He is not a good penalty killer.

When one player has a hand in many goals against over a weekend like this it could be for a variety of reasons. Random luck, bad matchups and what have you but Anton Lindholm’s play over the first 8 games of the season as a whole seems to be dragging the team down. In Friday’s game he was on for 2 of the 6 goals and played a big role in another. It was a big goal, the one that eventually sent the game to OT. He fell down on a routine breakout late in a shift, his partner Graves had to scramble and eventually iced the puck. They’re gassed and Graves ends up taking a stick penalty. The Wild score on the PP to tie it and that’s all she wrote. It’s a small thing that led to a loss and shows how the details matter. Saturday was a horror show, Lindholm was on the ice for 5 out of the 6 Iowa goals, including one in the first 5 minutes for the 2nd night in a row. I’m not saying aha! here’s why the Eagles came up short but let’s say he sure didn’t help pull the team out it. The staff need find out why this is becoming a routine situation and correct it because they’re not good enough to overcome this level of play from one of the veteran pros.

Along those lines the Eagles signed journeyman defenseman Justin Falk, late of the Buffalo Sabres, on a Pro Try-Out. He of course has ties to the Blue Jackets and won a Calder Cup with Jared Bednar in 2016. We don’t know why exactly. Maybe they had enough of the current blueline over the weekend, maybe Mark Alt is injured longer than a couple of days. If their plan is to play 3 full-fledged 320+ game vets in their late 20’s and beyond for the rest of the season I am not ok with that at all. The AHL is a development league and devoting half your blueline to vets is flat out ridiculous. There are 5 young defenseman on entry-level contracts or first year AHL deals that need time to get better and if the goal is to play one or none of them then quit being a tosser and fire yourself. That’s a recipe for disaster that we’ve seen play out year after year of last place finishes. Old and slow does not get the job done, if you want to win you have to take young players and gradually make them better over the season.

Next up

Our good friends the Tucson Roadrunners stop by for a weekend set at the BEC Friday and Saturday, 7pm local. Friday is confluential with the Avs in Vancouver but Saturday it’s the only show in town so make some plans to see the gang up in Loveland.

 

Thanks to the AHL for stats and standings and to the Colorado Eagles for the feature photo.

 

 

earl06

Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

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