The beloved Eagles got some help from above this week with Ryan Graves returning and Tyson Jost sent down to make his debut in Loveland. For the 2nd week in a row the good guys dominated on Friday then got shut out on Saturday.
– Ryan Graves returned after 8 games with the Avs
– Tyson Jost was demoted to get his game together. Word on the street is that he’ll play the 6 games leading into the All-Star Break then go back to the NHL.
– Caleb Herbert was re-assigned to the Grizzlies.
– Scott Kosmachuk is out with some sort of injury and was spotted riding the bike while the guys practiced this week
– Mason Geertsen was again out with some sort of UBI
– The oft-injured Grayson Downing practiced in a non-contact jersey this week and did not dress for the games.
– Cody Bass took a puck in the head in Friday’s game and had to leave. Too bad since he had a goal and assist to that point. He’s ok but didn’t dress Saturday.
– After the games we had a bunch of moves due to injuries or concerns from the Avs. Anton Lindholm was called up, Erik Johnson has a concussion and will miss the mid-week games. Lindy should be back for the weekend in Ontario
– Dominic Toninato got his first callup of the year. Since Vlad Kamenev went down the Avs have not had a true center on the 4th line and also no player in the bottom 6 is over 6′ tall. Dom can help in both areas.
– Josh Dickinson was called up from Utah on Sunday afternoon.
COL 7 – TUC 3
Goals: Bass (Igor, Boikov), Toninato (Boikov, Lewis), Agozzino (Wars, O’Connor), Alt (Igor, Bass), Agozzino (Wars, Meloche), Alt (Igor, Lewis), Greer (Kaut, Meloche)
PP 1-6, PK 4-5
The 4th line really got things going in the first with Igor dropping a nice pass to Cody Bass then acting as a screen while Bass popped it in. Later in the period they scored 3 goals in less than 3 minutes and that was pretty much it. The teams traded goals back and forth a few times with the Roadrunners never getting closer than within 4.
COL 0 – TUC 2
PP 0-6, PK 6-6
Tucson made it a point to really clog up the middle of the ice and force the Eagles to the outside on breakouts and zone entries. It was a good adjustment and shut them down effectively. There were good chances but Adin Hill rebounded well for the RR’s after giving up 4 goals in relief on Friday. Both goals happened during a short stretch in the 2nd on a couple of defensive lapses.
Breaking Down: Week 15
Shots: +60/-60 (50%)
Shooting percentage: 11.7%
Save percentage: 91.7%
Just a quick summary this week. Statistically this was a good performance. The only problem was not spreading the scoring out. If they had saved 3 goals on Friday for the Saturday game we’d be smiling right now. The power play was still awful and will continue to be, just a goal ahead of last in the league. PK was strong, defensively the Eagles are still effective and shots against were below average with even shot share.
The Eagles were held to 3 SOG in the 1st period of Saturday’s game, a phenomenon we see a little too often. Our faithful PxP man Kevin McGlue got a little context from the AHL scorers with some stats that don’t get released to the public. In that period there were 17 shot attempts, 6 were blocked, 8 missed leading to the aforementioned total of 3 on goal. I get why these aren’t released, the NHL clubs don’t want stat-grazers going bananas with the same analysis we have with the Avs and everyone else and the AHL clubs would just as soon keep any and all help for opposing scouts to themselves, but it would be nice to have a few games like this daylighted if only to prove how out of it the “projected” stat guesses some folks put forth are.
Your scoring hero of the week is Igor Shvyrev with
4 uh, make that 3 assists. Alt and Aggz had 2 goals apiece, Warsofsky, Meloche, Lewis and Boikov had 2 assists and Bass had one of each.
– The Eagles have dropped to 5th in the Pacific, 3 points behind Bakersfield with a game in hand. Given their lack of offense and struggles in road games this is where they should be at this point in the season and they’ll likely be battling Stockton for the 5th and 6th spots over the rest of the year.
– Igor Shvyrev had a breakout game on Friday, credited with 3 assists even though I’m pretty sure he had 4. Coach Cronin spoke about his inconsistency before the game on Saturday, his youth and the language barrier being a hurdle he’s working to overcome but overall was complimentary on his skill and play on the ice. He’s shown real improvement so far and this year is more about the process and transition to the North American game than anything else. He’s going to be one to watch in camp next fall.
– Ryan Graves returned to the lineup this week which meant someone had to sit. The choice was Kevin Davis. No effect on Friday of course but the Eagles really missed him on Saturday. It’s probably no coincidence that Tucson chose to clog up the middle of the ice as a strategy with the Eagles down on puck-moving skills from the blueline. I can see the staff’s justification of sticking with defensive D’s against a high-scoring team but without enough puck-moving ability Colorado got bogged down all night. It’s a chronic issue and one of the main reasons the power play has been a total disaster and the offense in general is inconsistent. Best case is that management learns something from this for next year.
– The big story was Tyson Jost’s demotion and how his game would show off in the AHL. He was put on a line at center with AJ Greer at LW and Martin Kaut switching back to RW. Those 3 were joined by J-C Beaudin and a rotating defenseman on the 2nd PP unit.
In the first game that line was quiet until the very end when Greer popped in the 7th goal of the night. Jost was getting used to playing center and dealing with the chaotic nature of the AHL. He was mainly used as the F1/F2 along with Kaut while Greer did most of the heavy lifting. It wasn’t a very well-constructed line in general, too much perimeter play and not enough playmaking ability. Jost ended up with one shot on goal and the other two had three each. Score effects were big so not a match to take a lot from.
In game two, they took more deployment and looked more comfortable with each other. Jost began playing some in the F3 role which freed up Greer to be more of the forecheck specialist/net front player and Kaut could hang behind the net where his vision and passing skills are better used. Starting in P2 Jost was used on the penalty kill 2nd unit alongside Dom Toninato and did an effective job. This is something I’m hoping the Avs staff ease him into. His lack of speed won’t help but he’s smart and defensively responsible. The Eagles were shut out so no points for anyone, Jost ended up with one shot on goal, Greer had four and Kaut none. He was on the ice for the RR’s second goal but only involved with the play peripherally.
I’d call it a good start. I think his defensive play has shown improvement already and the PK time is a bonus. Nothing against Kaut but I’d rather see him back to LW where he’s been more comfortable and J-C Beaudin brought in at RW for some playmaking ability and help with F3 duties to take some of that burden away from Greer.
Jost will probably get upwards of 70 minutes of time in all situations over the next 4 games compared to the 15-20 he might see with the Avs this week and that’s going to be the determining factor in how much of a difference this move makes. The tough part is that both teams are off for a week after the Ontario game on Saturday. Unless he’s dominating play by then the smart move would be to keep him in the AHL for another few weeks. After the break the Eagles have 2 more road games then 4 in 6 days at home ending around Valentine’s Day. Targeting a comeback vs the Blues on the 16th would make more sense. More on this as it develops.
A big week. Stockton this afternoon, then Bakersfield Wednesday night and the weekend in Ontario. 4 games in 6 nights in California, what could go wrong?
Thanks to the AHL for stats and standings and to the Colorado Eagles for the feature photo.