From the Eagles Desk: 9-0

The beloved Eagles won their 9th straight in game one of this weekend’s set then proceeded to lose 9-0 in game two. That’s just weird. Good news is that no matter how badly you get beaten it’s only 2 points lost in the standings and they’re still on track to clinch a playoff spot sometime in the next few weeks.

Injuries/Transactions

– Bass and Joly are still out with no timetable for returns
– Nic Meloche didn’t dress for either of these and has now missed 4 in a row after leaving a game in San Diego last weekend with an unknown injury.
– It looks like the staff have begun marginalizing the rookies roles now in advance of the playoffs. Ty Lewis is the standby top 6 forward. Dickinson looks like he’s earning PT and maybe he and Barron will alternate on the 4th line.
– The Grizzlies have gotten some players back from injury and even signed Swift Current Broncos captain Tanner Nagel so they are pretty full. They also got Joey Ratelle from the Manitoba Moose so we’re seeing a fairly Kelly Cup-era Eagles flavor down there. What this means for the AHL-era Eagles is that they have access to callups again if needed and don’t have to pirate guys from other organizations.

COL 3 – SJ 2

Goals: O’Connor (McCormick, Davis), Shvyrev (Greer, McGauley), Dries (O’Connor, McCormick)
Shots: +23/-25
PP 0-3, PK 2-2

Lineup:

Great matchup coming in with both teams tied in points and sitting in 2nd place. The 1st period was pretty low-event, San Jose developed some good pressure late and capitalized on a coverage breakdown to make it 1-0 going to intermission. The Eagles have really turned around their 2nd periods lately. For most of the season it’s been a downfall but now the staff are making good adjustments and the guys are executing well on the ice. This game we got 3 goals and dominated the shot board 11-5. Well done. There was a little bit of a turtle in the 3rd with San Jose drawing within 1 but the good guys sealed the deal for win #9 in a row.

COL 0 – SJ 9

Goals: none
Shots: +31/-40
PP 0-6, PK 5-5

Lineup:

Everyone’s got to lose sometime and the Eagles got their money’s worth out of this one. As bad as the final score indicates, the Eagles had chances to get back in this one until about halfway but couldn’t solve San Jose goalie Josef Korenar. There were a couple themes with the first several goals like turnovers at the offensive blueline, bad crease coverage, inability to clear the puck, etc. It’s all stuff we’d like to chalk up to problems that weren’t back-breaking in the previous 9 games but came together all at once. Trying to take a few positives out of this, the streak isn’t a distraction anymore and the staff have some material to work on and a week of practice to refresh and reload.

Breaking Down: Week 25

Summary

Goals: +3/-11, season +170/-181

Colorado was so close to getting back to even goal differential before the 2nd game. With 8 games left it’s probably not going to happen but it just means they’ll be an outlier if they make the playoffs. There should be a bit of worry about the scoring dropping off even more than usual over the last 8 games. They’ve only had 19 goals over the last 8 games, 7 of which were wins so no big deal but they’ve been fairly top-heavy and seem to be going for a lineup that’s defense-oriented. At some point they’re going to need skill more than grind to win a game so they can’t ignore that facet of the game full-time.

Shots: +54/-65 (45.4%), season +1872/-2026 (48%)

Lack of shot suppression has led the Eagles to the bottom of the league in shots allowed (33.77 per game, 30th in the AHL). Generally that’s not what you’d want to see but they do seem to limit dangerous chances well enough and divert shooters to where Frank and Marty can make the saves. Without shot attempt data or data broken down by situation there aren’t a ton of conclusions to draw directly. They’ve had to kill a lot of penalties which tends to inflate shot counts, they don’t shoot much on their own power plays and so forth. At 5v5 I’m willing to bet they’re a positive shot attempt team or close to it.

Shooting percentage: 5.6%, season 9.1%
Save percentage: 83.1%, season 91.1%
PDO: 88.7, season 100.2

After 2 straight weeks of 105+ PDO it all came crashing down in one game. Lady luck is fickle. Overall on the season they are pretty close to league average in shooting and save percentages and the PDO is close to dead even.

PP: 0-9, season 39-256 (-8 SHGA), 15.2% 28th in AHL
PK: 7-7, season 233-276 (+15 SHGF), 84.5% 5th in AHL
Special Teams percentage: 99.7 (102.0 adjusted)

It’s pretty amazing that San Jose managed to score all 9 goals on Sunday at even strength. Shoutout to the PK once again. The Eagles are a +3 this season on special teams despite an ineffective power play and taking the most penalties in the league. The penalty minute volume and differential have been gradually decreasing lately. Part of that is late-season officiating but there does seem to be an effort to stay clear of really bad penalties over the past few weeks.

Individual

Your scoring star of the week was Logan O’Connor with a goal and an assist. Shoutout to Igor and Dries for scoring the other 2 goals.

Overview

The Eagles kicked their magic number down to 16 over the weekend and remain tied with San Jose and San Diego for 2nd in points (but 4th in percentage) with 70. They have 8 games remaining, SD has 10, SJ has 11 and Tucson has 12. The Barracudas have 7 road games out of their last 11 (including the final 2 games of the season at BEC) and Tucson has the toughest opponent win percentage.

The Roadrunners have a tough 7 days ahead with 4 games, 2 against Manitoba mid-week then 2 against San Jose. The Mooses go from Tucson to Loveland to play the Eagles this weekend. After that, the big showdown happens in the desert the weekend after with Colorado traveling to Arizona. After that set we will know exactly what the Eagles have to do to clinch a playoff spot. Best case scenario is that the Eagles beat Manitoba twice and the RR’s lose all 4 this week, then all they’ll need is one win over Tucson to clinch.

An update on some of the Avs potential reserve list signings:

Shane Bowers and BU upset the Lowell Riverhawks to advance to the Hockey East Semifinals next weekend in Boston. Barring an improbable pair of wins (like they did last year…) he should be available to sign a week from now.

Cam Morrison and Sampo Ranta faced off against each other Saturday as Notre Dame took on Minnesota in the Big10 Semis. Morrison and Ranta scored their team’s first and only regulation goals, ironically they were each defending the other on both plays. Notre Dame won in OT on a totally garbage penalty call so they will move on to the finals next weekend. Any hope of seeing Morrison sign soon rests with Notre Dame losing next week and not receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA.

In the other Big10 Semifinal, Denis Smirnov and Penn State upset #1 seed Ohio State and will face Notre Dame next week for the league title. I have no idea if signing Smirnov is in the Avs plans but if it is then he should be available next week as well if PSU loses.

The CHL playoffs get started this week. Newly signed Nick “Hustle Hank” Henry and Lethbridge take on Calgary starting Friday night. It’s unlikely he’ll be done before the Eagles regular season is over but he’s the only guy we’re 100% sure would be added to the roster when available. Brandon Saigeon and the Oshawa Generals also begin 1st round action on Friday where they will be the favorite against Peterborough. Like Henry, it’s unlikely he’ll be available during the Eagles regular season. More on this as it becomes available.

Next up

The Manitoba Moose enjoy their first visit to the BEC next weekend with Coach Schneekloth getting his number retired as part of the festivities.

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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