From the Eagles Desk: san diego

Facing a winless team is a little scary and the Eagles ended up dropping both games to the previously unvictorious Gulls this weekend. That makes 3 regulation losses in a row against division opponents with a tough series against Ontario on Tuesday/Wednesday.

Injuries/Transactions

– ECHL top scorer Josh Dickinson was called up from Utah and made his season debut on Friday

– Calle Rosen returned after a few weeks on the shelf with ?BI

– Martin Kaut and Michael Joly were scratched for UBI. I assume this was a surprise since Jacob MacDonald ended up playing wing over the weekend

COL 4 – SD 5

Goals: Timmins (Tynan, Renouf), Dries (Dickinson), Shvyrev (MacDonald), Nantel (Bowers, Campbell)
Shots: +34/-35
PP 0/2, PK 4/5

Lineup:
Condra – Tynan – LOC
Nantel – Bowers – Campbell
Dries – Dickinson – Lewis
MacDonald – Shvyrev – Henry

Renouf – Alt
Lindholm – Rosen
Connauton – Timmins

Werner
Miska

Scratch: Kaut (UBI), Joly (UBI), Greer (suspension), Anderson, Bibeau

The Eagles never lead in this game and it was only tied for 13+ minutes but they were in it for the most part. After a fairly brutal 1st period they went to inters down 3-1. The 2nd has been especially fruitless this season but this time Colorado won the frame 2-1 thanks to goals from Dries and Shvyrev. Julien Nantel’s 2nd goal in as many Fridays tied it early in P3. San Diego’s winning goal was a combination of a long PK shift, a tough neutral zone turnover then one of many royal road passes that got through the defense over the 2 games. With Adam Werner pulled late the Eagles couldn’t even gain possession in the offensive zone much less create a scoring chance and that was that.

COL 2 – SD 5

Goals: MacDonald (Tynan, O’Connor), Campbell (Dries, Bowers)
Shots: +29/-29
PP 0/4 (1 SHGA), PK 1/3

Lineup:
Condra – Tynan – LOC
Nantel – Bowers – Campbell
Dries – Dickinson – Lewis
MacDonald – Shvyrev – Henry

Renouf – Alt
Lindholm – Rosen
Connauton – Timmins

Miska
Werner

Scratch: Kaut (UBI), Joly (UBI), Greer (suspension), Anderson, Bibeau

The Gulls once again scored early to go up 1-0. Midway through the 1st was the turning point of the game. The Eagles drew a penalty, then another for a 5v3 and looked just as awful as they do at 5v4. After several odd man rushes by San Diego, Hustle Hank had to take a penalty on a straight up breakaway. The Gulls scored on the 4v4 and again on the resulting power play. That, my friends is Eagles hockey in a nutshell. From down 1-0 but with a 2-man advantage to game over in a matter of minutes.

Breaking Down: Week 5

Goals: +6/-10, season +24/-32

Shots: +63/-64 (49.6%), season +287/-284 (50.3%)

Shooting percentage: 9.5%, season 8.4%
Save percentage: 84.4%, season 88.7%
PDO: 93.9, season 97.1

The Eagles are +20/-22 at even strength, not bad. There are a lot of score effect goals in there so who knows how that really plays out. Safe to say there haven’t been a lot of meaningful goals scored this year. They did correct the 2nd period malaise a bit this week with 3 in the middle frame so that’s a good sign.

PP: 0/6 (1 SHGA), season 3/38 (3 SHGA), 0% adjusted
PK: 5/8, season 28/35 (1 SHGF), 82.9% adjusted
Adjusted Special Teams percentage: 82.9

It’s hard to fathom how poor the Eagles power play is. They have given up as many goals as they have scored which is unheard of this far into a season. Special teams are a net -6 and that’s with a positive penalty differential. Looking at this another way, a mediocre team would have to have around a -36 penalty differential to be this far in the hole. Special teams are costing them more than ¾ of a goal per game, it’s unbelievable.

Scoring was very spread out with 11 players taking points on the 6 goals scored. Your stars of the week are Mac, Dries and Campbell with a goal and assist each plus Bowers and Tynan with a couple assists each. Shoutout to Timmins for his first professional goal, Bowers for his first AHL regular season points and ECHL player of the month Josh Dickinson for moving up a level and creating an assist.

Overview

Coach Cronin’s comments before Saturday’s game were fairly alarming, and for several reasons. He started off by mentioning that the defensive meeting that morning had been one of the longest in his coaching career and finished with “don’t chase the offense, the offense will come off the defense”. What happened that night was even worse defensive play and even less offense.

I wouldn’t say the Eagles were particularly solid defensively last year. They gave up lots of shots on goal but had one of the best goalies in the AHL hiding the flaws. They were extremely susceptible to strong forechecking teams pinning them in the d-zone and mostly responded with a collapsing/shot-blocking structure that relied heavily on Francouz’s experience to bail them out. Adam Werner is talented but he’s very young and inexperienced, he can hide flaws like Frank did but not to the same degree nor as consistently. What they’re doing now quickly leads to chaos and goals against. I don’t think they’re executing Cronin’s plan all that well but I also don’t think the plan suits the personnel they have very well either. It’s going to be interesting to see how this evolves because what they have now doesn’t work and changing it isn’t easy and involves some major tweaks.

In a broader view, when I’ve watched the Eagles this year something is missing. They don’t really have an identity. They have some speed but don’t play very fast. They have some size but don’t play very physical. I think talent-wise this year’s club is better than last year’s but there’s no chemistry in the lines and pairs and they don’t play off each other well or make each other better on a regular basis. Coach Cronin is a sharp guy and he’s good with the technical side, the X’s and O’s, but what he really needs to give this group is something stylistically that they can all buy into. If he can get the players on the same page with a common attitude then it’s going to be a ton easier to fix the structure. It will also make them a ton easier to watch and root for.

Next up

Mid-week series with Ontario tomorrow and Wednesday then off to Texas

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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