(Photo Credit : Mick Lite)
The St. Charles Chill came into tonight’s game against the reigning Central Hockey League champions, the Allen Americans, with a little more offensive fire power. In exchange for offense, however, their defense took a hit. The Chill drop game two of the season to the Americans, by a score of 6-4.
From the drop of the puck, you could tell this was going to be an offensive game. Both teams had plenty of scoring chances, quality scoring chances, and it was a game of cat and mouse on the defensive end. Both teams were sloppy in the defensive zone for the majority of the game, it just turns out that it was St. Charles, who would make the most mistakes.
The first period featured a lot of back and forth play between these two opponents, and both teams managed to tally goals in the first. Kyle O’Kane got the Chill on the board first after he crashed hard to the net and buried a Sean Muncy rebound shot. Dean Moore earned the secondary assist on O’Kane’s goal.
Allen forward, Jamie Schaafasma, evened the score late in the first period. Defensemen Daniel Tetrault registered the only assist on the Schaafasma goal. With the score even at one, the two teams regrouped in their respective locker rooms for the first intermission.
When the teams came out for the second period, it seems the game really slowed down for the first half of the period. A quick goal from Allen forward, Spencer Asuchak to give the Americans a one goal lead. Darryl Bootland registered the only assist on the play.
Both teams really upped the intensity during the second half of the period, and the offense picked up as well. Jerret Lukin (from Corey Tamblyn and Charles Lachance) scored just over ten minutes into the second period to up the score to 3-1 in favor of Allen. His goal would be answered by Chill defensemen, Steve Makway, who intercepted an errant Allen pass and just overpowered David Brown, the Americans goaltender.
Mathieu Corbeil, who faced an incredible amount of high quality scoring chances, had not chance on the next goal, as Bootland would get his first goal of the night (assisted by Alex Lavoie and Daniel Tetrualt). With time running down in the second period, the Chill would come within one, on a goal by Kyle Kraemer. Kramer received a pass from Chad Costello buried the puck past Brown inch the Chill back into the game. Anthony Pisano registered the secondary assist on the play.
The third period continued on, much like the first two periods, with a lot of scoring chances for both teams. The Chill, who showed a lot of resiliency in their home opener against the Missouri Mavericks, again showed that they can battle back late in games. Chill forward Ryan Berard scored with just 3:22 left in the third period to tie the game. Berard’s goal was a result of crashing hard to the net after his linemate, Justin Levac put the puck in the middle of the ice. Levac and Tyler Barr recorded assists on the game-tying goal.
Just when it looked like the game was going into overtime, Allen forward Alex Lavoie decided to take the game into his own hands. After stripping the puck from a Chill forward, Lavoie beat all five Chill players to the net and scored the eventual game-winning-goal against Corbeil. He faked forehand and lifted the puck on his backhand to put the Americans back on top, with just 1:35 remaining on the clock.
After a timeout called by St. Charles head coach, Jamie Rivers, the Chill looked to make another comeback late in the game. With Corbeil on the bench, the Chill had their opportunity to tie the game. Yet after a series of mistakes and turnovers by the Chill’s forwards, Darryl Bootland would score his second goal on the night for Allen, into the empty net.
It wasn’t hard to see that Rivers wasn’t happy with his teams performance, and he made that loud and clear after the game. “Quite honestly, we can’t seem to piece together 20-25 minutes of good hockey. It’s inconsistent and it’s all over the place. As the game gets harder, we make the game more complicated. We need to dumb it down. We need to get the puck ahead of them and out work them, get the pucks to the net and jam away.” Rivers broke down his teams goals and there was a common factor, and that was that the team didn’t seem to be putting enough pucks on net.
“I don’t know when we’re going to learn that shooting the puck actually works. The fancy stuff is going to go bye-bye or things are going to change. The guys who are going to give me the most are going to play. The guys who aren’t giving me anything are going to disappear. I don’t need them and the organization doesn’t need them.”
Rivers isn’t fooling around and he expects a lot more from his team. Chill’s defensemen Steve Makway expects the same thing. “Our defense needs to play a little more defense. We’re jumping up when we should be focusing on keeping pucks out of our net.”
Makway also knows that it’s not just the defensive side of the game needs to improve, but for him specifically, offense on the power play needs to show as well. “For me, we’re supposed to have one of the better power plays in the league and I’m at the top of that. I’m not doing a good enough job of getting shots through. It is just the start of the season, and it’s only game two, but we need to be able to get points whenever we can get them and I need to be better.”
The number one guy who had the hardest night, was goaltender Mathieu Corbeil. Corbeil, like game one, was on the hook for a lot of odd-man rushes tonight and unlike game one, he couldn’t get the majority of them. Coach Rivers also spoke on Corbeil’s performance. “Look at the goals. A one-timer from the slot, a breakaway, a three-on-one. He’s a victim of circumstance. How many times are we going to lean on him to make the game-stopping save. He makes all the saves we need him to, it’s the other stuff that we need to clear out of our game”
The Chill make a trip to Quad City tomorrow night to take on the Mallards, then will return home Sunday and face the same Mallards to cap off a weekend of three games in three nights. Corbeil will get the start tomorrow night and Robby Moss is expected to get the start Sunday at home.
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