Instead of writing a full recap of a game that took place almost 48 hours ago, I'm going to kind of summarize where I think this club is at this point in the season. First of all, let's forget about the officiating on Friday night. You know as well as I do, the performance those refs put on was something that probably shouldn't have taken place Coach York would never, in a million years, say something like that but I think, deep down, the staff was really upset about some of the events that took place on Friday. Anyways, let's forget about all that crap.
First of all, I thought Brian Billett was really good both Thursday and Friday. He still needs to work on his rebound control as he almost let a couple of real bad ones slip by him but at the end of the day, he gave the Eagles a chance to win on both nights. That's all you can ask for out of a goaltender. I would expect him to go on Wednesday because Demko is not fully healed from a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for this weekend.
On the offensive side of things, I thought UMass did a fantastic job of shutting down Johnny G. Yes, he had two points this weekend but he is always going to have his points. It's when you keep him under control and don't give him space, where he is not much of a factor. I thought BC's third and fourth lines were solid for the most part but I'm still a little confused about the X's and O's going on. I thought Matty Gaudreau played great on Friday and I believe he deserves to start again this week. However, I don't agree with putting him on the third line. The decision to bench Calnan was a little troubling considering the fact that he played fine on Thursday (in my opinion). I would expect there to be a few changes on Wednesday night.
The biggest issue that needs to be addressed with this team is the penalties. Whether you liked the way the refs called the game on Friday, there is nothing you can do about it and a penalty is a penalty. The PK has been really good statistically but they're not going to kill off fifteen straight penalties against what was the #4 power play in the country. Guys like Mike Matheson and Steven Santini are two of the most valuable players on this club. They need to be logging a lot of minutes. It doesn't help when your best +/- guy (Santini) gets tossed in two consecutive games and has to sit out another two. Whether it was a penalty or not (and it wasn't), guys don't need to be trying to take people's heads off with under five minutes to play in a league game.
Overall, I like where this team is at. It would have been great to get four points this weekend, but considering the fact we had to kill off a five minute major with three minutes to go in regulation, I'm just fine with three points. I was extremely pleased to see the staff put all the big guns on the first power play unit for the first time since the Minnesota series. The result was some scary good puck movement and a goal that was called back for some reason I can't explain. If you would have told me that through eleven games we would be sitting a point out of first place, at 6th in the pairwise, and haven't lost a league contest yet, I would be pretty darn pleased.
It also helps when you land a once in a lifetime talent.