Just 24 hours after picking up their biggest win of the season, the Eagles responded with another great effort but fell just a few plays short as Denver scored with under a minute left in OT to take game two of the series. Obviously, the expectation is always to win and losing or tying are unacceptable but as mad as I am about the power play and final two minutes of OT, I believe the Eagles fly home a better team than they came out. Demko was outstanding, the PK killed off 12 DU power plays on the weekend, and overall, I think everyone had their moments over the course of these past two games. Unfortunately, you can't go 0 for 8 on the man advantage and expect to beat good hockey teams. We are not going to score many even strength goals this year and the only way we beat good teams is by taking advantage in those type of situations, especially on the road. You just have to find a way to capitalize, just once. BC couldn't find a way. They haven't had two set units all season and for some reason they broke up the Matheson-Hanifin first unit pairing but I'm sure they'll get to work on it and fix it for Wednesday.
The first period was another solid 20 minutes of defensive hockey for both teams but the highlight was undoubtedly BC's lengthy 5 on 3 penalty kill, something they have now done in two straight games. There are three things I am NOT worried about right now. Number one, our PK, it looks tremendous, 100x better than it did earlier in the season. Secondly, I think we've got the best goaltender in the country who gives us a chance to win every game. He was outstanding once again. Lastly, BC continues to play smart in their own end and in the neutral zone. I can't recall any bad turnovers or Denver having a bunch of odd man rushes. McCoshen in particular made some significant strides this weekend.
On the other hand, as you can tell, I'm really worried about our power play. When I say worried, I mean really worried. Ever since Coach Brown took the reins in 2004, our man advantage has been one of, if not the best, unit in the country year in and year out. Having guys like G, Atkinson, and Gibbons doesn't hurt but it's not like we're playing with a bunch of stiffs right now. I think they'll figure it out eventually but maybe they could give Spiro and Calnan shots on Wednesday but they won't take Straight out because he had arguably his best weekend of the year (besides the OT goal). I don't know how they're going to fix it but maybe load up on the first unit with 5,7,12,14,19 and then 4,3,11,26,24 on the second unit. I think that could work.
All in all, it's going to stink flying home tomorrow morning after a loss like that but no one can say that BC didn't play their hearts out for 125 minutes this weekend. Denver is a great team and I'm 100% convinced they will be a factor come March so credit them on a fantastic game and a hard fought weekend of hockey. Unfortunately, the schedule doesn't allow for any down time as the Eagles travel to Hartford on Wednesday to take on Coach Cav and the Huskies before the biggest regular season game in BC hockey history on Friday.
Why BC lost-
1. Power play is as bad as it has ever been. Coach Brown will get it fixed, no worries.
Injury Update- Mike Sit suffered a left arm injury in the first and left the game. He had a cast on.
Next up- @ UConn on Wednesday.
I'll post my thoughts on Denver tomorrow night. Awesome trip.