My colleague, John Dudley, describes the Erie Otters’ troubles well in his column today – “The question isn’t who will be in net for the Erie Otters” for Game 4 Tuesday. “The question is whether it matters.”
Devin Williams and Oscar Dansk had another tough night in goal against Guelph.
The tandem in net allowed seven goals on 41 shots, and have surrendered 19 goals on 97 shots in the first three games of the series. But as the Otters face a 3-0 series deficit, they face face more glaring issues.
Here’s just a few thoughts on that…
* The No. 1 line of Connor Brown, Dane Fox and Connor McDavid have been nearly non-existent in the series. The Storm have given McDavid (0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points) no time and space by taking away time and space and using a physical style. Without McDavid at his playmaking best, Brown (2-0-2) hasn’t enjoyed as many quality scoring chances as he did all season long. Fox (0-1-1) hasn’t played an active role on the offensive end throughout the series. Meanwhile, his frustration level has grown with each passing game – to the tune of 10 penalty minutes and a 10-minute misconduct that ended his evening early in Game 1.
* Puck possession was a huge key to success in the regular season, and in the first two series against Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie. But aside from the start of Games 1 and 2, the Otters haven’t consistently sustained pressure in the offensive end. The more they have the puck, the less opportunity the Storm have to score.
* The Otters haven’t been mentally tough — letdowns after strong starts, allowing goals moments after scoring goals of their own, one bad penalty after another (13 short-handed situations overall in Game 3 tonight). And the Storm seemingly have taken advantage of every mistake.
* The Otters haven’t been aggressive on defense, which have given the Storm plenty of time and space. You can’t give that team any time and space and expect to win. But in the first three games, it seems like the Otters showed too much respect to the Storm from a defensive perspective. That has made life difficult for Williams (who will start Game 4 Tuesday) and Dansk. Perfect example – the Otters allowed only seven quality chances in the first two periods of Game 2 on Friday. The Storm scored on five of them.
Here’s what head coach Kris Knoblauch and D Adam Pelech had to say in the post-game news conference…