The Evansville IceMen embark on their longest road trip of the season this weekend, playing in Kalamazoo on Friday night and then in Wheeling on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to go from Kalamazoo to Wheeling and it sure wouldn’t be to play a hockey game again the next night. The heart of the team will be tested for the first time in relation to travel and this is also the first time Evansville has a three-in-three weekend.
- The IceMen won their first home game last Friday night with an offensive outburst 4-2. They lost a hard fought game 2-1 in Cincinnati on Saturday.
- Evansville is now 1-3 at home and 1-2 on the road.
- The teams Evansville have lost to have a combined record of 20-14-2-0. None of the teams have a losing record. The only team Evansville has played up to now with a losing record is Greenville, which was a victory.
- Daulton Levielle leads the team with four points. (3G 1A)
- Expect to see a lot of Christoffer Bengtsberg in net. Scott Greenham is out of action this weekend. I’d anticipate Keegan Asmundson getting his first start of the season at some point, but Sims hasn’t appeared to be keen on starting Keegan.
Evansville IceMen @ Kalamazoo Wings
Friday November 13, 2015 7:00pm EST
Wings Event Center, Kalamazoo, MI
- The Wings are 4-6-1 on the season and are 2-5 at home. Kalamazoo has lost their last 3 home games by a combined score of 15-7.
- Friday night’s game will be Kalamazoo’s 5th game in 8 days.
- The Wings received from AHL Utica goalie Clay Witt on November 10th. He started on the 10th against Manchester and allowed six goals in just under 42 minutes.
- Kalamazoo’s other goalie is Joel Martin. Martin is 4-5-1 with a 3.22 GAA. Martin has also faced an average of 34 shots per game.
- The Wings are led offensively by Alex Mallet with five goals and four assists. Dane Fox has four goals and five assists. Also keep an eye on Adam Phillips who has four goals this year.
Evansville IceMen @ Wheeling Nailers
Saturday November 14, 2015 7:35pm EST
WesBanco Arena, Wheeling, WV
Sunday November 15, 2015 4:05pm EST
WesBanco Arena, Wheeling, WV
- Wheeling is 5-5-0 and 3-2 at home this year.
- The games against Evansville will be Wheeling’s 6th and 7th game in a 9 day span.
- Jarrett Burton leads Wheeling with 6 goals and Derek Army leads the team with 11 points. (3G 8A)
- Wheeling has used two goalies, each with five starts. Franky Palazzese is 3-2 with a 2.81 GAA and Brian Foster is 2-3 with a 2.82 GAA.
- In 10 games, Wheeling is yet to win or lose more than two games in a row. They lost at Reading on Wednesday and host Reading on Friday.
What to Watch For
As I noted in the introduction, this is Evansville’s first difficult road trip. Playing Friday night in Kalamazoo and Saturday night in Wheeling isn’t an easy. They will follow up on Sunday with yet another game in Wheeling. For a younger team, this will be their first test of road weariness. How well they respond to fatigue will be a key factor into how well the weekend goes.
Not to beat a dead horse, but someone hand me a whip…Offense Offense and Offense will be critical on the three game trip. Both Kalamazoo and Wheeling have shown a propensity to allow goals. Six times this year Kalamazoo has allowed four or more goals, including their last three games. There have been five times this year Wheeling’s opponent has scored four or more. This is the time and place for Evansville to get out of it’s offensive drought and put some pucks in the net. The IceMen offense was taken off the endangered species list against Indy last Friday but in order for this team to be competitive night after night it has be more often than once every seven games.
The IceMen defense lost another body when Samuel Noreau was reassigned back to the AHL. He hasn’t played much in Evansville the last few games, but it’s another defenseman that could have been fresh legs over the weekend. The defense will need to stay tough and focused in order to keep Evansville in each game.
For your amusement…