The IceMen have started 0-2 but have a lot of positives as they go on their first road trip of the season. The defense has been very strong and the penalty kill unit has been successful four out of five times. Goalie Scott Greenham has a save percentage of .927. The offense has created some strong scoring chances including breakaways in each of the first two games.
The downside for Evansville has been obvious, the team has scored only goal in each of their first two games. A team can do everything else correct, but unless pucks find their way into the net it’s impossible to win hockey games. The IceMen have had another whole week off between games. The positive to that is fresh legs and the ability to practice together as a team. The downside is that when a team starts in a scoring funk the way Evansville has, it allows an opportunity for doubt to creep in.
Defenseman Chris Carlisle has been recalled to the AHL and all signs point toward Chris Rumble getting his first dress of the season with Evansville. Rumble played eight games for Evansville last year after finishing up his time at Canisius College. The IceMen may choose to dress Michael Trebish and his 173 penalty minutes last season against South Carolina, but I’ll address that below.
Goalie Scott Greenham has started both games for Evansville and I anticipate him starting Saturday in Greenville. Evansville has dressed Christoffer Bengtsberg as the backup in both games and I’d assume he will see his first action of the year Sunday against South Carolina.
Evansville @ Greenville
Saturday October 31, 2015
Greenville, SC 3:00 EDT
Greenville – The Swamp Rabbits have had a good start to their season, only losing their opener. Since opening night, Greenville has won their last three. They won both ends of a home and home with South Carolina last Friday and Saturday. The Swamp Rabbits followed that up by sweeping the weekend on Sunday at home against Florida. During the weekend sweep, Greenville held their opponents in all three games to three goals or fewer.
Offensively, the Swamp Rabbits have had Bretton Cameron, Josh Nicholls and Emerson Clark all score three goals already this season. Jack Combs is the team leader in points with six. He has two goals and four assists in only four games. In three out of the four games, Greenville has scored three goals and had a five goal night last Friday while hosting South Carolina.
Greenville has used three different goalies in net already this year. The opening night loss had Allen York in net. York is a name familiar in Evansville, having played for the IceMen in parts of two different seasons. York was on loan from the AHL, recalled and loaned back to Greenville on October 27th. The strongest goalie so far this year for the Swamp Rabbits has been Adam Morrison. He has a 1.97 G.A.A. in two starts. Greenville has another full weekend playing three games in three days. If the Swamp Rabbits decide to start Morrison on Friday there’s a real possibility Evansville could see York on Saturday.
Greenville has been 2-0 at home, going into their Friday night game.
What to Watch For Greenville – Evansville is looking to get out of its offensive slump but that won’t be an easy task Saturday in Greenville. The Swamp Rabbits haven’t shown a propensity to commit bad penalties and play solid defense, however Evansville should be able to get shots off, as Greenville has given up an average of just over 27 shots a game.
This will be Evansville’s first road game of the season and getting off to a strong start will be significant. The IceMen will want to limit Greenville scoring chances early on and force an up tempo game. This game will be Greenville’s second leg of three games in three days. If Evansville can score in the first period, it might be the momentum they need to put Greenville on its heels and use their fresh legs.
Evansville @ South Carolina
Sunday November 1, 2015
North Charleston, SC 3:05 EST
South Carolina – The Stingrays have stumbled out of the gate this season. After winning their opening game 2-1, it was tough sledding in South Carolina. They lost the next day 6-0 and were swept last weekend in three games, earning a single point in an overtime loss. The Stingrays rebounded on Wednesday night winning in Florida 4-2. In their six games so far this year they’ve been held to two goals or fewer in three games and gave up five goals or more in three games. In total, South Carolina has given up 22 goals and only scored 14.
Stephan Vigier has played strong offensively since being traded from Toledo after the first two games of the year. He’s scored two goals and has three assists in four games with the Stingrays. Andrew Johnston also has two goals and two assists this year.
The Stingrays have used two goalies this year, Mark Dekanich and Vita Vanecek. Dekanich is 1-1 with a 3.12 G.A.A and Vanecek is 1-2-1 with a 3.81 G.A.A. South Carolina also signed Branden Komm this last week.
South Carolina played in Florida on Wednesday and does again on Friday before returning home on Sunday to play Evansville. In hosting the IceMen, the Stingrays will be playing their 4th game in eight days. The Stingrays have been 1-2-1 at home so far this season
What to Watch For South Carolina – In South Carolina’s two wins they’ve limited their opponents to two or fewer goals, but they aren’t consistently able to put together good defensive games. Reading scored six times in a game and Atlanta put up five spot. They had their strongest offensive performance on Wednesday by scoring four goals but consistently score three so far this year.
The Stingrays have the second most penalty minutes in the league. Evansville was distracted into a chippy game during the 2nd period against Toledo and it was their worst period of the season. Evansville may choose to dress Trebish for this game and Dunn isn’t shy about throwing punches as he proved last Saturday night. This will be Evansville’s first back to back games of the season and the conditioning and stamina of the team will be significant. If Evansville plays well and gets a win on Saturday that could carry over into Sunday. The reverse is also true and a hangover from an 0-3 start could send Evansville to the game morally beaten.
Happy Halloween from my Sin Bin Family to all of you!