Back to the Future night didn’t go as well as the hometown crowd would have liked. Evansville controlled the play most of the first period, but Marek Tvrdon redirected a shot past IceMen goaltender Scott Greenham and took a 1-0 lead after one. The Walleye responded in the 2nd period and had their legs under them much better than they did in the first. Frustration was evident as the Evansville team spent much of the period with someone in the penalty box. Josh Shalla scored for Toledo and after two periods Toledo lead 2-0. The IceMen did score in the third period with a redirect of their own by Tyson Fawcett. The IceMen poured on pressure the last half of the third period but did not score again.
The Good – The Evansville penalty kill had three opportunities and did a consistently strong job of limiting chances. In the second period with the team down 2-0, a third goal for the Walleye would have felt like a back breaker. The penalty kill group and strong saves by Greenham kept Evansville alive through two periods.
The entire team in the 1st period. The IceMen were clicking on all cylinders during the first twenty minutes. The power play was aggressive, the defense was swarming and the offense created strong scoring chances. Evansville controlled the puck and the action.
The Bad – The IceMen offense is struggling. Collectively there are only two goals scored by the team through two games. This game was very similar to the team’s first in that Evansville created some strong scoring chances but failed to capitalize on them. This is a young team and if they continue to create the way they have, I believe the goals will come. It isn’t happening yet and for that reason it’s in the bad.
The Ugly – The 2nd period breakdown of the game. It’s not uncommon for teams that are doing things well but not seeing results on a scoreboard to get frustrated. Evansville ended up with 32 penalty minutes for the game, 25 of which were earned in the second period. It not that there isn’t a time and place in hockey to fight. Evansville controlled pace and the puck the entire first period and the second half of the third period. Toledo was playing its second road game in two days. By letting the play deteriorate, it benefited the team that wasn’t on fresh legs. The IceMen got away from their style of play and Toledo controlled the period.
Final Thoughts – Evansville’s defense was very strong in the first and the third period tonight. They allowed a combined 11 shots for those two periods. Goalie Scott Greenham had another strong performance, allowing only two goals in both of his starts this year. Greenham also kept Evansville alive in the 2nd period with some strong saves while the team was down by 2, There was only once that I noted when a defenseman jumped into the play offensively and it lead to an odd man rush coming back the other way.
It would benefit Evansville to create some more traffic in front of the net. Reducing goalie visibility, more ability to redirect and being in good position for a rebound are all significant benefits. There have been very few second chance opportunities for Evansville so far this year, and once Evansville starts scoring this is going to be a difficult hockey team to beat.