Friday, October 9, 2009

Shockers Get Trampled in Season Opener

Final Score
Pythons 6
Shockers 1

Expectations were rather high for the Shockers this season but after last night's game, the visions of grandeur can finally be put into a more realistic perspective. Bottom line, the Shockers are just going to have to work harder if they want to make an impact in this league.

Shockers started off strong last season and then fell to a disappointing route of loses and team conflicts near the end of the season which in turn led to a short-lived playoff stint. The Shockers of this season have started in an entirely different tune as they were pummeled by the Pythons in last nights brew-ha-ha, 6-1.

Let's not take anything away from the Pythons as they are defending champions of the 'D' division in Laval and have a solid core of quick players and a playbook of smart passing plays. On some goals, Shockers were left scratching their heads as to where the ball even got through.

So where did everything go wrong?

Number one, defensive breakdowns. Straight and simple, you cannot let the other team have two or three feet of open space. The ball is bouncy and they are much quicker than the Shockers, so it did open the doors to a lot of opportunities for the Pythons to go on breaks or have at it alone in front of the net with goaltender, Giancarlo Capaz. And a simple notion, a player standing between you and the goalie is more dangerous than a shot from afar, pick up the men from in front of the net and disarm them as quick as possible.

Number two, forwards gave up on the defense. It's clear to see that the team has not melded together completely yet because if the team was working together there would not be any holes in the fabric. What am I talking about? On many of the occasions that the Pythons attacked the Shockers, there was always at least one man open in the zone which in the end usually ended up being the goal scorer. With the attitude of "that is not my man I'm not going to do anything about it," is a terrible mentality and you can expect more goals against if this is not rectified. Bottom line, games are won with good defense, that being said, the forwards have to re-learn what playing a defensive game is all about.

Last point, intensity. Shockers looked flat out there as they watched the Pythons pass around them like pylons. The forwards are waiting a "the big break-out pass" and the defense are trying to deal with the three to four Pythons coming into the zone. Shockers' forwards have to be more pro-active in helping out the defense and controlling the ball up the playing surface instead of waiting in the opposing zone half the game. The Shockers should look the cut down to 30 second shifts of full out running instead of trying to drag out a two to three minute shift of standing around and waiting for the ball to magically appear on their sticks. Speaking of intensity, Jeff Jasmin, who was the lone goal-scorer for the Shockers showed his determination and intensity, as usual, but was unsuccessful in infecting the rest of his team with the same energy. They might consider looking to Jasmin for inspiration.

At the end of the game, the Shockers were not silent in the dressing room about the massacre. Each player seemed to have a new aspect to improve their game and even though it is still early in the season, the Shockers still have their work cut-out for them for the next upcoming games. Sure, we can chalk up this loss as "first game of the season shakes" or "first time playing together mishaps" but maybe the Shockers should have considered working out the kinks in the off-season with a few exhibition games where the entire team was present, but hey, this is just one blogger's opinion, right?

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