The Amerks won a game on the road in Syracuse. Amazing. What an odd drive home that was talking about how well the team played instead of the other way around. With two minutes left in the game my sons face lit up with excitement that he finally saw a win in Syracuse, something he’s never witnessed before in his life.
Ok, back to ground level, it was only a preseason game.. but I’ll take it.
The team that played on Tuesday night in Syracuse was a completely different team than the one that played on Sunday night. The team had some chemistry, some cohesion, the passes were crisp, bodies were thrown around, goals were scored, and there was blood. What more can you ask for in a hockey game?
I knew we were in for a good game when players were chirping at each other during warmups. Trevor Gillies for the Amerks was stretching near the red line at the end of warmups when a couple of pucks came across the ice in his direction. How did they get there? Kevin Harvey of the Syracuse Crunch. Warmups ended with Gillies tossing a puck back towards Gillies and the two players shared a one finger salute.
It only took 13 seconds for Trevor Gillies to bump into Libor Ustrnul when the two decided it was time to fight.
And then about six minutes later Jimmy Bonneau and Jon Mirasty bumped into each other in front of the Amerks bench and decided to punch each other in the had.
And then we got to playing some hockey…
If tonight was any indication I think we’re in for a treat with the Evgeny Dadonov, Chris Taylor, and Mike York line. The three players had a combined two goals and five assists.
Mike York scored the first goal off a great pass across the front of the net from Chris Taylor.
The second goal scored by Evgeny Dadonov was one I thought Dan LaCosta would have easily saved, but that’s just me doubting Dadanov it appears. Dadonov took the puck along the boards, went to the front of the net, waited.. waited.. and then put the puck into the net past LaCosta. It seemed like an eternity but was probably a split second.
Jordan Henry did a great job getting the puck to Jamie Johnson who scored the third goal of the game in the second period. The two players made it look easily. Henry was at the blue line and looked as if he just lobbed the puck to the side of the net to Johnson who was waiting to put it in the net.
The fourth goal was an awesome pass by Victor Oreskovich to Chris Taylor who shot the puck at LaCosta but was denied. Jon Landry did a great job rushing to the net to get the roubound to score the goal.
The team then started to fall apart in the third period with a lot of penalties but something surprising happened.. they were able to kill all of the penalties without allowing a goal by the opposing team.
Some more thoughts on some players..
Watching players Chris Taylor, Mike York, and Graham Mink play the whole game without missing a step has to give the rest of the team motivation to not start slacking. This is where that whole concept of veterans directly impacts a team with younger players.
If someone watched Chris Taylor tonight they would have no idea the guy will be 38 years old in March. He was all over the place hitting bodies. That’s something Syracuse has done to the Amerks the past few seasons. If anyone had any doubt that he would be missing a step this season he sure didn’t show it tonight.
Ryan Mior looked solid starting in net. Benoit Groulx said after the game he’s made a good case for himself to earn a position somewhere. Groulx had coached Mior in the QMJHL but said it was not him that brought Mior into camp.
Victor Oreskovich looked just like a second round draft pick should. He’s here on a tryout and showed some speed and grit on the ice tonight. It’ll be interesting to see if the Amerks can find a spot for him here or with the Everblades.
Andrew Sweetland. You may have just shook your head hearing that name but.. he looked good. It appears as if he’s gained some strength over the summer. I’m not ready to give up on him just yet.
Jimmy Bonneau and Trevor Gillies made a good case for themselves tonight that they should both be kept by the team. They’re both strong players who were given a decent amount of ice time and did not seem like liabilities at all on the ice.
Benoit Groulx said decisions about players like these guys would be talked about on Wednesday by the management. He said the team will need to look and find what roster spots will need to be filled based on who is still out of the lineup and who is expected back.
I’m having some technical difficulties so check back tomorrow for some more quotes from after the game along with some pictures and more about Victor Oreskovich.