On last night’s RWTH Live, Nate mentioned that he has concerns about this year’s team, and that their fantastic record is mainly due to Pickard. Nate is right. The Rampage have 6 points (sorry a 75% points percentage – love you AHL!) in the 4 games I’ve seen them play so far. However, they have a 44.8% All Corsi in those games (still under 50% if I pretend the Texas game never happened). The Corsi Close number is 46.9% for all 4 games. I’ll talk more about that next week when I do the first summary and WOWYs for the year. I will be attending Tuesday’s school day game, so look for that on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Friday vs Chicago
(Reminder: You can click images to enlarge them)
The Bigras-Clark pairing was an absolute disaster this weekend. The coaching staff seems to have noticed, as their Zone Starts went from 30% Offensive on Friday to over 80% on Sunday. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Noreau-Siemens pairing has established itself as the most consistent and best defensive pair for this team.
One point brought up on the show last night was that they don’t play a 3rd period shell anymore. The Corsi for the 3rd was 10 For and 17 Against (37%), which seems like a shell, however, the way they played reminded me of a soccer team with a 1 goal lead and 15 minutes remaining. They let Chicago have the puck, but once they regained possession, it was all systems go and they would launch a furious counter attack.
Saturday at Texas
This game was a disgusting blood bath. I should have known this would be a weird game since it was the first time I attended a Pacific Division game featuring two Texas teams (In fairness to the AHL, the Cedar Park Center is only a 1391 mile driver from the Santa Monica Pier per Google Maps). Mikko’s two goals were probably the two luckiest goals that the Rampage will score this year and they came within 4 minutes of each other. Somehow, Pickard was only the 3rd Star of this game, which is a crime against the sport of hockey.
Maggio and Bordeleau didn’t have a single offensive or defensive zone face off. Presumably, this is due to the coaching staff realizing how much those two were struggling and not wanting to waste an OZ zone or get hemmed in after a DZ draw. I’m really happy that Martinsen got called up, because it breaks up the 27-37-71 line which was a disaster. One additional note- I really hope that this is the last time that someone with at 46.4% Corsi is the Rampage’s best forward with a +17.6% Relative.
Sunday vs Chicago
Smith and Rendulic were both fantastic after Martinsen got called up. Another bright spot has been the Schumacher-Henley-Bourke line, especially Schumacher who had a 78.6% Corsi on Sunday was a top 4 forward in each game. Noreau-Siemens was the top defensive pairing for the 2nd straight day. Bigras and Clark despite incredibly favorable deployments were was the worst pairing on Sunday. It’s probably time to shuffle the D up a little bit.
Agozzino and Cliche skated at practice today, which is a godsend, because the makeshift 4th line was basically a Superfund site all weekend. However, Cheek’s WOWYs are something I’m excited to run after I update my spreadsheets. I really liked him whenever he wasn’t on the 4th line. The coaching staff seems to have wildly fluctuating opinions of him, as he played the 1st line with Hishon and Mikko during the 3rd on Saturday, and he scored a nice goal. However, to start Sunday was on a line with a Defenseman playing Left Wing and the now-suspended Bordeleau. He was then moved up after Mikko left. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cheek stays up. #FreeCheek