Sunday, February 20, 2011

ESCHL Semifinals: Delaware 3, Penn State 1/Rhode Island 5, West Chester 4

VFTB highlights // PSU press release // UD press release // Box score

Well, that sucked.

I don't know of a nice way to describe what happened Saturday afternoon, so I'll just get straight to the point: the Icers were outworked, out-talented, out-coached and pretty much out-everythinged today by Delaware. We didn't look like a team that was the least bit interested in building on some of the successes of this semester, and unless something changes drastically in the next two weeks, the trip to nationals is going to be just as quick as the one to the ESCHL playoffs. As it stands, I'm not the least bit worried about missing a Penn State game as a result of my having to come home from Delaware on Travel Monday to take a midterm.

It wasn't always this ugly. Just 4:02 into the game, Dan Loucks took out Connor Moore behind the Penn State net. Marek Polidor then collected the loose puck and fired possibly the only stretch pass all afternoon that worked from his own goalline. After deflecting off the Delaware defense at center, it found a somehow-onside Chris Cerutti behind everyone, and Cerutti finished like he's been known to do from time to time. Good to have you back, Chris.

This concludes your summary of the Icers' offensive effort Saturday. Following the goal, the game looked a lot like the beginning of the Robert Morris-West Chester first-round game where the dominant team, inexplicably, was trailing. That fun only lasted until 7:41 of the second period, when a Zack Reubel dump-in took a strange bounce and was misplayed by Matt Madrazo. Thus ended the Icers only chance of winning the game, which more or less amounted to hoping Madrazo - who was outstanding otherwise - somehow made that paper-thin lead hold up.

That's not to say there weren't chances, although they were few and far between. On one such chance with 2:25 left in the second, Kurt Collins and Chris Pronchik used a blue line turnover to start a 2-on-1. Reubel hustled back from the opposite side and a combination of his nice play and some of the opposite from the Penn Staters foiled that effort. Just 25 seconds later, a deflected David Conte shot found the stick of Kevin Miller (the Delaware one), and Miller beat Madrazo with what would prove to be the game winner.

The Icers' last best chance to tie it up came with 8:55 left when Tim O'Brien took a pass just to the side of the net and attempted to stuff it in. O'Brien and several teammates thought he had scored, but it was immediately ruled that the puck had not crossed the line before coming to rest underneath Blue Hens goalie SJ Broadt. A power play with 1:44 left, combined with Madrazo being pulled, added some late drama, but ultimately it only led to an empty netter to supply the final margin.

So what's wrong with the Icers? In the chat room that's part of the UStream broadcasts, a couple of long-time fans hit on a couple problems today that I probably haven't examined here enough.
5:21 icersfan: sad that they don't seem to be communicating on the ice, this is what happens
5:22 icersfan: and if they play like this at natty's it will be one and done

5:23 sox88: you're right fan i attribute it to coaching though, you mix up pairings if somethings not working or change a d system that and where's the captain's putting fire into the players
5:24 icersfan: I agree soxs, but this has been a season long issue, it should have been fixed by now
5:25 edhume3: They lost some good coaching when Bill Downey left.
5:25 icersfan: mind you it is getting worse, ya gotta wonder if the NCAA move has something to do with it
5:25 icersfan: I hate to see them go out like this
5:27 icersfan: ed your right the loss of Downey was not good
5:27 sox88: agreed on both accounts, plus i seem to recall we had alot more asst vol coaches around too, i certainly miss Doc and Darren's help

5:30 sox88: and btw if it is a season long problem which it is makes it even more a coaching issure
5:30 sox88: issue sorry
5:31 icersfan: I think it has been a season long issue sox
5:32 sox88: agreed
5:33 icersfan: not sure what happened with coaching this year, not as good as in the past
5:35 sox88: you brought up the whole DI thing as a distraction and that could be the case to an extent with everyone wondering whats going to happen to the team
5:37 icersfan: True, maybe I am more correct than I thought
The volunteer assistant thing is something that had never even crossed my mind before, but it strikes me as a valid point - the numbers and quality probably aren't where they have been in the past. Probably more a testament to Joe Battista's magnetism than anything else. I like what I've seen from Josh Hand, so I'm not ready to say that Downey's departure caused all of this inconsistency. The NCAA transition has undoubtedly given us a giant bullseye and probably has created some tension with the underclassmen.

It's probably not a simple answer, and that answer may include all or none of those things. As of right now though, it looks like we'll have a nice, long offseason to figure it out.

Are there any positives? Well Madrazo, as mentioned. Although I once doubted it, I think he can be an equalizer at nationals against teams that, quite frankly, are better than us. The fact that this game wasn't 5-1 or 6-1 is entirely attributable to him. Also, both Cerutti and Taylor Cera returned from injuries - let's hope that some of the awfulness was due to the slightly reshuffled lines that resulted, which of course is something that can be fixed over the next couple weeks. Until we know one way or another, I foresee a whole bunch of taking anything good that happens against Rutgers next weekend and guessing whether it would've happened against Rhode Island.

Speaking of, there was another ESCHL semifinal played Saturday...

Rhode Island's explosive second period that featured goals from four different players over a span of 10:02 helped the Rams survive a late West Chester rally and win 5-4. With the victory, Rhody advances to face Delaware for the ESCHL playoff championship at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

Those four goals, from Kyle Krannich, Jaryd Coleman, David Macalino and Justin Krute came after West Chester took a surprising 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot 16-6. And they, together with a Robert Beggi tally early in the third, were enough to counter three Golden Rams ginos in the last 20:07 of the game.


  1. To be a honest I don't like your blog period. The content reminds me the HS hockey trash talking blogs. I didn't like the way you dumped on Hume and coaches in your last blog. In this blog you are again going out of your way to say negative things about the coaching staff and players talent. I think you should get 2 minutes for Unsportsmanlike conduct for posting UStream chat content outside the broadcast forum.
    Maybe naming your blog "Thank you Terry" and making a statement: "quality probably aren't where they have been in the past. Probably more a testament to Joe Battista's magnetism than anything" is a hint to something.

    Mike Ivanir

  2. First of all, thanks for the feedback.

    When I started doing this, I made the decision that I was going to be honest about how I see things, for better or for worse. If you think the team played well yesterday, or Hume played well last Saturday, or that it was a good idea to start an inconsistent goalie in a vital game (one that costs the team - my first priority - nationals without the right bounces elsewhere), that's your prerogative. I disagree.

    I try my best to be fair and keep in mind that these guys are busting their butts for my alma mater - but at the same time, "fair" is a two-way street. I try to avoid singling out individuals, and when I do, I try to keep it factual - few objective observers would disagree that Madrazo misplayed that bounce or that Collins should have shot it.

    As for the UStream chat, it's a public forum. I'm not sure what you suggest I should do there - ask the anonymous people with no contact info permission?

    I'm not following you on your last comment, re: the blog's name and Joe Battista. I hold Mr. Pegula and Mr. Battista in the highest esteem. I wouldn't have named the blog after one and always speak in a reverential tone about the other if that wasn't the case. Feel free to explain that one if you wish.

  3. The point I tried to make was that if you are on the same side with the Icers there is no benefit to be gained dissing career coaches or invidual players. Stetement as "the Icers were outworked, out-talented, out-coached and pretty much out-everythinged today by Delaware" to me came accross as snarkiness and downright rudeness.

    How about the principle: If you have nothing nice to say about someone, say nothing”
    And how about show the same respect to current Icers coaching staff and invidual players as you have for Mr. Pegula and Mr. Battista.
    I'm sure coach or a player dealing on their own terms with the outcome of that game.
    they don't need public spanking by someone who is on "their side"
    Dale Carnegie’s core principles should always hold true – for real-life and virtual interaction:

    Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
    Give honest and sincere appreciation.
    Arouse in the other person an eager want.
    Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
    Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
    If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
    Appeal to noble motives.

    What I disagree is your take no prisoners style, but this is your blog and you can do as you wish. I'm just a guy who took few minutes from watching Penguins vs Blackhawks game to offer my 2 cents worth.Good luck

  4. give it up pal... you obviously get your kicks in sitting in your parent's basement on a friday night crapping on club hockey players. Get a life

  5. Mike - Fair points all around. I'll leave it by saying that my consciousness of some things has been increased, and if nothing else, I'll try to be a little more tactful in spots when expressing frustration.

    anon7922 (ballsy name, by the way) - You get your kicks sitting in your parents' basement crapping on the guy who craps on club hockey players, so I'll take my life ahead of yours!

  6. Mike - I think it's unfair to rail on Kyle as you have. He's done a great job with an upstart blog, without having a real background in this sort of work. As well, while he's shared his frustrations with the team, Kyle has always included parts in his posts where he notes players that stood out and played well. I know he's made mention recently of the improved play of guys like McDonaugh, Seravalli, and Dolan. He does try to find praise even when, at a surface level, it might be hard to find. Which can be difficult when trying to blog while emotional after a tough loss like this one. Even harder since we as part of the Icers family aren't used to this sort of "struggling" on the ice. (Which, all things considered, isn't a bad thing at all.)

    As a fellow Icers blogger, we are thankful for your insight, Mike, and we hope that you can find a way to keep the discussion about Icers hockey alive. You'll find that Kyle is not hateful/spiteful, but very passionate about the team and its future. All things in time, good sir! :)