Takeaways from the River Rats’ third loss of the season


Sandra Fu

The River Rats lost their third game of the season, the second loss by more than four goals.

Zach Phelps, Staff Writer

The River Rats men’s hockey team dropped to 2-3 on the season, losing their second straight game, this time to Saline.
The Rats were behind from puck drop and never had a legit chance to pull through and win this game. Saline thoroughly dominated for three periods on their way to an 8-3 win.They mustered only 20 shots and had limited time in the offensive zone as two of the Rats’ three goals came in transition play.

D-Zone Struggles
The Rats spent the majority of this game on their heels in their own zone, and giving up eight goals is the unsurprising result. Huron allowed Milan sophomore goalie Nathan Bowman to be pounded with over 40 shots on goal because of this poor defense. The Rats struggled to clear the puck out of their zone and when they did it always ended up right back in. If it weren’t for Bowman the score would look even worse, but Bowman held firm when he had chances. Huron’s D core just couldn’t contain the skill and finesse of Saline’s forwards, allowing attackers to toe drag and power by them on multiple occasions which resulted in attacker-on-goalie one on ones that are nearly impossible to stop. Poor defense in front of him was the primary reason for Bowman’s .813 save percentage and 8 goals against.

Non-existent: Consistent Attack
The Rats were unable to get any sort of consistent offensive attack going on this game. They were suffered by Saline’s D core and had extremely limited chances. Their entries into the offensive zone were sloppy and oftentimes resulted in pucks sliding to places where no Huron player was present. Huron looked out of sync in the offensive zone and because of this they never got quality o-zone time, even on the power play. When the Rats did have the man advantage, the special teams was stagnant and was never a real threat. The special teams penalty kill was slightly better, including killing off a five-on-three in the third period, but too little too late.

Rebound, Rebound, Rebound
The offense that the Rats did get came when they were able to outlet the puck to their speedy forwards and get two-on-one opportunities. Huron scored two such goals, both coming in the second period. The first was a rebound that went right on Junior Karsen Kucharski’s stick and into the back of the net. This made the game 3-1 and was as close as the Rats ever got to contending in this game. The second such goal came after a nice Bowman save on a similar two-on-one, then the Rats were able to get an odd man rush the other way. Junior defenseman Brennan Bruch’s shot got stopped, and the rebound went off the goaltender’s blocker right to Sophomore forward Caleb Patterson’s stick and in the back of the net to make the score 5-2. This was Huron’s best play along with its best period. Huron’s third goal was scored by Senior defenseman Nick Pauken on a nice slot in the slot in the third period to cut the Saline lead to four, 7-3.