SAVANNAH, Ga. – Tonight’s matchup at Enmarket Arena against the Orlando Solar Bears was a tale of three periods for Savannah. So, breaking out of my normal format I have decided to tell those stories here.
Period 1: Miscues
(Savannah: 0 | Orlando: 3) (SOG: 15-10 ORL)
The first period of Ghost Pirates’ hockey was plagued by minor miscues, slightly offbeat, and a lack of motivation. The final shot count and score differential for the first do not tell the entire story, as the first was not as far off as it seemed between these two clubs. In fact, I would go as far to say that if pass attempts were just a hair more on trajectory during this period, we might have not had such disparity on our final game score between these two clubs.
The most glaring example of a miscue in the first to me was a two-on-one rush early by Savannah that had its entire momentum snuffed out when Spencer Dorowicz just barely lost the puck which killed what was about to be a passing play to Logan Drevitch in front of the net. This allowed Orlando to gain back control of the puck, and exit it back into the neutral zone.
Three minutes later, Orlando was able to score the first goal of the period on a puck from Joe Carroll. This goal, and the other 2 that followed it in the first from Mathieu Foget, all carried the same reasoning behind them. Savannah’s defense tonight did not seem overly willing to take on the blocked shots role, and if they did block a shot Orlando’s skaters were able to quickly and efficiently out muscle Savannah off of the puck to reclaim that piece of ice and the rubber disc that laid atop it.
This led to three goals allowed by Darion Hanson on 17 shots. Although you would like to see your netminder come up with some of those back, it was clear that Hanson was left a bit out to dry on some of those shot attempts. Hanson would later end up on the sideline as Isaiah Saville took over the net to start the second period.
Period 2: Unmotivated
(SAV 0 | ORL 4) (SOG: 30-15 ORL)
It was clear in the second that Savannah had allowed the first period of hockey to completely suck out what energy the club had earlier in the game. In doing so, Savannah could not generate any headway to climb back from their current three goal deficit.
A lot of credit for this does belong to Orlando’s defense as they clogged up every passing lane for Savannah in the Orlando zone, and did not allow Savannah to exit the neutral zone in any easy manners all night.
The best opportunity of the period came in the form of a nifty bit of puck control from Max Kaufman who skated past a couple of Orlando skaters all the way up to the front side of the net before having a poke check flounder that chance. Outside of that moment, Savannah truly had nothing going that period with their first shot on goal coming 9:03 into the period on a power play.
Adding insult to the injury; Orlando added a fourth goal late into the second period from a Ross Olsson deflection. The play occurring as Savannah offered barely any pressure on the back check in this sequence, and allowed Orlando to take clean shots from the point.
Period 3: Messy
(SAV 0 | ORL 4) (SOG: 42-28 ORL)
Savannah came out in the third looking more energized than they had previously in the night, and although a comeback attempt was nothing short of miraculous, they seemed to want to put that last 40 behind them as they worked towards the third.
Early in the period Orlando would take their fifth penalty of the night; which put Jack LaFontaine in a position to really earn his eventual shutout. Although nothing came of the power play for Savannah; it did look like their best of the night as Savannah ended the night 0 out of 5 on power play attempts.
Savannah was able to put shots on net more often in this period, but they were also forced on two late penalty kills which kept killing any ground they may have been picking up.
Late into the third (17:37 and onwards) as the Savannah skater’s emotions were running high; minor scuffles kept popping up on the ice between these two clubs. A late game misconduct from Darian Skeoch seemed to be a catalyst that led the team further into this discourse.
Two minutes later, and these two teams were right back where they left off. This time the scrum becoming ice wide. As the referees worked to control the main grouping on the ice a fight in the corner had developed and Drevitch was also assessed a game misconduct penalty for losing his jersey in that scrum.
Overall, the period saw 12 penalties; including 2 game misconducts and 2 major penalties.
Both teams will be looking to quickly shake off tonight’s happenings as they both play away games tomorrow with Savannah heading up to South Carolina for another matchup against the Stingrays, and Orlando continuing their road trip by heading to Jacksonville.
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