FOND DU LAC
Some familiar problems were brought to light again for the Oshkosh Ice Hawks on Saturday afternoon.
The team has struggled when allowing early goals, hasn’t gotten much production off the power play and had its difficulties against fast, physical forechecking teams and all three issues again plagued the Ice Hawks in a 9-3 Badgerland Conference loss to St. Mary’s Springs.
To start with, the Ledgers needed less than a minute to score the opening goal and the Ice Hawks trailed the entire way.
“The early goals seem to be our downfall,” Oshkosh coach Jonathan Schubert said. “If they get a couple in quick, it doesn’t matter what team it is, if they get in there and get them quick, we just have a hard time battling back from that.”
St. Mary’s Springs would score again at the 6-minute mark, but that goal was answered 17 seconds later when Ryan Mantz scored off assists from Austin Eiler and Sergei Bouche.
Mantz’s second goal came about 6½ minutes into the second period and cut the Ledgers’ lead to 4-2.
In between, though, the Ice Hawks had a pair of power play chances that expired without generating much of an attack or a momentum-turning goal.
“Our power play, we have struggled the entire season to get the power play going and actually produce something,” Schubert said. “We’re almost better not taking the power play.”
Tyler Hoodie’s goal midway through the second period answered another two-goal outburst by the Ledgers, who outshot the Ice Hawks 35-31 in the game.
But that would be all for Oshkosh, which was held to three goals or less just once in its first six games but hasn’t topped the three-goal mark in any of its last three losses.
“I think we have talented guys up front who should be able to put the puck in the net but we’re not capitalizing on that,” Schubert said. “We’re struggling defensively and it’s not providing our opportunities for offensive chances.”
Part of the problem on Saturday was that the Ledgers weren’t letting the Ice Hawks skate out of their zone very often.
Springs was able to keep Oshkosh on the defensive for long stretches and when the Ice Hawks were able to break out, it was often a long clearing pass that either created a scoring chance or resulted in an icing call.
“(The opponent’s forecheck) was a problem prior to this game and it was emphasized even more so on an Olympic sheet of ice like this,” Schubert said of the rink size at the Blue Line Club Family Ice Center. “If you are not moving it from stick to stick immediately, there’s a lot of ice for them to get to and they took it away from us instantly.”
Oshkosh…1 2 0 — 3
St. Mary’s Springs…2 5 2 — 9
SMS — Connor Blanck (Brendon Gysbers), :50. SMS — Blanck (Anthony Grebe), 6:07. OSH — Ryan Mantz (Austin Eler, Sergei Bouche), 6:24.
Second period: SMS — Sean Ahern (Benton Deanovich, Alex Fischer), 2:19 (pp). SMS — Mark Austin (Gysbers, Grebe), 5:33. OSH — Mantz (Eiler, Eddie Dempsey), 6:39. SMS — Matt Austin (Jackson Voight, Blanck), 9:36. SMS — Mark Austin (Blanck, Tanner Good), 9:47. OSH — Tyler Hoodie (Nick Monfils), 11:18. SMS — Matt Austin (Fischer, Andrew Riehl), 15:55.
Third period: SMS — Blanck (Grebe, Mark Austin), 3:19. SMS — Gysbers, 5:10.
Saves: OSH (Dan Degner 13, Zach Holliday 13) 16, SMS (Andrew Riehl) 28.