As the final buzzer sounded on the first of the home and home, there were many left scratching their heads about what they had seen and about what magic Bentley possessed to keep beating the Northeastern Huskies in their arena. For the third time, the Huskies fell to the Bentley Falcons while hosting them at Matthews Arena.
If you were to simply be handed the statistics sheet you would assume that Bentley’s goaltender Jayson Argue walked on water. He faced 51 shots on the night and only let in two—a save percentage of .960. And while Argue was indeed impressive between the pipes, Huskies head coach, Jim Madigan, felt that the onus was on his players.
“We could look at the shots and feel good about the fact that we outshot them 51 to 11, but this game isn’t measured by shots, it’s measured by whose got the most goals at the end of the game,” he stated during his postgame comments. “I thought our kids were ready to start and play the game and we had a game plan going in. We executed some of it and we couldn’t finish at the net. At the end of the day, they finished at the net and we didn’t.”
The Huskies did come out strong and it was clear that they were working a game plan, as passes forced the puck up and out of their defensive zone and the team spent the bulk of the game in the Falcons end, peppering Argue with shot after shot. But as the first period was almost over the Huskies had to take a face off in their end and that’s where things started to unravel.
“This is a 60-minute game. We’ve talked about that all year long, from last year and carry over this year. We talk about discipline. And you can’t give a team, when you have them on the ropes, opportunities and that’s what we did,” Madigan explained. “We had this team on the ropes in the first period and we didn’t execute a face off well and they score with 5.7 seconds left in the first period. We come back out and we take three hooking penalties, reaching penalties, because we’re lazy on 1-on-2 situations. Just not smart hockey. And they capitalize on two of them.”
In fact, senior and team captain, Andrew Gladiuk scored all three of Bentley’s goals—his first three on the season. The White Rock, British Columbia native had, going into the game, a career 55-53-108 in 107 games played for the Falcons. This shows that he knows how to play the game and can get to the right areas of the ice at the most opportune times.
As the game progressed and the denied shots continued to mount for the Huskies, it was apparent that they began to deviate from who they are as a team and as individual players. In some situations the results were turnovers. The Huskies forgot to keep the play simple, perhaps because they began to second guess themselves or because they felt they had more time and space to make a fancy shot.
“You know, those too cute, fancy plays in tight areas, are not us, nor were we successful,” Madigan shared. “And what ends up happening is guys try to do a little too much. Trying to play outside themselves a little bit. And then what ends up happening, you’re trying to be too cute, you’re making three passes when you should only be making one and then turnovers happen.”
Going into Saturday’s game, it is obvious that Coach Madigan wants his team to refocus on the game plan they had drawn up originally, making sure to fully execute it. He also wants his players to pay attention to Gladiuk when he is on the ice. He was pleased with the defensemen’s moving of the puck and their fast transition and suggested this would continue to be a focus going into Saturday’s rematch.