Friday, December 08, 2006

A Sauer Taste

Again, just the first two periods because of my own hockey commitments (at least WE won! Off to the Championship next week!).

We really didn't play all that badly. Frankly I thought we outplayed ND by a not insignificant margin in the first couple of periods. Really...neither of those two ND goals in the first were "quality scoring chances".

The difference is that Billy Sauer fricking (and I didn't originally type fricking) BLOWS. He's done folks. The kid's confidence is back in the sewer. He's gotten lit three straight games, two by teams that have less than stellar offenses. He didn't play the second game last week, he got the hook tonight. He's done.

Honestly, I'm not sure at this point that it wouldn't be better for all parties if he headed back to junior (a la Justin Tobe) to try and get a fresh start. He obviously has no confidence, I can't imagine his teammates have confidence in him, and I sure as [crap] don't--not that I really matter.

Pray that Bryan Hogan is for real, because we're in bad shape goaltending-wise for at least the next couple years if he's not. Who's going to come in when we've got a junior two-year starter, a sophomore, and a freshmen--and all three are getting money? I can't believe they missed this badly on Sauer. At this point, he's not an NCAA-quality netminder. And I really don't think that's an overreaction.

The first goal tonight was inexcusable--and it'd be his worst goal of the year if he didn't give up that other one against WMU last week. It's such a let-down when you come out and give up a goal in the first minute--especially against a good defensive hockey team. It takes the wind out of the building and the team, and it gives the other team confidence coming into this barn.

What stat do you like better? The fact that Sauer has given up 10 goals on his last 33 shots (Yikes) or the fact that the year we played ND in the playoffs, they scored seven goals against us total. In six games. They matched that tonight.

The defense was fine in the part that I saw. 5 goals on what? 13 shots before he stopped the last 3? Can't blame the D when you keep em under 25 for the game and they limited odd-man rushes for the most part.

It also didn't help that we blew a bunch of high-quality scoring chances in the first period. Porter missed a tap in, Cogliano missed a tap-in, Cogliano also had a partial breakaway that he shot over the net straight up Milan Gajic style. Kolarik was leading the rush on a 3 on 1, they bunched up too much (the center was right over his shoulder) and Kolarik simply deked into the defenseman's skates.

The way I feel about this team right now is the way I felt about football when they were a pretty solid team apart from starting Todd Howard and Brandon Williams at the corners. We're a solid enough team, but we have NOTHING in goal. And even though I haven't seen Jakiel play yet, it seems that he's equally adept at giving up 2 goals a period.

Red's got a big dilemma in goal. Do you stick with Sauer and hope he plays his way out of this before it sinks your season, or do you go with Jakiel knowing that if he's got nothing, then Sauer's confidence is in the gutter and he's going to be useless the rest of the year since he's as fragile as Charles Rogers--only his problem is mental.

I need to start drinking at these games. It'd make it a lot easier to watch....

BTW, the reason for the LONG review on the second ND goal...the net was off the moorings for a solid two minutes and no one noticed. Unfortunately for us, it didn't show it on the camera they could use for review. It was apparently clear as day on FSN's coverage though. Not that it mattered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we're just spoiled more than anything. Sauer played well in the Sunday loss to ND (in fact, the whole team did). We just don't get consistant results from him.

Just by the way of comparison, David Brown of ND was very up-and-down as a underclassman too, but he had the benefit of playing behind Morgan Cey until last year.

I still think Sauer has the potential to be pretty good as a junior or senior, but we have to suffer through the growing pains with him. I think it's a similar situation as with John Navarre (or Brian Griese, for that matter). They were pretty horrible sophomores too. Don't assume Sauer has reached the peak of his development, with goalies and QBs it can be slow sometimes.

I just hope we get more of the "good" Sauer in the second half and less of the "bad". Sunday's game gave me a little hope for that.