Morning Jac: Golden Flyers on the Rebound
I figured out early on that Nazareth head coach Rob Randall wasn't too thrilled drudging up memories about the season-opening upset loss to Springfield.
"You're going to make me relive that nightmare?" he said.
Randall admits that he was disturbed at the conclusion of Springfield contest after the Pride walked away with an improbable, 11-10 victory even in the face of the Flyers dominating every statistical category, including a 58-22 advantage in shots. He didn't think the players listened very well, especially on the offensive end.
"When you only score 10 goals on 58 shots, that's not a great recipe," Randall said. "Then you add in the fact that defensively we stunk and the goalie didn't make any saves, and it's tough to win games. To Springfield's credit, they took advantage of their opportunities. They ran by us a couple of times and they shot the ball well. We have to give credit where credit is due. In every statistical category we outplayed them with the exception of the most important one. We didn't get the job done."
The frustration lingers from that contest, but there were positives. First, the Flyers did a lot of things right to gain such a statistical landslide. Second, they hopefully got their clunker out of the way early.
"I guess if you are going to do it, it's better to do it in the first game of the season," Randall conceded. "We didn't meet our expectations in that game; we needed to do a better job and we didn't. The kids were a little too anxious. Maybe we got caught up in the news clippings of how good we were. It was probably a combination of a lot of different things, but I do still think if we make one save or we don't get run by once or we put one or two more of those shots on cage, we probably win that game."
The Springfield setback helped Naz in its second contest against Hamilton on Wednesday. Randall's troops had to battle back from a 7-1 deficit against Springfield, giving them the confidence to compete while trailing. Facing a three-goal deficit early on against Hamilton and still down 8-7 at halftime, the Golden Flyers rallied in the second half to coast pass the Continentals, 16-11.
"We know we're very capable and we're not going to get rattled when we're down," Randall said. "If there is something we have learned from this, it is we can battle back from a six-goal differential early in the game to score some goals and make a game of it."
They'll need to be at their best from now on.
The Flyers embark on a five-game, two-week adventure that includes games against No. 2 Stevenson, No. 3 Cabrini and No. 11 Lynchburg. The other two opponents – St. Lawrence and Bowdoin – are unranked (for now), but undefeated, and will provide a stiff test for Naz. Fortunately, the Flyers' best players are starting to round into form.
Luke Wooters has seven goals in two games, the Haefele brothers (Troy & Trevar) have six goals and nine assists between them, Chris Aycock is playing superbly as a two-way midfielder, and Drew Simoneau (40-for-54 on faceoffs; 74.1%) is operating on a different plane. They'll all put their numbers to the test on Saturday against the St. Lawrence (1-0) meatgrinder.
"We're going to try to be aggressive as much as we can in all facets of the game," said Randall of Nazareth's approach to the Saints. "We want our guys shooting the ball. At some point our shooting percentage will go up. I think we tightened up defensively and our goalie played better on Wednesday. We want to keep doing what we're doing, but get better at it with every game."