Glasgow Clan 1-4 Belfast Giants. Clan game notes.

Glasgow Clan are currently hovering just below .500 with a record of 6 wins and 7 losses from 13 games. Coach Pete Russell stated after Saturday’s game that consistency and not winning battles played big factors in the loss. It may seem on paper that Belfast were a buzzsaw the whole weekend as they also picked up wins against Dundee and Fife completing the 3 day Scotland roadtrip with 6 points in the bag. However on this evening Giants were certainly a beatable side which may be where Russell’s frustrations lie. The coach does appear to shuffle his lines on occasion, particularly at the bottom end of the depth chart but this was how they looked.

Gratton Connolly Beca

Stupka Pitt Tanksi

Peacock Hanson Bjerrum

Howlett Haywood Musil
Stanisz Fitzgerald

Gutwald Erdhardt

Sullivan Wilson

Rumpel

Let’s begin with the top line.

Gratton Connolly Beca

Commanding the lion’s share of the minutes they didn’t show any great chemistry unfortunately throughout the evening and this was a theme from the top of the lineup down. The composite parts and the theory behind the grouping make sense. Connolly should act as the wheels through the neutral zone with the ability to take on a D man one on one (which he appears to thrive on). Gratton to provide the initial contact on the forecheck, digging pucks out and making plays. Beca to play with speed and create turnovers, the line should look good in the offensive zone if nothing else. To their credit they had time in the zone in which to make things happen but it didn’t come to fruition.

Stupka Pitt Tanksi

Stupka had impressed previously having watched him play during a one month trial with the Clan but on this occasion he lacked any real creativity. Tanski to his credit won battles in all three zones but didn’t factor offensively much. It was good to see the goal from Scott Pitt on the penalty kill with linkup from Beca. It may seem obvious but perhaps the pairing of them on the same line could provide a spark. Pitt in particular played well in his own zone and the group generated more chances than the top unit all in.

Peacock Hanson Bjerrum

Similarly to Stupka, Rasmus Bjerrum had also impressed in previous showings particularly as a finisher. As a unit they generated a couple of looks off of forechecks and looked threatening at times, Hanson in particular had a couple of good looking chances. but he wasn’t at his best on the conceded goal on the penalty kill. They could have generated more scoring opportunities but in terms of making plays as a trio they were definitely not the worst.

Howlett Haywood Musil

As a full trio they had a handful of shifts maximum but would often go out in pairs with an import. Haywood had the most minutes of the three as he features on the top PK with Peacock, on which he generated a half chance almost immediately after the Pitt goal. Musil had a very quiet game, as did Howlett but he did draw the penalty on Kevin Rayne to give Clan their only powerplay look. He was involved also in a decent low to high play in which he crashed the net after sending the puck back to the point man.

Stanisz Fitzgerald

Stanisz had a reasonably good game. The same side chip to start the rush for the Pitt goal was a neat play. He made a few crisp first passes on breakouts as well as one or two stray ones. Overall he was driving possession. It wasn’t the worst game for Fitzgerald either but his penalty was predictably not a clever one. After a clean hit in the neutral zone on Bjerrum he challenged an unwilling Blair Riley. The ensuing powerplay goal wasn’t a huge turning point in hindsight and Fitzgerald in fairness has been quiet this season by his standards.

Gutwald Erdhardt

Steady but not spectacular was Gutwald, winning some battles defensively and checking close, his partner had a slightly bigger role. Erdhardt lines up alongside Pitt on the blue line on the top powerplay unit and did create some offense to his credit. He was also responsible for rushing the puck himself on occasion and dishing out to a wing on zone entries.

Sullivan Wilson

It was not a great night for this pair, on the ice for all four goals against isn’t a good look on anyone. In their defence none of the goals came on the back of catastrophic errors from either player. On the Giants’ powerplay goal Hanson left a gap in coverage. On Rielly’s third goal the Clan were caught on a change, the other two were more well played rushes. In a similar dynamic to the other pairs, Wilson is the offensive driver of the two. He was in scoring positions and creating chances.

Rumpel

Personally, Joel Rumpel should be rated just above average among goaltenders in the league. If Clan play well enough he should give them a chance to win. The fact of it is Belfast won’t lose 1-0 with the offensive weapons they have. From the goalie’s perspective the Giants’ tallies were a partial breakaway, a tip in the slot, a shot from above the circles and a rebound off the rush. He may want one or two back but he was solid when called upon for the most part.

Clan move on to a home and home against Coventry this weekend. Blaze have come out on top in both meetings this season and Pete Russell may have to shuffle his lines even further to come out with points from the contests.

Photo credit: www.algooldphoto.com

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