The last couple of weeks saw Dundee Stars on the wrong end of two shootout losses against West Coast rivals Glasgow Clan and OT losses against Nottingham Panthers and Manchester Storm. The Stars’ home leg against Glasgow saw the visitors tie the game in the 3rd and go 3 for 3 in the shootout whilst Dundee, somewhat predictably at this stage went 0/3. The powerplay conversion rate was similarly poor at 0/4. The away leg, this time in the Challenge Cup, actually resulted in qualification for the Stars with the point gained. However 1/5 in the shootout and 1/6 on the powerplay gave a classic Dundee Stars 2018/19 flavour to both games.
In hopes of mixing it up, we will review and breakdown the shootout goals from Dundee’s home loss to Glasgow. Although in this example Pontus Sjögren goes unfortunately without a save there are two points to be made. Firstly if he had saved all three attempts it likely still wouldn’t have mattered, such is a hit rate of 0 in 3. Secondly he’s been terrific in general this year and on shootouts he’s conceding an average of 1.2 goals a shootout. This puts the team in a position to win these coin flips, an offensive record of 3 goals in 23 attempts for the Stars does not. In regular play, Sjögren’s stats have him among the top 4 or 5 in the league, he has been excellent.
Let’s look at some penalty shots. The Clan goalie for the shootout was Joel Rumpel.
Dundee Stars first attempt – Brian Hart (88)
This would have been a better attempt had the route taken been better. Hart comes in with speed and takes the puck wide left, a natural choice for a right handed player as this means your stick and therefore the puck are in the middle of the ice which creates the best angle for most net to shoot at. However as he is intending to go to his backhand here that means he stays on Rumpel’s right side the whole way in from centre which makes him easy to play. The Clan netminder has him all the way. If anything he might be a little high in his crease when the shot gets taken.
In terms of backhands, one of the best in the world is Sidney Crosby. Watch how in each clip he starts off skating down one side then finishes on the other. This means the goalie has had to follow the puck tracking from right to left and is more likely to make a mistake and leave gaps or just lose track of the puck.
Glasgow Clan first attempt – Scott Pitt (61)
In textbook fashion Pitt skates wide to Sjogren’s left, crosses the slot and drops the shoulder for a fake shot that the goalie bites on and goes down to butterfly. He’s dead in the water at this stage and Pitt continues his track while his opponent scrambles on his stomach and kicks a leg up as a last ditch attempt. Pitt has the majority of the net to hit and doesn’t miss. Sjögren protests afterwards, presumably that Pitt hadn’t continued in forward motion. He’s wrong but it’s tough to blame him for trying and the Clan are up by one.
Dundee Stars second attempt Lukas Lundvald (10)
Lundvald actually begins his attempt with a lap of the face off circle before he takes off. He picks up the puck and takes it nice and wide to Rumpel’s left with a similar route to Pitt. This looks an awful lot like he hadn’t decided on his move before he gets there. He fakes and shoots almost in one motion which doesn’t help him much. The fake does get the goalie to drop a pad and open up a little but Rumpel shuts up shop before the five hole attempt reaches him. Had Lundvald held on to it like Pitt rather than go for the stuff attempt there may have been a better gap open up.
Glasgow Clan second attempt Rasmus Bjerrum (16)
Owner of both a sick name and some tasty mitts, Rasmus Bjerrum begins deking like a mad man from pretty much the blue line in. He takes a wide line also and just freezes Sjögren with his quick hands. He genuinely makes about 5 fakes before taking his shot. It’s between the goalie’s legs and above his stick perfectly, he drops to butterfly but it’s too late and Clan are ahead by two.
Dundee Stars third attempt – Matt Marquardt (37)
Probably the closest chance the Stars had of a goal was this one but, the post can be a cruel fate. He skates in relatively slowly from centre ice and does a stutter step on the way in just before his shot. Rumpel tracks him reasonably well and it seems Marquardt picked the right spot but the shot was just off the mark. The Stars can’t buy one at the moment. The night didn’t get any better after this.
Glasgow Clan third attempt Brendan Connolly (9)
Another really good penalty shot, Connolly works the angles very well. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Beginning again out wide his shift in pace when he cuts hard to the middle above the faceoff circle is undoubtedly what threw Sjogren off. Although at the time when Connolly makes the cut the netminder is visibly shuffling with the puck but he doesn’t go far enough and there’s room on the glove side for the sniper to pick out.
AND THAT’S THE HOCKEY GAME.
Coach Omar Pacha was qouted saying “The overtimes and shootouts are where we’re going wrong and we practice those every day. The confidence is low, especially when it gets beyond regulation time.” It’s tough not to think maybe less of a focus might actually be beneficial. With seven OT losses from twelve games played the Stars need to find a way to turn these into two points.
With the powerplay from the Nottingham and Manchester games at 0/4 and 0/5 respectively this seems to be more a mental issue of squeezing the stick than an Xs and Os miscue. Pacha stated “It might be a psychological thing when we get to that stage …We’re just so close. ”
Quotes and video – Stars TV