Chilliwack GM May stops being soft on his goaltenders
Wheat Kings 6 Bruins 3: 'We need to get saves at the right times'
Marc Weber, The Province
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2008
How frustrated is Chilliwack Bruins general manager Darrell May? He's resorted to honesty when discussing his goaltending.
May, a rather open character when talking about his team, has been protective when it comes to his puck stoppers, an approach consistent with the positive outlook of head coach Jim Hiller. Not any more.
"We probably played well enough to win all three nights," May said Wednesday before his squad fell
6-3 at Brandon, their fourth loss in a row to start this six-game Eastern Conference swing.
"But we need to get some saves at the right times. It's hard to give up soft goals and win hockey games."
Two weeks ago, when the question was raised as to how long the platooning of Matt Esposito and rookie Mark Friesen would continue, May and Hiller said they had confidence in both guys; that they wanted both to be ready for the playoffs.
May admitted Wednesday, however, that the team needs one of its stoppers to step up -- and soon.
A first-round matchup with the Vancouver Giants or Tri-City Americans is looming and a short series would be a major disappointment considering the potential this team showed early.
"One of them better grab the reins," May continued. "Goaltending is the key to how far any team is going to go."
Esposito sputtered to start the road trip over the weekend, allowing nine goals in two nights, including five on 24 shots at Prince Albert. Friesen was in the nets for Tuesday's loss at Moose Jaw, as well as Wednesday.
Looking past the so-so save percentages, May says it's more about the timing and type of goals getting by, and sometimes it's just about outplaying the other guy. All those areas have been concerns of late.
The Bruins blew 3-1 leads at Saskatoon and Prince Albert, allowed two goals on six third-period shots at Moose Jaw and watched a 3-0 advantage evaporate Wednesday in Brandon.
"You can't be hot and cold," said May. "You have to be focused every night."
Oscar Moller, with a pair, and Brandon Campos scored for Chilliwack against the Wheat Kings. Moller has goals in five straight games and 36 on the year.
Chilliwack's special teams haven't helped matters on this trip. The power play is 5-for-31, while opponents have gone 9-for-25 and scored two short-handed goals.
The Bruins are at the Regina Pats on Friday (5 p.m., TEAM1040.ca).
© The Vancouver Province 2008