This past weekend gave us a chance to see who may be the best two teams in the East. Georgia was winless going into this game, but they were never out of a game yet. Rochester, on the other hand, was looking unbeatable to start the season. With Georgia finally getting a home game and raising their banner, this seemed like a great formula for Rochester to truly be tested.
Examining: Powered by 2 Chainz
Examining: Weather Delays
Then, real life happened. Some terrible weather created one of the worst travel stories the league has seen. Ultimately, Rochester wound up getting two charter flights the day of the game, meaning the team did not even land together.
It also resulted in the actual start of the game being pushed nearly two hours later. As you can imagine, hours of travel frustration added into hours of sitting on plane, and then rushing through with no real shoot around or warmup is a recipe for an ugly start for any team.
Well, somebody forgot to tell Rochester that they were supposed to play poorly.
Like last week against the Bandits, Rochester started out at full speed. They scored the game’s first four goals to silence the energized crowd still buzzing (sorry, had to) from the pregame festivities. But, Georgia used a seven goal second quarter to even things up and build a wave they could ride to victory.
The main thing I really wanted to see from this game was if Rochester’s offense could really keep up their pace. The answer is a resounding “yes”. While it is not just the return of Cody Jamieson, this offense is operating at a high level from top to bottom.
As much attention as Tom Schreiber is deservedly receiving up in Toronto, the other American of 2015 MSL MVP fame, Joe Resetarits is still seemingly under the radar. Resetarits’ finishing has been impressive this season and he has been a featured part in every run they have put together. He is absolutely a player everyone should be keeping an eye on right now.
The other Knighthawk that was very impressive was Matt Vinc. It’s rare to applaud a goalie too much in a loss, but Vinc is playing great right now. His side to side quickness and ability to cover the upper corners is making him very hard to beat. Even on Georgia powerplay chances where he repeatedly was able to move across the net and make the save on Randy Staats’ trying for a quick stick goal. He is just repeatedly making the types pf plays that will keep Rochester in just about any game.
Examining: Taking a Deep Breath
For Georgia, getting their first win and doing it at home is a big deal. It’s also important that their offense can stay in the game mentally despite running into a hot goalie. Where Georgia really needs to turn things around is defensively.
Right now, they are just a little too prone to giving up goal due solely to bad individual matchups and they also give up runs a little too easily. Fortunately for them, this is fixable over time as their young defense learns to play a little bit more together. I still like the Swarm as likely candidates to being playing for the eastern finals.
Examining: The Rest of Week 4!
In other games, New England topped Vancouver, Colorado beat Calgary, and Toronto got some revenge against Buffalo.
Examining: New England Up, Vancouver Down
The Vancouver loss does get a bit of an asterisk in my mind since they were without Logan Schuss, who has really been their offense so far. That should not take anything away from New England, as they were looking good in the win.
I’ve been most impressed lately by rookie Colton Watkinson, who seems to be stepping right into the shoes once filled by Sheldon Burns prior to him being traded to the Rock. He’s a legitimate transition threat every time he touches the ball. He’s playing smart and is already making an impact.
Examining: Toronto Focusing In
The Rock win was also one that really deserves some attention. Mostly because the blew open what was a close game to an absolute rout. Buffalo is struggling with goalies right now, but Toronto took advantage of every opportunity they had.
This was a much more impressive showing for them, but I really want to see them and New England head to head before I feel comfortable saying who is looking more promising right now. Both have looked great. Both have also seriously struggled.
Examining: Week Five
For this week, there are a trio of games. We have the Championship game rematch between Georgia and Saskatchewan, Calgary is stopping down to Buffalo, and Toronto will be facing the Stealth.
The obvious game to watch has to be the Swarm and Rush. That game will be full of action.
Calgary and Buffalo are both really looking for a win, but the game will probably come down to whoever has the best goalie that night. Toronto and Vancouver is an interesting one. Vancouver needs the win much more than Toronto, and they could pull this one off.