After the Friday morning gameday skate, Brendan Guhle said it was key for the Amerks to start fast. Hopefully tonight they can focus on 60 minutes of good hockey instead. After getting out to an early 2-0 lead, Rochester surrendered five straight goals agains a very good Checkers team. Charlotte did a phenomenal job applying pressure and getting into passing lanes. They were able to lock the Amerks into the defensive zone for long stretches and made Offensive zone entry a nightmare. The entry plays coach Taylor had his team running were far too basic and extremely predictable. Compounding that was poor execution making it a rough night all around.
However, Steve Moses was a breath of fresh air on the breakout. As a left wing he entered the zone from all areas of the ice often creating an overload. It could also be looked at as a lack of positional discipline, but on a night the Amerks struggled to get setup, I appreciated the creativity. Despite that, there was some holes in Steveâ€™s game that prohibited him from being as productive as he needed to be. I am going to rate his performance a C-.
Offensively, I was very impressed by the ability of Moses get on the puck in dangerous situations. After a handful of games this year, being in the right place at the right time is becoming a hallmark of his game. It was especially evident on the power play where he was able to set up Redmond for the second goal of the night, and also draw a big penalty in front of goal to create a 5 on 3. Unfortunately, he was not able to match that success at even strength. In fact, strength on the puck was a big issue for him. Moses had a difficult time receiving passes in traffic as well as getting the puck off his stick while under pressure. His inability to clear the zone directly led to a turnover that created a goal for the Checkers. It was also the main reason he finished the night with a -3 ratio; The other being his lack of elite finishing ability in front of net. Moses had two great chances to score but missed the net on a one-timer, and put a backhand right into the goalies logo on the other.
Defensively, Moses helped create turnovers in the offensive zone with a couple of nice forechecking plays. However his effort to harass defenseman was not consistent enough for my liking. On a night where Charlotte defensemen looked particular shaky on the puck and tunrovers led the the Amerksâ€™ best chances, he should have smelled blood in the water and been more active. Moses also made a couple mistakes on tired legs that hurt him. Instead of busting down the ice to leg out an icing he pulled up at the blue line to try and get a change (keeping him on the ice even longer). And then later in the game when trying to change he sent a lazy outlet pass long that went for icing.
Overall I think Moses is a very creative player who has a chance to be very successful in an Amerks sweater this season. As of right now, I donâ€™t think he has the talent to play at the next level. If that is going to happen he needs to work on his finishing ability and get much stronger on the puck.