You can’t win them all.
The Moncton Wildcats had a 14 game home winning streak snapped last night versus the upstart Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
Simply put the Drakkar were clearly the better team, but wait how could that be?
This is the 2019-2020 Moncton Wildcats, with a “Dream Team” like roster.
How could they ever lose?
First of all, the Drakkar played a perfect road game and took the air out of the Avenir Centre.
You have to give a team that traded away their two best players during the trade period full credit for playing so hard and trusting their systems.
The Drakkar went “all in” last season only to be upset by the Cats in the first round.
They have reloaded very quickly using their assets tremendously well to build a young core group of hard working and skilled players.
You can dissect the Cats loss all you want at the end of the day they got beat.
You could say there were too many passengers, you could say they weren’t ready, you could say there was no push back or compete level.
In my opinion that’s just not accurate.
The turning point in the game clearly were the two quick goals at the end of the second period.
The Wildcats worked hard to climb back into the game and in my opinion owned the second period territorially, but honestly you can’t win them all.
So why did the Cats lose, especially to technically an inferior opponent?
Well any team is beatable at any given time on any given night, that shouldn’t shock you and losing to the Drakkar shouldn’t come as a surprise as well they played their asses off last night and deserved it. Two words come to mind from last nights game; coverage and chemistry.
You can talk about chemistry all you want, and people may downplay that aspect when you have so much skill and talent on your club, but it does take time to develop.
Like I eluded to on the broadcast last night, it’s easy for the Wildcats to look across at each in the room and realize just how much talent they have, but you have to find your niche, you have to do what you do best to help the team win.
You have to play to your identity, you can’t rely on the “new guys” to do their thing. You see that’s difficult when everything is new, that’s why things take time especially when you are trying to build chemistry.
On numerous occasions last night the Cats tried to fit pucks through and in my opinion overpassed, which in turn is a tell tale sign of a team that’s really trying hard and are committed to develop chemistry.
The Moncton Wildcats are going to be just fine, when they have time to gel as a collective unit.
Now that aspect of things certainly can lead to breakdowns in all three zones and that’s exactly what happened last night.
The Wildcats coverage wasn’t very good, especially their transition defence.
The Cats uncharacteristically gave up a lot of odd man rushes last night which is a recipe for disaster against any opponent.
Everything is new. Everything is different and it will take time for the for the Cats to come together as a group. In the meantime you have to give the Drakkar full credit for making things very difficult for the highly skilled Cats.
What do skilled teams want the most?
Time and space, of course.
The Drakkar limited that aspect of the Cats game plan. Highly skilled championship caliber teams have to always earn their time and space, teams aren’t simply going to shy away or back off and let you dangle with the puck, you have to work for it and earn it.
Did the Cats get out worked? Perhaps on some occasions they didn’t work hard enough to earn that time and space.
That’s why so many fans and possibly players alike were upset leaving the Avenir Centre last night.
They were frustrated, you could see it in their body language. The Cats didn’t get out classed last night, they just have to work harder and smarter to earn their time and space in order make plays and get to the middle of the ice.
The Cats lost their time and space, that’s how you beat superior opponents.
That’s how you frustrate the living hell out of highly skilled teams with talented laden rosters.
Any team is beatable on any given night.
Don’t worry the 2019-2020 Moncton Wildcats will start to play up to their full potential very soon.
You just have to be patient, even if it means a few losses here and there.