Smock's Crucial Points to Game Three

Jamie Smock Checks In with his keys for Game three

One of the most frustrating things about sports is that the best team on any given night is not necessarily the winner. I’m sure some Manchester fans would disagree with my assessment, but I feel like the best team on the ice last night didn’t win the hockey game.

That is also why I am very confident about our team’s chances – not just tonight – but in the series as a whole. This Atlantic Division Semi-Final series is far from over and the Sharks know it. I just had a conversation with Head Coach Roy Sommer who was impressed with his team’s performance last night, and maybe more importantly, their attitude this morning at the team meeting.

Manchester may have an advantage in the series with their roster depth. The Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris has the luxury of scratching eight healthy players per game. Last night’s scratches included All-Star Defenseman T.J. Kemp.

As I peruse the stats and notes for tonight’s affair, here’s what I think will be key for the Sharks to win game 3 at the DCU Center:

First Goal – the Sharks have not only allowed the opening goal in each of the first two games, but it has come in the first two-minutes of the contest. Even with the Sharks bouncing back to quickly tie games, they need to play with a lead in this series and test the mental toughness of the Monarchs. Graham Mink led the Sharks in the regular season with six first goals.

Physical Hockey – Playoff hockey = Physical hockey. Try to do it any other way and you are looking for an early exit. The Sharks have been extremely physical in the opening two games and will have to continue that pounding tonight. The Monarchs are an incredibly fast and skilled hockey team. Your success rate drops dramatically if you try to run-and-gun with their gang.

Tverdovsky, Harrold, etc. – Monarchs defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky has six points (1+5=6) in two games, he is ridiculously talented. Peter Harrold and Jeff Likens are both impressive young defensemen that can shoot the puck with the best of them. Monarchs defensemen accounted for nine of the team’s 15 points in game 1 and 4 of the team’s 12 points in game 2. The Sharks have to limit the offensive production from the Manchester blue line.

Goaltending – Of course.

I can’t wait, this is going to be awesome. Grab the family and make your way down to the DCU Center for Calder Cup Playoff Hockey. An atmosphere that the team can feed off of would be the biggest key to a successful night more than anything else!

Jamie Smock is the play-by-play broadcaster of the Worcester Sharks. He, along with Jeremy Lemoine, the Sharks Public Relations Coordinator, will be writing a playoff blog on called "Chasing the Calder." "Chasing the Calder" will be updated with information about the Sharks games, practices, off ice activities and bring, you the fan, the most up-to-the-minute information on Sharks Playoff Hockey.

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