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Red Wings picking up pace

2 December 2013 No Comment

In dramatic fashion the Hamilton Red Wings broke a six-game losing streak against Milton last week. The Wings, still struggling to find their own identity, have been playing on their heels since early to mid-October.

After an October 14th loss to Georgetown, they dropped three straight after losing their top scorer Christiano DiGiacinto to the Windsor Spitfires and their captain Jason O’Connor to injury. The Connor Bramwell, Corey Caruso and Mitch Reid line produced a great deal of offense, the Wings used their depth of scoring and aggression to overpower some of the better teams in the league for a four-game winning streak preceding the four game skid.

What made the Wings so fantastic to watch and contributed to their great start this season was speed and aggression. Both of which seem to be lacking as of late, the Wings have looked flat footed on more than one occasion, even with a perceived speed advantage. Their incredibly aggressive forecheck and canvassing neutral zone coverage that forced countless turnovers in the first 15 games of the season seems to have evaporated.

A former bright spot like a first-place penalty kill has dropped significantly, now hovering around tenth in the OJHL. Mark Sinclair and Corey Foster have remained consistently solid since day one. On November 15th, Mark Sinclair made 59 saves against the defending champs St. Michaels Buzzers and then on the 17thCorey Foster made 44 saves against the second place Whitby Fury, unfortunately both of those games resulted in losses for the Wings.

“We’re just not moving the puck,” said Wings veteran Liam Bird. “We need to shore up our own end, we’re not getting enough time in the offensive zone because of it.”

Defensive woes have plagued Hamilton lately, more a symptom of their ailing penalty kill than the disease. However against the Ice Hawks in their last win the Wings looked more like them old selves killing seven of seven. Niko Porikos, a former forward for the Wings last season has stepped up significantly of late. Part of his game is his inherent offensive prowess, and his confidence is rapidly increasing as we’re seeing him more and more contributing to their rush.

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