Saturday, November 24, 2012

Galchenyuk scores, adds 3 assists in 8-2 Sarnia win over Peterborough.

November 24th, 2012
Sarnia Sting defeat Peterborough Petes 8-2

Galchenyuk, Alex
- 1 goal (1st period)
- 3 assists (1-1st period, 1-2nd period, 1-3rd period)
- +3 rating

- 3 turnovers (3-1st period)
- 3 takeaways (2-2nd period, 1-3rd period)
- 2 PIM (slashing) (3rd period)

- 1-for-2 for face-offs (50%)
Clean win - taken on the PK (1st period)
Clean loss - taken on the PP (1st period)

Time on ice
1st period; 7 shifts - 8:39 TOI
2nd period; 6 shifts - 6:45 TOI
3rd period; 5 shifts - 2:30 TOI
TOTALS; 18 shifts - 17:54 TOI

1st period: Galchenyuk, along with Sarault and Boucher, were all on fire. You could tell after last night's tough loss, he was going to come back with a strong outing. Just past the first minute of the game, Galchenyuk managed a quick deke past a defender and launched a backhander right into the back of the net, going roof on Petes' goaltender, D'Agostini. 12:39 into the same period, Galchenyuk fed Sarault with a beautiful cross-crease pass to give the Sting a 2-0 lead. His vision and IQ with the puck are both outstanding and a sight to watch. His explosiveness - which is deemed his weakness - doesn't show for the most part and he hides it well with a good first step and his agility. Galchenyuk also got to take two face-offs, winning one of them.

2nd period: Galchenyuk picked up another assist, 24 seconds into the second period when Boucher buried a slapshot to give the Sting a 4-0 lead. At this point, Beaulieu used the Sarault line very sparsely, as he was not too worried about losing a 4-0 lead. Especially not when that lead went from 4 goals to 6, with the Sting scoring twice in the span of 22 seconds. I honestly love Galchenyuk's work on the wing, especially when he's flying down the side with the puck. However, the defensive side of his game is beautiful when he is at the centre position. On the penalty kill, you can see how well he works at cutting the passing lanes between the blue-line and the side boards. I think if Beaulieu can give more of a chance to allow Galchenyuk to play centre during 5-on-5 play, we may see a more two-way Galchenyuk. Perhaps a Boucher-Galchenyuk-Goldobin line would be a possibility. With Sarault notching five points, it may be just a possibility to the fans.

3rd period: If you were hoping to see Galchenyuk as much as you did in the 1st and 2nd, you were surely disappointed. Only playing five shifts - two of those which were a combined total of 28 seconds - Galchenyuk saw 2:30. In that time, he did pick up an assist on Reid Boucher's second goal of the night. From that point on, Beaulieu gave more of a chance to the young guys to get some time on the specialty units.

Final word
Obviously, I would love to see Galchenyuk play his natural position and get a chance to take more face-offs, as well as excel at the position that Habs fans have him pegged in once he makes it to the NHL. The only problem is, coach Beaulieu is not thinking about that. His mind is set on winning right now and Galchenyuk's work along the boards in the offensive zone, as well as his cycling game in the corners and the bottom face-off circle, is among the best in the OHL. The room he is given, in his position at wing, allows him to create chances to pass through the slot or to the blue-line, something Beaulieu treasures greatly. I've had the chance to see him get a few shifts at centre on the PP over the last few weeks, and ultimately I found him to be more comfortable working the low boards and corners then the slot and crease areas. That's not to say he doesn't like to go to the dirty areas, but he excels at wing given the fact that he has incredible passing ability as well as a wicked wrist shot, which he can both utilize while coming out of corners with the puck.

I believe we'll see Alex play centre more. Maybe not in the OHL though, which is why I constantly stress to give him more time to develop before making the jump to the NHL. For the most part, I don't see him playing with the Canadiens this year, should the lock-out end, nor do I see him there next year. I have hopes that he'll get a chance to develop his centre play and face-off skill in the AHL next year. If he tears it up and clearly looks ready, great, then give him the chance. I do believe, in my honest opinion though, he'll benefit from a full year in the AHL. Then, the following season, Montreal may have the #1 centre they've been looking for.

For some highlights, including Galchenyuk's nasty backhand goal, check out the highlights here;

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