After playing a string of five one goal games, the ISU Redbirds broke out for an 8 to 1 victory over the Bradley Braves. The Thursday night game in the U.S. Cellular Coliseum was well attended by ISU students and the community on the District 87 Staff Night.
The Redbirds who have struggled with team defense, showed that they have what it takes to play well in all three zones of the ice and they did it for a full sixty minutes.
It took 11 minutes for the first goal of the game. It came when Tim Arifi hit Olindo Alo with a break-out pass. Olindo drove down the left side of the ice, all the way to the net, and drove the puck past Braves netminder, Pat Georgett. That would just be the beginning for Olindo Alo and his linemates as they scored four times before the night was finished. Next it was Brett Kahanec on a break-out pass from Michael Downs. Brett powered past one Bradley defender and beat Georgett to make it 2 to 0. The final goal of the period was a power play goal by Aaron Gold on a redirection of a Keith Mores slap-shot. Steven Hong got the 2nd assist.
The second period saw the Redbirds light the lamp four more times. Hong scored on an impressive drive to the net, showing why he was a premiere recruit of the Redbirds this past off-season. He was assisted by Dustin Karrison on the power play goal. Then the new line of Putlak (1st goal of the season), Hannan (assist) and Michael Prentice made it 5 to 0. “We shook up two of our lines at practice this week. We wanted more size up the middle and more speed on Putlak’s line. We achieved both by moving Michael Prentice from center out to the right wing and moving Tim Putlak in to center the line. That moved Olindo Alo to the Drinkwater/Kahanec line. The result was four goals for the new Alo line, and one for the Putlak line. Most importantly, the Putlak line gave up just one scoring chance all game long, and that was really due to a mistake by their defensemen at the time. We are very happy with the change produced by the shake-up”, said Coach Corley.
Kevin Kruzsynski picked up a short-handed goal later in the period which chased Georgett from the net. “Kevin makes it look so easy, that coaches have repeatedly pulled their goalie after a Kruzsynski goal. What they don’t know is that Kevin has a NHL level shot and these goalies either have position on him or he scores. His release is so quick and his shot so fast, that goalies cannot move on the shot”, related Coach Ferleyko. Alo finished the period with his second and the team’s 7th goal of the contest.
Period three saw each team score once. Bradley was credited with a goal by Nate Nebbia. John Orlak made the glove save; however, the official ruled that Orlak’s glove carried back into the net on the velocity of the shot. Most of the home crowd vocally disagreed. Olindo Alo finished the scoring for the night with his third goal, on the power play, assisted by Brett Kahanec and Steve Shaykin.
Olindo Alo finished with a hatrick to reward his team and new linemates, and Brett Kahanec also marked three points for the night. “Brett’s performance was solid in all three zones of the ice and offensively he made a lot happen tonight. On top of that, his offense has been great for four games in a row. He has six goals and two assists over the past four games. For that consistent high level performance, he was awarded the Hooter’s Hot Wing of the Game”, according to the Voice of the Redbirds, Dan Ryan.
The Redbirds were 3 for 6 on the power play last night while allowing just one goal in seven penalty kills. The Redbirds also scored once while short-handed. Alo’s new line scored three goals while at even strength.
The team improves to a 4 – 4 – 1 overall record in the ACHA. In the MACHA – Gold Division, the Redbirds are now 3 – 2 – 1 good for 7 points and second place in the league. Missouri State is undefeated in the MACHA with a 6 – 0 record, good for 12 points. The Redbirds will travel to Missouri State next weekend for a two game series.
Tonight the Redbirds prepare for the first of two games against the University of Illinois, D2 team. U of I comes into the game with a 4 – 6 record, with wins over Bradley and Northern Illinois and losses to Kentucky, Indiana, and Lindenwood. The puck drops at 8:30 PM tonight at the Pepsi Ice Center and again Saturday at 1:30 PM.