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AHL: Houston Aeros Breeding Wild

The American Hockey League Houston Aeros on a trip through the East coast had a Family Day matinee affair against the Toronto Marlies. The Aeros dressed a fairly mature lineup, but the focus was on two players selected with the 28th overall pick in the first round in subsequent drafts. Coyle went 28th overall in 2010 and Phillips in 2011.

Charlie Coyle was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks but acquired by the Minnesota Wild in a trade where Brent Burns went to the West Coast Sharks.

Here are some notes on these players and general notes on the game after the player profiles.

Zach Phillips (2011, 1st rnd, 28th overall).

Former Saint John standout resorted to the dump and chase early on instead of finding outlets for past skating to the neutral zone .. He did have pressure on himself .. seemed to be playing winger’s responsibility in the defensive zone .. takes away space very quickly limiting the amount of time point men have for a shot .. assigned to first unit penalty kill .. attentive enough to realize the importance of playing within confined space but still adapting to the defensive game on a pro-level .. supported down deep when he saw there was nobody in front, yet can sometimes seem mesmerized by where the puck is and its movement rather than the players around him and their impact on the play .. lost the face-off in the defensive zone as Marlies forward Tim Connolly pushed the puck ahead instead of winning it back and fired a quick shot on goal that hit the post .. hasn't adapted to a grinding style, yet played a lot in important situations .. he doesn't operate much with the puck, instead relies on teammates .. also showed some tendency to stop moving his feet in order to make a play .. felt he's been trying to find different outlets as a playmaker rather than trying to create offense .. More like working himself out of situations rather than trying to create scoring opportunities .. excellent hand/eye-coordination lacks a natural physical element to his game although he is enthusiastic about being involved.

Charlie Coyle (2010, 1st round, 28th overall - San Jose)

Former San Jose Sharks first round pick (28th overall 2010) eats up a lot of ice with a long horseshoe stride .. can take the long route with big loops and questionable first two-step acceleration .. good stick preparation .. seems to operate in stealth mode, hanging out on the periphery of the play and not fully engaged until required .. doesn't get a lot of speed for the amount of thrust in his stride .. more engaged in a good forecheck as the game wore on .. protects the puck well using long reach and integrating how to use his body to box out opponents buying time to be able to make a play .. didn’t display much offensive imagination mainly working the puck on the outside .. spurts of where he really showed how well he can handle puck possession in the offensive zone with good stick handling ability especially in tight traffic .. it’s a little concerning that initial thoughts/movements on breakouts is to find the outside route .. doesn't always make himself readily available as a distribution option .. isn't as active on the back check .. somewhat easily faked out with shouldered jukes .. could be rigid carrying the puck through the neutral zone .. uses exceptionally quick hands to get pucks through small openings like under stakes and through legs .. has to learn to incorporate more imagination at the end of those impressive little dangles .. doesn't lead the rush very often .. can add some upper body strength as he sometimes gets bodied off the puck too easily .. exhibited acute puck awareness, knows where it is at all times and very rarely has his back to the puck .. used as a winger .. he had a shift with about 5 min .. into the third when he seemed to default back to his duties as a center rather than covering the top of zone is a winger .. the effect negated a scoring chance, as a Marlies player was drifting through the slot towards the net but in the end though the positioning was incorrect as it left too much space at the top of the zone.

General Notes:

Houstonfeatured a mature lineup and were missing Jason Zucker, called up to parent club, the NHL Minnesota Wild.

Nick Peterson seems to have a good handle as checking forward. Stays very close to his assignments and takes away space very quickly.Houstonis also doing a good job of taking the puck away from the Marlies within their defensive zone and moving out in transition.

Marlies are doing a good job of catching the Aeros a stride or two behind and drawing penalties. Ended up culminating in a two-man advantage late in the first that they could not exploit, generating two excellent scoring chances on a power play.

Pretty good set up by Nick Peterson, stopping short and finding a man trailing into the slot.

Houston's penalty kill box set up seems the collapse a little too easily. The Marlies should try to move the puck laterally as much as possible to open up a lame for shots.Houston's first four shots on goal in the second period ending up as their only scoring chances of the frame.

They just did this promotion about passing the sub all the way through two separate sections. The only good it did was remind me that I'm hungry.

Second period started off with promise, both teams came out very enthusiastic. That enthusiasm dipped as the period wound down. Very few scoring chances generated for the Marlies.Houstonwas a ball of fire to start the second frame. There's been a steady stream of players going into the penalty box.

Halfway through the third period and there’s yet to be a scoring opportunity.

Houstonopens the scoring with a shot from just inside the slot. The goal lifted the intensity of this game. Both teams had a bit more jump,Houstongetting some scoring momentum, and the Marlies trying to find a way to get back in the game. Marlies first first scoring chance came with 8:52 left in the third.

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