Minneapolis, MN – The Rink Rats looked like a team that needed water bottles full of 5 hour energy or something to bring the club to life as they went down 3-0 in front of a home crowd against the New York Demons last night. Minnesota looked outmatched and unprepared early on, but a couple of lucky bounces and a strong work ethic brought the club back into contention before losing in the final minutes in an 8-7 loss.
“Clearly there were some positives we took out of tonight’s game,” stated Head Coach, Dan Bylsma. “We were down big early on, but we managed to come back and give ourselves a chance to win against one the league’s better teams. I think Cammalleri was the best player on the ice tonight. He was in on the majority of the scoring chances and had 6 points. I liked how our offense played; I just think we need to do a better job in net. It was an exciting contest for our fans but really disappointing to lose in the final minute like that.”
Scott Clemmensen, appearing to battle fatigue as he made his 13th consecutive start, didn’t look like his usual self early on, and Bylsma admitted after the game he should’ve pulled Clemmensen after the Demons’ 2nd goal. Facing over 34 shots/game and managing a .903 sv% since coming to Minnesota, Clemmensen has played very well for the Rink Rats since his acquisition to replace injured netminder Ryan Miller. Clemmensen has struggled the past two games however and Bylsma has suggested that Miller may get his number one job back and has stated he will start their game in Nashville.
This would be Miller’s first game in 16 matchups. Miller who missed time due to injury, pushed Team USA to a silver medal in this year’s Olympics, but hasn’t played since then. Miller stated early this week that he feels good and is ready to reclaim his starting job with the Rink Rats to help his team secure a playoff spot for the third year in a row.
This won’t go without competition however as the Express and the Fighting Irish are both making a charge at the final playoff spots in the conference. Some big conference matchups remain as things will likely get pretty competitive down the stretch.