By Joshua Boyd
The Metro Fighting Moose came out of the NA3AHL Showcase (held Jan. 28-30) facing a 10-game schedule for February to end the 2016-17 regular season.
Those 10 games could dictate a lot as to where the Moose end up in the playoffs. They can’t finish in the top two, but they can finish as high as third.
Owner/head coach Charlie Crispino said that the team’s best players need to take the lead of the team and produce as he knows they can.
“It has to be our better players – if they’re not going to be our best players, we don’t stand a chance. If they play to their potential, we can get to the finals,” said Crispino.
Up front, he’s talking about forwards Michael Cistone, Mark Williams, Vincent DeGeorge, Patrick Mulligan and Patrick Quinn. On defense, that’s the group of Joe Ferrante, Bryan McKernan, Kyle DiLeo and Joe Bruno.
One change he’d like to make immediately is for his team to not be such strangers to the crease.
“The reason we’re not scoring very much is that most of our goals are scored from the outside,” said Crispino. “We’re not going to the front. In our practices [in mid-January], we did all stuff in front – 2-on-2’s, 3-on-3’s, rebounds, tip-ins.
“We’re shooting from the top of the faceoff circle. Even in this league, most goaltenders will stop that,” Crispino added. “If there’s no one in front, it’s very easy for goalies to stop a shot. We also want to be very good, defensively, come playoffs. Over the next month, that’s the mission.”
Williams, a ’97 from Fair Lawn, N.J., joined in December. In his four games for the Moose, he posted three assists.
“In picking up Williams, Mulligan and Quinn, those guys have added real physicality to the lineup,” said Crispino. “Williams is better than I thought. He’s not a big kid [5-feet-7-inches, 167 pounds], but he plays like he’s 6-3, 215. He’s helped our penalty killing and our offense.”
Mulligan, also a ’97, joined the Moose from Fords, N.J., in November.
“He’s a good offensive player [scoring eight points in seven games]. Adding those three guys [Quinn joined in October] has added to the rest of our lineup and has made our team a lot better,” added Crispino.
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