Coach Kromm discusses Anthony Nigro’s reassignment, Nathan Moon’s All-Star status, and the importance of tonight’s matchup with the Wings.
Q: How much added pressure is there for the next two division games after the loss on Wednesday night?
A: There’s always pressure now. We have to get as many points as we can get, so every game is really important here. It was a frustrating loss the other night, I thought we had some chances to win that game and unfortunately we just couldn’t score. Their goaltender, Reiter, played a strong game for them and shut us down.
Q: In light of Anthony Nigro being recalled to Peoria, what are some things he’s done in the past few weeks that have benefitted this team?
A: I think he’s starting to get in game shape. He hadn’t been playing a whole lot in Peoria, so it took him awhile to get in game shape. He’s a smart player, he’s good defensively, he wins face offs, and makes plays. He’s really good with the puck, his hands are soft, and he sees the ice well. He’s an overall complete player and I think he is starting to find his game.
Q: With Nigro being reassigned, who has to step in and step up in this lineup?
A: Mooner is going to play center, he’s played center in the past. He’s actually a natural centerman, so that’s fine for us. He’ll go in the middle between Schepke and if Wannstrom can’t play, probably (Mark) Cody.
Q: Nathan Moon was recently added to the ECHL All-Star team, what are some of the positives he’s brought to the IceMen after being acquired earlier in the season?
A: He’s been an opportunistic player for us. He scores key goals, he can make plays, he competes pretty hard, and he’s always getting underneath someone’s skin. He’s an agitator out there and can draw penalties, so he’s been a benefit for us as well. He’s a guy who can play the power play and kill penalties for us. He can pretty much do whatever we need him to.
Q: Does it add more fuel to the fire of this game and rivalry when former players like Brian Bicek and Tyler Shelast suit up against you?
A: It’s always a matter of you don’t want that guy to come back and haunt you, so you’ll be a little on edge with how you play them. Bicek, obviously a big player for us for the years that he was here, but he’s sustained an injury so I’m not sure if he’ll be here tonight.
Q: With the possibility of the IceMen jumping the Wings in the standings with a win, what’s an opportunity like that mean at this stage of the season?
A: I think right now we are trying to catch everybody, so if we jump in front of a team that’s good. We’ve kept close within the pack and that was a four-point game the other night, we could have pulled within eight (points) of Ft. Wayne and now we are twelve back, so it’s the same situation here with Kalamazoo. We could jump ahead of them or we could be further behind, so it’s obviously very important for us.
Q: Does the 7-3 loss the last time you played the Wings add even more meaning to this game?
A: Yeah, it was the power play that clicked for them, so we want to be aware of the guys who are dangerous on the power play. We’ve got to make sure it’s not effective for them tonight.
Q: What does a confident Paul Karpowich do for this defense heading into tonight’s game?
A: It’s huge. If guys have the confidence in their goaltender it goes a long way. They’re going to play with less hesitancy in front of them and their not worried about making mistakes because they know he’s there to back them up.
Q: Despite going 0-for-6 on Wednesday, the power play looked to be opportunistic, what are some things from that game that need to carry over into tonight for the man advantage?
A: I think early, we had generated some scoring chances. Aaron Gens was getting his shot off at the top and we need him to do the same tonight and that’s a key for us in getting the one-timer off the top of the power play. It creates a lot and gives us some good scoring opportunities and rebound opportunities that are always there. I think that on that four-minute power play we weren’t able to generate any scoring chances and I think it had an effect on the overall play of the team and we lost some momentum there. Even if you don’t score, if your power play gets chances, you generally gain some momentum.
Q: With the IceMen having won three of the last five and the Wings having lost three of the last four, what kind of statement can be sent with a win?
A: It’s just that we’re coming. We’re going to be chomping at everyone’s heels down the stretch here in trying to get the last playoff spot, so it’s a message we want to send.