Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nye Tournament: 2nd Night Wrap-Up

CC vs. Merrimack
The Warrior's woes continued this evening with a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Colorado College. Freshman goalie Andre Brathwaite played well. Merrimack had a bit more oomph in their game tonight trying to regroup after Friday's loss. Anchorage kid Drew O'Connell was sharp in the net for CC and earned his shutout by keeping a couple of close chances out of the net. The Warriors were in the game until midway in the 2nd period when CC scored it's third goal. At that point there was a palpable drop in attitude and confidence on the Merrimack bench. Best player on the ice tonight for Merrimack? #26 Wilson. He showed heart and played hard even after many of his teammates had clearly given up.

With 4 minutes left in the game UAA had 3 things in their favor; they'd dominated much of the game offensively, they were going on the power play and the crowd was behind them. None of those advantages though could stave off a hard fought comeback by the opportunistic Mavericks. Scott Parse took advantage of a minor mistake by UAA's point man and scored a shorty to tie the game. I'm sure there are a lot of interesting things in the box score to analyze but I just honestly don't feel like pouring over the numbers. This was a game that UAA should have won. Yes. Jeremie Dupont was great in the net for UNO. Yes. UNO was determined and gritty in their own end. There were three extended goal mouth scrambles of which you'd usually expect one of them to go your way, but thanks to the ever scrambling Dupont (who often made 1st, 2nd and 3rd saves) and the gritty defensive effort, UAA came up short on each of those great chances.

For the first 2 periods UAA was clearly the better team on the ice. As was the case with CC, UNO's offensive chances were relegated to the power plays they had and to the occassional counterattack. The Seawolves were defensively sharp (as sharp as I've seen a UAA defense in years) all night never really lost their shape in their own end. They blocked shots, kept the lanes clear for Lawson and bodied up whenever it was needed. Since it's early in the season I'm not going to fret too much about just getting the tie. I know they won the shootout but it goes in the books as a tie and the purist in me doesn't really like deciding a game based on who has more snipers or who's goalie is better. But that's just me. In any case, Lawson owned the Maverick shooters and because of that the Seawolves walked away with snazzy new watches (I dunno for sure they were snazzy ... that's just an assumption).

Jared Tuton had a nice debut in my mind. I think I noticed him every shift he took. I was especially surprised with his speed. In the same vain I'm very impressed with Nils Backstrom's skating. I saw him catch up to more than one of UNO's little speedy guys so I'd have to say that his late acquisition can now be called an absolute COUP (a helluva good get) for the UAA coaching staff. He has the potential to turn into something special. He definitely doesn't shy away from initiating any contact (um ... he likes to hit). Trevor Hunt had a solid game after sitting out last night. He made postive plays at both ends of the ice with really few mistakes (and ya know what ... he's got real good wheels too).

Kevin Clark's debut was short but his second night was very productive. Josh Lunden knocked home a rebound from a Kevin Clark shot that seemed to go in at first (but maybe took a couple of bounces?)(maybe hit the post?). I haven't seen a replay. And in the second period Kevin popped in a Chad Anderson rebound. Jay Beagle was noticably more effective tonight and got a huge response from the crowd for killing off about 30 seconds of a power play deep in the UNO zone by himself. I thought Jay might have been gripping the stick a little tightly in the Friday game. Merit Waldrop continued to be dangerous and the line of Clark, Beagle and Waldrop is going to give a lot of teams a lot more trouble than they're expecting. Paul Crowder's play continued to be impactful tonight. I'd also guess that Chris Tarkir was gripping the stick a bit tightly all weekend but still managed to contribute some positive things.

Overall it's a pretty positve weekend for our beloved Seawolves. There is much that has improved (across the board) with this team. There was nary a person I talked to tonight that wasn't standing around mouth agape about the difference between last year and this. It's pretty heartening and all that (and here it comes) BUT ... from here out it only gets harder. Next weekend up in the Golden Heart City and then a mix of the usual mugs of the WCHA. It's a long season that has had a nice start and in my eyes has the potential to be special.


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or do our players have a much better attitude than last year! Every looks happier, maybe that is because we are winning but I don't know everyone looks more focused and driven.

Donald said...

Definitely smells like that to me.

Anonymous said...

Hey so how did Drew O'Connell get a player of the tournament award after playing in only one of his team's games??? And why when going to ADN's website in the sports section are the Ace's right there after not playing a game and then for the classic the main headline is for O'Connell and CC then there is a tiny link to the Wolves Classic Win what is going on and still under 4,000 attendance. Best hockey i have seen in alaska in a long time, yes and much better than Aces hockey, yet no one cares!

Anonymous said...

the attendence will go up once thestupied adn stopps doing stupied coverage of stupied players who dont playfor UAA and do a story about how the wolves are doing. THe more the public knows about how the team looks that this is a season that can pull thm on the right track. The adn would rather short change the wolves and focus on the aces so fans of uaa start our own ad campain to get ppl to the games.

Anonymous said...

I was told that the owners of the Aces also own car dealerships, who place a lot of ads in the ADN. So in reality, the ADN makes money off the Aces, but not on UAA.

Donald said...

There's no doubt that two of the most-watched most-read media outlets in Anchorage have very close business ties with the Aces. While KTUU-TV and the ADN do a fairly good job of covering the Seawolves (I know a lot of you think they suck) they do indeed bend over backward to pump up the Aces.

That will all change if the Aces stumble. The year before last (and the year before that) the Aces were playing in front of 2,000 (and less) people during midweek games. If the ECHL is known for anything over it's entire history it is known for the number of franchises that fold. The Aces were almost one of those franchises.

None of this should be of real concern to Seawolf fans though. UAA Hockey was here long before the Aces (in fact the Aces would never have existed had it not been for former Seawolf players) and will be here long after the Aces fold.

This town's sports fans are just as fickled as any other cities. They turn out for a winner and stay home when their team is losing. That's just the way it is. By the end of the season if UAA is doing well there could easily be a filled Sully every night and if the Aces were to stumble and finish lower in their league then they might be playing in front of 3500 on a weekend.

Anonymous said...

you are right donald but it is still nice to have a place that UAA fans can grip about bad covrage I do think katuu dose a decent job with UAA.

Donald said...

People blame Doyle Woody for the lack of articles on the Seawolves but "journalistically speaking" there isn't always "news". Doyle can't be anything other than a UAA fan. I think he does a good job of covering up that fact. I am disappointed that ADN didn't do any sort of season preview with maybe coach interviews and that sort of thing.

If you notice that the big spread about the Aces wasn't written by Doyle. It was by Beth Bragg. Which to me means that Doyle is at least paying attention to UAA.

And to be fair Doyle can't sit around pontificating endlessly about Seawolf minutia like we do. But he does do commentary regularly.

The more newsworthy the Seawolves become the more articles he'll write. I'm not overly enamored with his continuing need to write about the opponent. In this day and age if I want to read about how some 4th line center in some WCHAberg overcame this obstacle and that obstacle then I'll visit their local media's website. Dedicating one full day's coverage to that sort of thing is tiresome.

Anonymous said...

So what about the Anchorage locals who played for one (Lovdahl) or the others who played two games in their hometown and won the classic! instead a kid from anchorage who decides to go away from UAA, rumor that i heard was because he wasn't guarnteed to start up here which he didn't down there either, and played ONE game in the classic got more press than UAA (at least online since, poor college kids can't afford papers on sunday) that is my gripe is that a team that hasn't played a game and a kid who won a "meaningless" game got more press than our boys who played excellent hockey and have some new hardware to appreciate as does the school and i would think the city would too but i guess the media doesn't see it that way. nothing against woody (although i am definatly not his biggest fan) but this would be the editor to mess this up.

and yes this is a great place to vent to others who understand, i hope we haven't turned your blog into a whinefest.

Donald said...

No worries about the comments. I prefer that the commentary here be open to all viewpoints. Just because I don't see something a certain way doesn't mean that other peoples perspectives are wrong.

I don't want anyone to think I'm some big ADN supporter. I'm just not sure the amount of vilification they receive is earned.

Anonymous said...

Tassone hurt or healthy out. Also why did Lovdahl not play. Just wondering. Wasn't at the games and saw the changes.

Donald said...

Tassone was limping when he went out to accept his watch.

Lovdahl didn't play for the same reason we've seen (and will continue to see) and that is that there are 9 solid defensemen on the roster. It's also still real early in the season and the coaching staff has to see everyone in competitive situations before they can know what lineups they want to use.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said, Donald, regarding the coverage on the Aces. We're looking at a team that won the Kelly Cup and will be raising 4 banners on opening night this coming Friday. I'm sure the Aces articles had been planned far in advance for the Sunday paper.

I was disappointed that there wasn't a picture of the boys with the goldpan trophy and a bigger headline in today's sports section. However, Doyle Woody's articles on the Seawolves have been extremely positive for a change so we should see more written about the team in the weeks to come.

By the way, anonymous 9:38 AM, UAA hockey is catching up, but I would disagree with you about it being better than Aces hockey. Perhaps it's because we have such a deadbeat crowd at UAA games. When UAF comes to town, they're louder than our crowd. It's college hockey guys-- let's make more noise!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:33 AM, I agree with you that our players have a much better attitude. They're doing a lot of things off ice together and building team spirit.

They are skilled players who can pass the puck and see the puck well on the ice. There's a faster flow to the game and they're shooting at the net. We outshot the opponents in the last two games-- how many times did we do that last year?. A tremendous improvement over the last couple of years.

Suze said...

Interestingly, the Aces exhibition games this year only drew just over 2000 fans. Even the UAA exhibition saw 3500 fans.

College hockey is much faster than the Aces game is. By and far, the UAA fans seem to know the game better as well.

Anonymous said...

Announced crowds. What was the real number that came into the building. Only getting 3500 on Friday and 3900 on Saturday. I am sure that those numbers were inflated because of tickets out. It looked pretty empty on TV. And giving away a vehicle and not being able to sell more. That was disapointing. It was tremendous coverage on Aces hockey on Sunday. Lokok for a sellout on Friday and great crowds all weekend.

Donald said...

And the Aces are giving away refrigerator magnets on Friday!!


Anonymous said...

The Aces exhibition games were on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Because it was a school night the crowd was small. We have had season tickets to both Aces and UAA games and try to attend all games. I still prefer the excitement of the pro games. Aces weekend games are always at 5,000 + and I have not seen that kind of crowd at any UAA games for many years.
Since they did away with the 2 line pass infraction in pro hockey, Aces games are just as fast and the skill level is something to behold. I love seeing our former UAA players doing so well on that level. I just hate hearing UAA fans putting down Aces games when they haven't been to one in a long time.

Anonymous said...

ok so the game might have been opended up a little bit in pro hockey. The college game in any sport still has better passion and usually a better atmospher. I will give you that last season was speacial to the Aces but what about the year before and what about the year they were on sale on e-bay. UAA has had some rough spots and anchorage is deffenatly a fairweather city which is a shame bith clubs have worked hard to get people be there through the good and the bad so as the wolves build off of this season early success i think coverage and attendance will get better. For the loyal fans UAA will always be the best damn team and they will have more pride in knowing that they were fans and at games through thick and thin.

Justafan said...

Anon at 3:01 is full of shit. Deny it all you want, but you are full of shit. You are an Aces supporter and do not go to any UAA games.

This should not be a debate between the Aces and UAA. Firstly, the aces are a pro adult league who are PAID. UAA is a very high level of amature STUDENTS hockey. You cannot equally compare the popularity of the two. It's like comparing highschool varsity sports with college games.

My reason for very high exhibition game attrendance for UAA?
1-Weekend not work week.
2-Hockey fever. Aces hadn't started yet and hockey hasn't been around for 6 months. Why not go see the first game in Anchorage on a SATURDAY?

Don't make this a competition between the Aces and UAA. They are completely different classes of great.

Anonymous said...

This is the year that both UAA and the Aces can make Anchorage proud to be the hockey town that it is. The lights at the beginning of the game, the larger student crowd with their faces and bodies painted green and gold, balloons being given out... all point in the right direction for an exciting season.
Let's encourage others to join us rabid fans in making this the season of the new generation of Seawolves.

Anonymous said...

UAA had a bush league opening presentation on Fri. and Sat. Go to the games this weekend at Sullivan and up at the Carlson and you will see a first class presentation. The team played better but the presentation was the typical 2nd rate stuff. Donald always says speak your mind on his blog. Good team performance and brutal promotions. It is sad these kids play there hearts out and have to look at a half empty building. Average attendance for one of the premier college tourneys was 3700. I will be suprised if they break 4000 for the Badgers in 3 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Justafan, don't be a shitless jerk! Not only do I attend most of the UAA games, I have been a proud Blueliner for the last 5 years and proud of it. Don't call me names just because I expressed my personal preference on this blog.
I feel sorry for the boys when their own fans boo them or leave early because we're losing. We have never left early and win or lose, we cheer loudly and support the team. This year's team has given me reason to be optimistic about an exciting season of So.. let's cheer for both of our hockey teams and have a winning season and stop calling me names.
From Anon at 3:01

Donald said...

D1 hockey is the highest amateur level of hockey in the world.

It is (and should be) a point of pride for D1 fans because the players are playing for nothing but pride. The Aces aren't playing for more than pride (not a whole lot more since nobody ever got rich playing in the ECHL).

The Aces as an organization succeeds or dies based on a single factor: The bottom-line. I suppose that is both a positive thing and obviously a negative as well. I wish the Aces all the success they can get. But the reality is that every year ECHL franchises fold and the Aces have been on that precipice more than once. What would the arena look like near the end of the season if the Aces went 29-42-5? I'm certain their crowds would be in the 2500 range.

I'd wager there are a substantial number of Aces fans that are oblivious to the facts about how this team came to be. It came to be because so many UAA players that were done with their D1 college careers chose to live in Anchorage. They built the team. They have had multiple Ex-UAA players contribute to the Aces every season since their inception.

As to the whole question of pregame "presentations" .... who gives a rats ass how the do it in FBX?

Anonymous said...

Well said Donald.
How many ECHL or any pro team for that matter can boast a roster that's made up of so many hometown boys? There are presently 5 on the Aces roster born in Alaska. 5 of the players are former UAA Seawolves and one player went to East High School and played for UAF. Last year they even had an all Alaska line.

This town can support 2 hockey teams. If the success of both UAA and Aces continues, perhaps, more of our hometown boys will play for UAA in the future. That's a win-win situation we should all hope for.

Anonymous said...

UAA cannot compete against the WCHA teams for anchorage kids Lets start the roll call Molle's to UAF, O'Connel to CC, Trupp to UND, The Carle's to DU ( David will be going to a perrenial powerhouse in the WCHA. Everyone is recruiting him.), Martin to UNO, Smith's to Northern, and count the kids who just graduated from other schools. They go to sully and there is nobody there and then go to other campuses and it is rocking. Reality

Donald said...

Everyone is recruiting David Carle? I tend to think your quite right about that. However, wasn't everyone recruiting Landon Wilson? Oh don't remember that name? Why? Because he never turned out to be anything. William Rapuzzi is a much more likely candidate for UAA. After him I'd think that Cody Butcher might be the next likely local kid. By all reports the Carle's were more than happy with the way Matt got treated at DU. If David goes anywhere else it'll be a big surprise.

If O'Connell didn't get recruited by UAA then it was John Hill who didn't recruit him. And recruiting goalies is not a yearly thing at any school. It's a 2 and 3 year thing. I thought you would have known that.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9.:40, when speaking about the WCHA, do NOT add UAF into that equation, they play for the CCHA. And Molle left because he wasn't good enough to make the team as a freshman. He got ticked off and left, that's his choice.

Smith left to be with his brother at Northern. I don't hold that against him, I hope he has fun there.

Gee, did anyone wonder why Kessel didn't stay and play for his home town team of Wisconsin? Every state deals with kids leaving to play elsewhere. You should know that by now.

Anonymous said...

I have attended many Aces games, and the opener for UAA on Friday and Saturday was as good as any Aces game I've seen. The Aces do the SAME THING every weekend. They also borrow a lot of ideas from Seawolves games. Bells, throwing fish, t-shirt throw, etc.

Post a Comment