Wednesday, November 01, 2006

UAA vs. Wisconsin Preview

There are two possible ways to beat Bucky this weekend in my view. First would be to beat them at their own game. Their game is to play a flawless (or as close to flawless as possible) defensive game combined with great goaltending. Coach Eaves has basically perfected this game plan over the last couple of years. If you take the puck behind the net to set up when you break out you'll find a a nice box in the neutral zone designed to deny you all parts of the ice. If you get into their zone you'll find a regimented dedicated and highly effective team defense that limits shots. I'd think trying to beat them at their own game would best be left to teams like St. Bob that already play the neutral zone trap. Brian Elliot is nothing but solid solid solid in his net. He's positionally very good and always squared up to the puck. His D gives him a good look at the puck and if he gives up a rebound they are on top of it. The offensive losses the Badgers had from last year to this, left many a Madisonian scratching their heads wondering where their goal scoring would come from. So far this season Jake Dowell has been THE guy scoring 6 of the Badgers 17 goals. They'll be without Jack Skille who is their most dynamic player; senior forward Ross Carlson is also injured. But with 5 other NHL draft picks it isn't like UAA won't have to play a solid defensive game.

I said there were two possible ways to beat them and since UAA isn't going to begin to match something that it's taken Eaves two years to perfect the other option is to play the uptempo game that Coach Shyiak has put in place; but it will have to be played at its highest level possible. Passing will have to be crisp and accurate. UAA will have to outwork Wisconsin on the boards and win more than their share of pucks in the open ice. The Seawolves size advantage isn't as great as with some other teams they've played but they'll need to make that pay dividends this weekend. UAA will have to be excellent in their own end and zero goaltending errors will be necessary.

There's not much chance that Eaves will have a real good scouting report on UAA so a couple of guys might be surprises and hopefully UAA can gain some advantage there. The first guy I'd look to surprise this opponent would be Kevin Clark. I don't think UAA fans really have seen what I believe this kid is capable of doing. One reason for that of course is the fact that twice now Kevin has taken himself out of games by hitting someone from behind. Even if he can't read a players name he still oughta be able to see the big numbers on their backs and not repeat that mistake again this season. Twice is enough. Next surprise for Bucky would be Paul Crowder who often surprises me with his excellence when the puck is on his stick. He reminds me of Ales Parez but I think he has more of a nose for the net. He's dynamic, strong and talented. Another surprise for Bucky is how good UAA has been bringing the puck up the ice. After the last couple of years I think this is the biggest turnaround for the 'Wolves. Smith, Anderson, Robinson, Hunt, Backstrom and big Luke are all more than very capable skaters and have all contributed to this new valuable asset for UAA. It's clear at this point of the season that there is zero quit in the upperclassmen this year. Props for those efforts should go to Bourne, Kronschnabel, Tarkir and Waldrop who kept hitting and competing for pucks regardless of the score last weekend. They'll all have to continue that sort of play against Wisconsin for UAA to earn some WCHA points. Lastly, a good PK and a PP that clicks will (as always) be important this weekend.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

According to the Madison paper quote of Eaves, Connelly might get playing time this weekend. We need to take advantage if he is. He is still a really good goalie but not Elliott caliber yet.

Donald said...

Conventional wisdom would suggest the Friday is an opportunity as well. But I don't think the trip up here is that bad. The Badgers are in town already so they'll have plenty of time to adapt to the time change and if they're tired on Friday from a Wednesday trip then they're old ladies.

Anonymous said...

Yes but adjusting can be hard if a crazy UAA student finds where they are staying and works sabotage.

Anonymous said...

Elliott didn't look that strong against Boston last weekend. He let in a couple five hole when he had a clear look at the shot.

Every goalie has weaknesses, you just need to exploit them.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Why don't you just demand "MR. EAVES, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!"

Anonymous said...

How bout we just take sledges to the wall, give us a little more exercise and be a little more fun and get out frustration

Anonymous said...

If Connelly gets some time in goal the Badgers will lose. Yes, bold, but I really don't feel he has the ability to play at this level.

Donald said...

Bold? LOL. I don't think it's bold to say your team is going to win. I think it's positive thinking and there are lots of reasons this week that make it more than just a possibility.

DPlaya said...

Nice post overall. While reading it I realized that Crowder played with Burnaby in the BCHL...and Kyle Turris is coming to UW next year from Burnaby. So, UW has probably seen him plenty in the past and he shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Donald said...

Crowder only played the first 13 games last year in the B ... then was injured for the year. Then returned for the playoffs.

And they have tape/DVD's of the wolves. More than expecting I suppose I was hoping they weren't paying attention.

MeanEgirl said...

Good luck to the Seawolves this weekend! I hope to see them get at least one W!

DPlaya said...

Good call on Crowder! He shouldn't have been a surprise to UW (although he was hurt a good chunk of last season as you mentioned) but he still managed to generate a ton of offense for UAA.

Anonymous said...

looks like you might hit the crowder one on the head! good job.

Post a Comment