Sunday, April 30, 2006

Burnaby Moves On To the Royal Bank Cup

Paul Crowder and the Burnaby Express have wrapped up the Doyle Cup championship; so they advance as the Pacific representative in the round-robin Royal Bank Cup from May 8th to 16th in Brampton, Ontario. My last post detailed a closely fought 2-2 series and my foolish assumption that the series was destined for 7 games. But games 5 and 6 saw Burnaby bury 10 goals to Ft. McMurray's 1 (4-1 and 6-0). Bah-Da-Bing Bah-Da-Boom; Game, Set, Match. Wow. That's quite a surprising turn in a series that saw 2 of the first 4 games settled by 2 goals and 2 games go to OT.

Game Five saw Crowder score a power play goal 2:48 into the third to give Burnaby a 3-1 lead. That gives Paul 4 goals in the last 6 games to go along with his 8g-12a in the previous 16 games. A little better than 1pt/playoff game? Very nice considering the adversity that Crowder faced. Coming back for the playoffs and contributing at that level after being out injured all season is noteworthy. Paul's experiences in the playoffs and at the weeklong RBC tournament will perhaps help him adapt more quickly to the D-1 game. If so then maybe we'll see him produce more than just a few goals as a freshman.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

UAA's 05-06 Season Ending Release

Here is a link to UAA's season ending release which has ALL the information you could want about the 05-06 season. There's a nice summary for every player as well as every possible highlight and a tentative schedule for next year. It's in much the same format as the weekly release (which is always excellent). Props to Tad Dunham (the UAA Sports Information Director) for producing it.

The tentative schedule is: (Home Games in gold)
Western Ontario - Oct 7th
Nye Frontier Classic - Oct 13th and 14th
(CC, UNO, Merrimack)

@UAF - Oct 20th and 21st
@MTU - Oct 27th and 28th
UW - Nov 3rd and 4th
@MSU-M - Nov 10th and 11th
UND - Nov 17th and 18th
UMD - Dec 1st and 2nd
@CC - Dec 8th and 9th
Denver - Dec 15th and 16th
UAF - Dec 29th and 30th
@SCSU - Jan 5th and 6th
@UND - Jan 12th and 13th
MTU - Jan 19th and 20th
Minnesota - Feb 2nd and 3rd
@UW - Feb 9th and 10th
MSU-M - Feb 16th and 17th
@UMD - Feb 23rd and 24th
Playoffs are Mar 9th, 10th and 11th
(Don't let the Sully book those March dates!!!)

Winnipeg South Blues Sent Golfing and Burnaby Express Series Tied 2-2

On Wednesday night (facing elmination) Winnipeg scored 2 third period goals to send game 4 to overtime; where Kevin Clark picked up the lone assist on the winning goal at 7:56. But Yorkton sent the South Blues to the greens with a 5-3 victory Thursday night. Kevin Clark scored Winnipeg's first 2 goals (14:02 of the 1st period and 14:56 of the 2nd) and added an assist on the 3rd goal. I know I gave Kevin some shit here about the penalties but looks to me like the kid played smarter the last couple of nights. He did pick up penalty minutes both nights but contributed by assisting on an OT game winner one night and scoring 2 goals (plus an assist) the next is a big enough offset to earn him a break. The next competitive hockey for Kevin will come in a Seawolf jersey.

Ft. McMurray tied the Doyle Cup series with a 5-4 win Wednesday night in Burnaby. Paul Crowder scored with 5:08 remaining in the 1st period to put the Express up 2-1 going into the second. The series resumes Friday night and judging by the close scores might easily need the full 7 games to determine the winner. I'll follow up after game 6.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Burnaby Up; Winnipeg Way Down

The Winnipeg South Blues are a single loss away from ending their season. As I posted previously the South Blues lost a tight double-OT game 1. Game 2 was also a victory for Yorkton as they took advantage of odd-man situations scoring 2 power play goals and 2 shorthanded goals in the 4-1 victory. Kevin Clark was sent to the locker room with around 10 minutes left in the game because of his third "stick related" minor penalty (High Sticking, Cross Checking and Slashing) of the game; but he hit the trifecta with 2 mid-second period roughing calls in a row (and nobody from the other team went either time?). Not exactly what I'd call a scintillating performance destined to go down in the annals of great junior hockey. More like an undisciplined nightmarish stereotype of what junior hockey once was. I was able to listen to some of the Yorkton internet broadcast and the hayseeds they had doing the game made for hilarious listening while it lasted. I turned it off when Clark got booted. Here's the boxscore.

Game 3 looks like it was all Yorkton as well as the Blues could get on the scoreboard until 5:49 of the third on the power play and that only narrowed the scored to 4-1. They tallied another at 16:53 and gave up an empty netter to lose 5-2. Here's the boxscore.

The KCPR (Kevin Clark Penalty Report) follows:
1st Period: (Roughing After Whistle) 14:59
2nd Period: (High Sticking)(Cross Checking) 10:59
3rd Period: No Penalties = No trifecta

On the more positive end of the spectrum we have Paul Crowder who has accounted for two of the three game winning goals as Burnaby took a 2-1 lead in their series with Ft. McMurray. Burnaby took the first game 6-3 (Crowder scored the 4th goal) but Ft. McMurray came back for a 2-1 victory in the second game. In Tuesday nights game 3, Paul netted the winner at 6:05 of OT for a 4-3 win. Paul's performance so far in the playoffs (8g-12a in 16 games) has got to fill the UAA coaching staff with some anticipation. Paul missed all but the first 13 games of the season but returned in time for the playoffs and has shown excellent form. Oh yeah ... he's averaging about 1.2 penalty minutes per game. Game 2 boxscore. Game 3 boxscore.

Both series resume with game 4 Wednesday night.

Monday, April 24, 2006

College Hockey America: A Simple Approach

The planned defection of the Air Force Academy from the College Hockey America conference to the Atlantic Hockey Conference presents a problem for all of D-1 hockey. Leastwise that's the word from various sources in the CHA and a few administrators in the rest of D-1 hockey. The problem is that without the minimum number of teams in their conference the CHA will lose their autobid to the NCAA playoffs. Nobody will want to play for a team that doesn't have a hope in hell of winning a championship. So the word out of the CHA that they'll likely fold at the end of this coming season. That will leave 5 teams without a conference to play in. With only 54 teams eligible for playoffs the possibility exists that the NCAA could force the current 16 team playoff format back to 12. That hurts everyone. So the consensus (among rational people) is that the other D-1 conferences need to step up and absorb those five programs. How the other conferences can make that happen without substantial pain is a difficult question.

Upon first examination it might look to be an easy problem. Just slide each of the remaining schools into conferences that fit geographically. But just about any combination of creates an unfair burden on one conference or another. The CCHA and ECACHL both already have 12 teams while the WCHA and Hockey East have 10. The CHA is geographically diverse ... Wayne State in Michigan, Bemidji in Minnesota, Niagra in NY, Robert Morris in PA, and then of course Alabama-Huntsville down in Dixieland. These schools have all committed themselves to D-1 hockey and they deserve an equal chance via some sort of arrangement with the existing conferences. And just about any idea for absorbing geographically is difficult to accomplish because of the widely varying dynamics of each scenario. Folding these teams into existing conferences is far from easy. It's almost impossible.

These are not dissimilar issues that faced UAA and UAF before they were granted membership into the WCHA and CCHA. The primary difference though is that UAA and UAF were well supported by their communities and CHA attendance averages this past season range from 531 (yes there's only 3 digits .. I didn't mistype) at Wayne State to a high of 1939 at Huntsville who have the biggest arena at 7,000 seats (the second biggest arena is Bemidji at 2,500). What to do? What to do? Losing even one school out of the 59 D-1 schools hurts everyone but any school unable to find it's way into a conference is ultimately just a corpse waiting to be buried. Nobody wants to see that happen that's why UAA and UAF are in their respective leagues now. So everybody wants to know what to do about the CHA.

There's been a lot of discussion on USCHO (some well thought out and some not so) as well as an article by Scott Brown at USCHO which are worth a look if you're interested (combined they prompted me to write this). In all that I've read there's one thing I haven't heard anyone say. Tell Air Force they can't go. Send them a note ... "Um ... Dear Air Force Academy ... Who said you could fuck up the rest of College Hockey? NOT US; so don't bother. OK? ... Signed D-1 Hockey" Take their fly-boy asses to court if you have to in order to stop them from moving. Prevent it. Bomb them first. Make em an offer they can't refuse. They are responsible not only for bringing the BTHC trolls out but making two or three other conferences have to absorb the conference they are so rudely leaving? Fuck that. Stop them from going to Atlantic Hockey and the problem is solved.

It doesn't solve it permanently. But it solves it for this coming season during which some sort of arrangement can be developed without an impending doom affecting the process. Letting the Air Force academy dictate changes because of their precipitous jump isn't in the interest of 58 other teams.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Burnaby Wins; Winnipeg Loses

Paul Crowder potted the game winning goal for the Burnaby Express in a somewhat strange 1st game for the Doyle Cup (BCHL vs. AJHL) against the Ft. McMurray Oil Barons Friday night. Apparently neither of these two teams was tight or suffering from nerves as they combined for 7 goals before the 1st period ended. Ft. McMurray scored 4:32 into the game but Burnaby answered just 35 seconds later. Things got kind of slow for the next 19 seconds before Burnaby managed to scored again. Then a horrendously long wait of an almost unimaginable 2 minutes and 54 seconds before Burnaby went up 3 -1. Ft. McMurray pulled back to within a goal about three and a half minutes later. Crowder put Burnaby ahead permanently with 5:45 left in the period. The Oil Barons finished their scoring with 11 seconds left in the period. Burnaby added a goal each in the second and third periods to seal the victory 6-3. The game was relatively penalty free and Ft. McMurray outshot Burnaby 30-22. Here's the boxscore.

Things couldn't have been more different Friday night in Yorkton, Saskatchewan in the opening game of the Avanet Cup series between the Winnipeg South Blues (MJHL) and Yorkton Terriers (SJHL). This game went to the second OT before Yorkkton broke the 1-1 tie to win. Kevin Clark scored Winnipeg's 1 goal at 11:11 of the 1st period. And that is all I'm gonna say about that. Here's the boxscore.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Central Scouting Service: Erik Felde Listed

The NHL released it's 2006 Final Rankings of it's Central Scouting Service today and Erik Felde was listed. The top 210 North American players as defined by CSS are provided to the NHL and can generally be looked upon as an early prediciton of draft position. In the 2006 CSS Midterm Rankings Erik was listed at #153.

In today's CSS Final Rankings he moved up 30 places to #123 which would project him as an early 5th round choice. My casual analysis doesn't lead to any earth shattering conclusions about this information. Erik had an awesome season and even though he's only 5'9" he moved up substantially (but not dramatically) in a couple of months in the eyes of the scouts. No doubt his performance as the Player of the Game for the West Team in the CJAHL Prospects Game had some sort of impact as well.

It is worth noting that Erik was one of only three BCHL players of draft age that made the list; it's also worth noting that both of the other guys were 6'1" and 6'4" respectively. Does this mean that Erik has "mad skills"? We'll see. I'm still wondering if he's going to play defense or forward at UAA.

Kevin Clark and Ken Selby had been listed on the Midterm "Players to Watch" list but were absent from the Final Rankings.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kevin Clark "punked" by MJHL

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League announced it's league awards this past Saturday evening at its banquet. Kevin Clark was one of three nominees for MVP. The award instead went to Tyler Czuba (3rd league-wide in points; first in goals). Kevin wasn't nominated for any other awards. Clearly, he is the most dynamic player in the league. From everything I've read he seems to be the heart and soul of the South Blues and didn't they just win the league championship? It's a shame that the league punked him like that. Sure other players had nice seasons and yeah ... they deserved to get awards too. But it's sad that one of the most dynamic players that league has seen in quite some time was hosed.

Hopefully the Blues rest will serve them well going into their next playoff series for the Avanet Cup vs. the Yorkton Terriers. That series starts on the 21st and Kevin will have a chance to once again show his quality. I'll have updates as it progresses.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Burnaby/Penticton Update

Game Two:
Penticton rallied in the second game of the series with a 4-3 OT victory on home ice. Paul Crowder assisted on the second Burnaby goal (boxscore). Penticton scored the game winner 13 seconds after Burnaby killed off a 2 minute power play from a hooking call at 2:12 (in OT? ouch). Those goals are tough to take. Bust ass for 2 minutes and get the job done but somehow don't clear the puck that one last time and bing-bang-boom. I hate that.

Game Three:
On Thursday night at home Burnaby dominated winning by a final of 7-2. Paul Crowder's power play goal at 3:10 of the 2nd period proved to be the game winner. The game must have gotten gritty in the third with five fighting-majors, 2 sets of double-minors, and 3 minors and a game-misconduct all at 13:23. Paul Crowder earned 2 for slashing and a 5 minute major for fighting to go along with two other penalties he managed in the first two periods. Here's the boxscore.

Game Four:
The fourth game of the series saw things turn back Penticton's way with a 3-1 victory on the road. Paul Crowder didn't turn up on the score sheet at all. Looks like the Vee's put together a gutty performance in response to a post season that has seen them lose two key players. In game 2 of Penticton's Interior Division Final, Robert Skinner (07 NMU recruit) was hospitalized with a severe head-injury for several days following an ugly crash into the boards; but last word had him recovering well and back at home sometime during the past few days. Additionally they lost Evan Trupp (07 UND recruit) to a shoulder injury in game three. No word on the extent of his injury.

Game Five:
Burnaby took a 3-2 lead in the series with a 2-1 victory tonight (Sunday) on Penticton's home ice. You can find a link to the boxscore by clicking here but as of this time it is unavailable so I have no idea if Paul Crowder scored. I'll add more later but as this is my third post of the evening I'll give my fingers a rest for now.

Western College Hockey Blog: Roundtable

The Western College Hockey Blog has emailed his first "roundtable" of the offseason. It's a good process so I'm happy to participate. Basically he's sent out the same set of questions to available D-1 blogs. Here's my submission; visit his page at the link above to read the answers from the other bloggers:

Give a brief summary of your team's season:
In order to honor the request for brevity I'd just say, "It sucked". But that wouldn't be a good summary. Let's see ... scoring was absent; missing in action; bedeviled; invisible; inconsistent; unseen; cursed; ugly; inept; vacuous; kidnapped; black-holed and otherwise NOT THERE. Goaltending inconsistency and defensive mistakes played a smaller yet still significant part of the near nightmare.

What were your thoughts on how your team's season ended?
There was pride in the effort. The team didn't mail it in. They can all hold their heads high about that. Their efforts should be rewarded in terms of the character it will build.

What offseason improvements can your team make to be better next year?
I don't know that you could instill confidence during the offseason but hopefully the time off will at least lead to a positive upbeat start to the new season. A lack of confidence cost this team last season. Hopefully Shyiak is a bit of a cheerleader and can make them believe they can get the job done. Along with cheerleading I'm hoping more than anything else that some chemistry is to be found amongst the forwards. There is talent, grit and leadership amongst the returners and whatever can be done to find synergy between the various styles needs to be done.

Are there any players on your team that might leave for the pros during the offseason?
There is a rumor circulating that Nathan Lawson might be interested. I've heard it more than once and from more than one source. I know that Nate has NHL ambitions but signing for a tryout with an AHL team or going into the ECHL isn't going to be in the best interest of the goal of getting to the NHL. Nathan is a very talented goaltender but has been limited in his effectiveness by injury and poor play in front of him. No doubt scouts like what they see when they watch him play (talent and quickness) but unless you really stand out from the pack in the WCHA performance then a professional offer is unlikely to come. Look where the last goalie to leave early from UAA is now. Gregg Naumenko is currently toiling in the AHL but has spent about an equal amount of time in the ECHL since leaving UAA after his freshman year. It's damn tough to get to the show when you play in the crease but if you want to; then you oughta OWN the level you're at before you try to jump into a small pond with a lot of big fish.

It's also rumored that Shea Hamilton is unhappy and considering not returning. I hope whatever problems Shea sees with the program can be addressed to his liking. I know Shyiak likes players with heart and Shea definitely plays with a lot of heart. It sucks to have to sit as punishment for taking bad penalties but putting the puck in the back of the net is the best answer. Losing Shea would be a loss but not an unrecoverable situation.

Which player(s) will be expected to carry the load for your team next season?
Upperclassmen should always lead by example in my book. 05-06 MVP Senior Mark Smith will lead from the blueline. Additionally 6'4" 220lb Senior Chad Anderson returns defensively along with 6'5" 230lb Junior Luke Beaverson. Up front the Seawolves should be lead by Senior's Charlie Kronschnabel and Justin Bourne along with Junior's Eric Walsky, Chris Tarkir and Merit Waldrop. All of those forwards had disappointing point production in 05-06. After them, Sophmores Jay Beagle and Billy Smith are likely to contribute offensively. My dark horse forward is Junior Peter Cartwright.

Which player will be most vital to your team's success next season?
The one who finally steps up and starts burying the puck consistently.

What is your expectation for your team next season?
Would anyone really be happy if I said anything other than 5th place?

UAA Awards Banquet

The UAA Awards Banquet was held this past Wednesday evening at the Anchorage Hilton. Mark Smith was named both the team's Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational; his 15 points (6g - 9a) tied for the team lead. This season was the first time in UAA history that a defenseman lead the team in scoring. Congratulations to Mark. Unfortunately the accomplishment of being the first came in a season when the Seawolf offense was inept at finishing. Nevertheless Mark had a nice comeback season from a nightmare of a sophomore season that was injury shortened and short on scoring. Mark's freshman and junior years were indicative of the caliber of player that he is. Steady and smart on the blueline; Mark is a good skater and a key contributer on the power play.

Most Improved Player was awarded to Mike Rosett whom circumstances moved from the 3rd-string practice goalie to starter in just over a week. Mike responded with solid play that even inspired confidence in the rest of the team.

For the fourth year in a row Justin Johnson was awarded the Corner Man Award. And for the second year he was voted Leon Thompson Fan Favorite Award. What can I say about Justin that I haven't said here before? J.J. is one of those special players that comes through a program from time to time. He was totally dedicated to performing game in and game out up to his potential. J.J. was the heart and soul of this team in my book. Will anyone assume his mantle? I hope so.

Rookie of The Year was earned by Jay Beagle. After half a season adapting to the D-1 game Jay began to make himself a factor in games especially toward the end of the season. I suspect there is much to look forward to in the next three years from Mr. Beagle.

The Jack Peterson Student-Athlete award was earned by Blair Tassone who is a Natural Sciences major. Blair is everyone's best friend the week before mid-terms I'd imagine.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What's in Store for the Summer?

I don't expect to post nearly as often during the off-season but I'm sure I'll find little snippets here and there to share. Since that is likely though to be intermittent at best; I also plan to have the following posts between now and the beginning of the 06-07 season:

Final Recruit Wrap-Up:
I'll detail all the incoming recruits with a feature on each player's statistics, accomplishments and what-not.

Summer Interview Series:
Summer will give me enough time to finally carry through with some one-on-one interviews. With whom? Check back for specifics when I've finalized it but I'm planning on a four-part series at this point.

College Hockey Website Review:
I've had it in my mind for some time to do a comprehensive review/rating of the three main sources of D-1 Hockey information on the web; USCHO, INCH and CHN. I made some notes when the idea occurred to me and it looks like a fairly big project requiring organization and research so my main hope is to have it completed by September.

If you've got a killer idea or anything to share about UAA Hockey let me know by posting your comments and/or sending me an email.

Monday, April 10, 2006

BCHL Championship: Game 1 To Burnaby

Monday night, Paul Crowder provided an assist on an empty net goal that sealed a 4-2 win for Burnaby in game 1 of their 7 game series for the Fred Page Cup (not to be confused with the other Fred Page Cup. I'd 'splain it but lets just say in Canada the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing ... oh wait that's true in any heavily centralized federal republic that doesn't have a clue as to it's distant states/provinces needs ... Alaska and BC should secede from their respective nations and form a new country ... the new country could be called ABC ... I know I know ... Alberta would be jealous and constantly begging to join up but then what would we do?? call the new country ABA?? I doesn't think so besides Alberta could join up with Manitoba and Saskatchewan and call themselves MASK).

Burnaby cashed in on an early power play opportunity in the first period; then midway through the period built it's lead to 2. Penticton tied the game just :49 seconds into the third period after getting the only goal of the second period at 6:48. At 12:27 of the third Burnaby scored the game winner. Paul picked up an assist on the ENG at 19:17. So who scored the other goals and what's the other teams name again? Who cares? They ain't coming to UAA. If you absolutely must know then you could look at the boxscore which is exactly where I got all the above information (except the secessionist talk of course).

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Penticton.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Pinnacle and The Rest of Us

It's all officially done. The Frozen Four is finished. And for the overwhelming majority of college hockey fans today is really no different from yesterday. One team won the championship and its fans have no doubt got to be seriously pumped. For the fans of 58 other teams the only solace that can be found is in waiting: waiting for the new season to start when all 59 teams start equal (on paper at least); waiting for another chance; waiting to see how it will all turn out; just a bunch of waiting. No waiting for Badger fans though. Their team won the championship (by a goalpost and 1.3 seconds). They're all feeling what the rest of us yearn to feel. Sure there are some of us non-buckybackers that know the feeling. DU fans had a couple of years worth.

But just as it is in every other sport we fans spend our money and time in hopes that we'll share in the pride that the pinnacle of fandom (a championship) brings. Most of do this knowing that it will likely take years of program building and disappointment and ultimately some luck before we can share that feeling. Yesterday Badger fans were in that boat. Today they're not. Today they are the ones lucky enough to feel that; 15 years since the last time they felt it; they should covet it; I would. I'm envious of Badger fans today but at the same time know that tomorrow UAA and UW will be equal (on paper at least). So congratulations to all the Badger fans who's years of support and belief have today been repaid by their team. Cheers.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Burnaby and Winnipeg Both Advance

Paul Crowder and Kevin Clark will continue playing Jr. hockey for at least one more series each. Clark and the Winnpeg South Blues finished off the OCN Blizzard Friday night to win the MJHL Championship (Turnbull Trophy). Kevin finished tied for the league playoff scoring title with Donald Melnyk of OCN; Clark had 26 points (10g - 16a) in 14 games; Melnyk had 26 points (9g-17a) in 16 games. Clark though did manage to wrap up the playoff penalty minutes race with 60.

Winnipeg will now play the winner of the SJHL (Saskatchewan's "Credential Cup") championship series betweeen the Battleford North Stars and the Yorkton Terriers. Yorkton leads that best of seven series 2-1 after a victory Friday night.

Paul Crowder and the Burnaby Express ended the Victoria Salsa's season with a 5 - 3 victory in the BCHL semi-final series. In 10 playoff games Paul has 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points. Burnaby will face the Penticton Vees for the Fred Page Cup (BCHL Championship). Penticton advanced by winning their best of 7 semi-final 4 games to 1 against Salmon Arm. I was bummed when I assumed that Paul was out for the season as it gave me no information about what to expect next year. It seems that he's showing he should be able to contribute offensively at UAA next year.

For those of you not familiar with Canadian Jr. hockey each league champion is invited (through a set of rules too convoluted to explain here) to a national tournament for the Royal Bank Cup (a link to the brackets).

Hey ... At least there's something related to UAA hockey to write about.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kevin Clark and Paul Crowder Still Playing

Kevin Clark and the Winnipeg South Blues are leading their best of seven MJHL Championship series 2 games to 1 over the OCN Blizzard. Winnipeg won the 1st game by a score of 4-1 with Kevin netting an assist. OCN came back in game 2 with a 4-3 victory; Clark had 2 assists in the loss. The 3rd game (Tuesday evening) saw the South Blues squeak by with a 5-4 victory in which Kevin scored 2 goals and added an assist. Game 4 is Wednesday night. The MJHL webpage is the best place to go for future updates.

Paul Crowder and the Burnaby Express lead their BCHL semi-final best of 7 series against Victoria Salsa 2 games to 1. After losing the first game 5-4 (Paul was the 2nd Star with his 2 goals) Burnaby came absolutely ROARING back with consecutive blowouts 9-2 on Saturday and 8-1 on a penalty filled Tuesday night. Paul had 3 assists in the 2 wins. This link on the BCHL site is the best for future game reports.

All the remaining players teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. Camrose took game 4 from Spruce Grove 4-0 on Saturday night ending Ryan Berry and Kane Lafranchise's season. As I mentioned in the last update Chilliwack (Hunt, Lunden) and Vernon (Felde, Olthuis) are finished for the season.

I'll add updates on Clark and Crowder later this week (end?) and during the summer I'll write and post a detailed report on each incoming player.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

USCHO Suspension Pt. II: Admin Responds

I feel either priveleged or singled out. Not sure which one. The USCHO Admin actually deigned to reply to me this time. Every other time I was suspended they sent an email; I sent a reply and that was that. But this time I guess the admin figured I needed some additional information. Thanks admin.

Drop The Puck,
You are making the common mistake of thinking that this is about me, when really, it is about you.

*You* broke the rules. The rules are posted for all to see, and you knowingly violated them. The only reason that this is a two month suspension is because you have done this again and again, so clearly you have not learned your lesson. It's *your* fault, not mine, and not the fault of anyone else.

Here's the lesson, since clearly it hasn't gotten through yet: don't insult other posters, under any circumstances. The identity of the poster you are insulting is irrelevant. Doing so is a violation of the rules, and doing so can get you suspended.

Don't make slurs about their education. Don't make references to their sex life. Don't ridicule their home life. Keep the talk about hockey. Why is that so difficult for you to understand? If you are really unable to control yourself, then how about just staying out of a thread that doesn't concern you?

Your next suspension will be permanent. I hope you take the next two months, before your posting privileges are reinstated, to learn how to treat other people with respect and consideration, even if their opinions differ from your own. If you can't, then our message board is a better place without you.

My reply:
Dear Board,
Where did I say I didn't insult anyone? Where did I ask for the identity of anyone? Where did I cry about being suspended for my actions? Then you chide me with a finger pointing condescending parental ramble? You assume that somehow I don't know what I posted? All that mommy-dearest "YOU" stuff is bad form and unecessary in this case. What part of "I understand the process" in my response didn't you read? It wasn't some sort of questioning of you. It was an aknowledgement of the process you described. Most of the rest of what I wrote was clearly sarcasm in response to being suspended for what are CLEARLY minor insults and from my perspective your overreaction to it.

Thanks anyway for reminding me that my next suspension will be permanent. Is that like where you ban "eaglebunny" and he comes back with 42 different names and you give up? Or is it like "Rabid Husky" where he straight out tells you to fuck off and just comes back as "mornprod"?

Should I exceed your tolerance for me at some point in the future and you find it necessary to ban me I can assure you at least you won't have to be wondering what new ID I've created. I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that didn't want me as a member.

In fact it wouldn't take another suspension. You just have to say you'd prefer that I not post again (at ANY time for ANY reason) and nary a character from this keyboard would EVER find its way onto your site again.
Most Sincerely,

Monday, April 03, 2006

Blast From The Past: Greatest Upset

The upset of Minnesota by Holy Cross spawned discussion as to whether or not it was the Greatest Upset in D-1 hockey playoff history. Amongst all the games discussed was the UAA/Boston College playoff series in 1991. The discussion reminded me of the HOCKEY-L posts that I'd read which had good reports of the games. So here's a couple of long posts that are well worth the read.

Mike Machnik was the author ...
I just returned from BC where the Eagles dominated Alaska-Anchorage but still lost, 3-2. I see Clarkson, Cornell, and Providence have won, so I have gone o-fer tonight. Not a good start. Yet, it is the first time *ever* that all four road teams have won on the same night, either in the first round or in the quarterfinals. That goes back to the beginning of the eight-team format in 1981. No one could have predicted this would happen.

This was only the third time an independent ever won a game in the NCAA Division I tourney; Alaska-Anchorage is only the second team to do it. Merrimack won two games in 1988, one at Northeastern and one at Lake Superior. BC was 17-1-0 at home coming in, but now they are on a two-game losing streak.

We heard the BC radio guys on the way home, and there were two memorable quotes. Sorry I can't remember the guy's name. First: "Last year at this time there was the feeling of, "Who can beat us?' Now, it's 'Who CAN we beat?'" And second - and this one deserves its own line:

"Len Ceglarski can't coach his way out of a paper bag."

The BC folks are VERY down at this point. It could be over tomorrow night. Still, I look at the fact that Anchorage was so outplayed by BC, in my opinion (Krake was the only thing keeping the game close the first 50 minutes), and I will stick with BC to win the next two games and the series.

The referee was Shepherd from the WCHA; I was very impressed with the job he did in the WCHA Championship, and he called another good game tonight. Linesmen were Demers and Earle from the ECAC, and they also did a good job. The first period was one to fall asleep to. No scoring, very little up-and-down action, and only one penalty a side.

In the second, BC turned it up and outshot the Seawolves, 19-5, but they only got one goal. That came at 14:36, when Bill Guerin shot the puck off the faceoff and Krake made the save, but Guerin put in his rebound to break the scoreless tie. BC had four power plays in the period and got no goals despite several great chances.

The only other notable thing about the period came with four seconds left. Deep in the UAA end, Lorne Knauft hit BC's Steve Heinze, who was so angry that there was no call that he absolutely crushed Knauft (a big boy) into the boards. Knauft crumpled to the ice and did not move at all, lying on his stomach. The Seawolves' trainer came out and after about five minutes, Knauft slowly got up. I believe he was probably knocked out. Heinze was sent to the locker room and was given a major from hitting from behind, which now carries an automatic DQ - or so I thought. He returned in the third to serve his penalty and continued the rest of the game; I can't explain this because I thought I remembered seeing this in the rule book (which is at home). Knauft did not come out with his team to start the third, but he did come out for one shift and was on the ice for UAA's first goal; then he went right back to the locker room, but again he returned and played about the last six minutes. I can see how he would refuse to sit it out with his team on the verge of the biggest win in their history.

The third period was played in halves, which is getting to be a custom at BC. UAA had a 4:40 power play in the third after the final 16 seconds of a penalty to Kraft expired, but they couldn't do anything with it. Krake continued to stand on his net in the UAA net, stopping McInnis and Emma. Finally UAA tied it up at 9:12. Big gun Rob Conn had two shots blocked by BC players, then his third try found the mark with LaGrand on his knees. LaGrand had shut UAA out for 49:12, but it would only take 4:27 for them to get all they needed to win.

With five seconds left in the first half of the third period, Dave Pergola put BC ahead, 2-1. Jeff O'Neill threw the puck in along the right boards and Pergola beat UAA's Trent Pankewicz to it behind the net, then he wheeled in front and slammed it through Krake's pads at 9:55. It only took 17 seconds for Anchorage to tie it up. The net appeared to be off when the goal was scored, but it could have been LaGrand who knocked it off. Kraft got credit; there was a lot of action in front and it just looked like Kraft and Conn were whaling away at it.

Brad Stewart was called for interference at 10:35, but BC couldn't score. They got two good chances just as the power play came to an end from Marc Beran and O'Neill, but Krake again came up big. Then at 13:39, the game-winner was scored. Steve Bogoyevac came out of the right corner with the puck and blasted a shot over LaGrand's shoulder from the bottom of the circle to bring a hush over Conte Forum except for the Seawolves' celebration. Krake played out of his skull the rest of the game, stopping Emma, McInnis, and Crowley on another power play, and making the biggest saves of the game on Franzosa with 1:53 left. Franzosa's first shot was stopped, then Krake fell back in the net, lying on his back, but he reached up to stop Franzosa's followup. I can't imagine how he didn't get the puck up over Krake, but it still goes in the books as a huge save. BC pulled LaGrand with about 41 seconds left, but the Seawolves were not about to pull a BC and let this one get away. Despite being outplayed, they earned this one with their hard work and tough defense and their refusal to give up.

I believed that if BC was going to lose a game to UAA, it would be this one. It will take another miraculous performance from UAA and Krake to beat BC again. Sure, it can happen, and maybe BC is really down on themselves which would play a big part tomorrow night (I don't know). We will see.

Congrats to Clarkson, Cornell, Providence, and Anchorage fans! The rest of this weekend should be VERY interesting...

And Mike's take on the second game:
What an incredible weekend. The Seawolves of Alaska-Anchorage, who many people believed didn't belong in this tournament, closed out a sweep of Hockey East regular season champion Boston College with a 3-1 win tonight. UAA now goes to Northern Michigan next weekend. BC ended the season 27-12-0 and lost its last three games, all at home, after beginning the season with an unblemished 17-0-0 mark in the friendly confines of Conte Forum. UAA is 19-15-4 in NCAA games, 22-15-4 overall.

All four goals in the game came on the power play. While Shepherd called a fine game last night, there was really no flow at all to Game Two, a result of the 19 minors called in the first two periods. BC was 1 for 7 over that stretch, but Anchorage was 3 for 10. Yet, BC did themselves in, I'd say, by taking really idiotic penalties with their team already losing the series *and* behind in this game. Shepherd took a large amount of vicious abuse from the BC students, who didn't realize until the third period that he wasn't the reason their team was trailing. Emma, Cleary, Guerin, etc. spent a lot of time jawing at Shepherd, but if they had spent more energy worrying about Alaska-Anchorage, they might have had a better chance to win. But I doubt it.

Ceglarski made two big changes for BC tonight. He played Galuppo in net instead of LaGrand, but goaltending was not his problem. He also yanked Steve Heinze off the top line and replaced him with Guerin to reunite the GEM line. It made no difference whatsoever. Guerin had two goals in the series, but Emma, McInnis, and Heinze pulled no-shows again.

Anchorage did not change their style one bit from Game One, and if anything, they executed it better. The first period saw the teams exchange power play goals. At 16:09, Anchorage got on the board. Tim Kollman, a senior defenseman (one of only four seniors), took a pass from Rob Conn (1-1--2 last night) and blasted the puck from the top of the left circle. It went right along the ice and in past Sandy Galuppo, then it ricocheted out, but Shepherd was rightthere and signaled the goal. It was goal #11 for Kollman.

BC got that back with a PPG of their own at 17:17. Guerin deflected in Ted Crowley's shot from the right point for his 26th goal. Emma also assisted as he had fed Crowley. That was to be BC's last goal of the year. In fact, of the three goals BC got in the series, you can only fault Krake on one (Pergola's stuff in from behind the net). Krake ended up stopping 81 of 84 shots (1.50, .964), clearly the MVP of the series for the Seawolves.

BC was hit with two dumb penalties late in the period and it would do them in. Heinze went off for slashing at 19:19, then the Eagles got a bench minor at 19:46 to give Anchorage a 5-on-3 for 1:33. UAA capitalized 1:05 into the second when Jeff Batters shot the puck through a screen from the left circle past Galuppo for his 14th, the eventual game-winner. Kollman and Steve Bogoyevac (GWG Game One) also assisted.

After UAA went up 2-1, they got socked with three consecutive penaltiesat 1:22, 6:13, and 9:33, to give BC nearly six minutes on the power play, and the Eagles couldn't do anything. UAA's men covering the point were particularly effective all weekend in forcing bad passes and blocking shots. Emma and McInnis had great chances but Krake came up big.

Then, BC started getting hit with penalties. The one that resulted in the third UAA goal was the dumbest of the night. Guerin stole the puck, came up to the faceoff dot and shot the puck, but Krake gloved it and held on. Guerin kept coming, with no one near him, and took a whack at Krake. This came with Cleary already in the box and put the Eagles down 5-on-3 again. It was also what set off the students' abuse of Shepherd, although of course he didn't deserve it. BC killed off the 5-on-3 portion, but with five seconds left on Guerin's minor UAA scored their third PPG of the night. Conn was battling for the puck down low and slid the puck across the crease to Galuppo's left, where no one was covering Trent Pankewicz. He quickly potted his 18th goal, a huge one.

BTW, UAA had two more goals called back tonight. Late in the first period, Bogoyevac appeared to score and I thought Shepherd signaled the goal, but then he pointed for a faceoff instead. Then what would have been their fourth goal was disallowed in the second because a man was in the crease.

Conte Forum has two huge video screens that they use for replays, and with BC down 2 entering the third, the people who run the scoreboard put up the video of John Belushi's famous "It's not over until we say it's over! speech from "Animal House". This drove the crowd into a frenzy and they rocked the building when BC hit the ice for the third (again played in halves). Unfortunately for them, the Eagles didn't respond. They did outplay UAA and generated more scoring chances than they had in the first two periods, but the key players like Emma, Crowley, McInnis, Heinze were fanning on shots, shooting the puck wide, losing the puck at the point. Much of the period consisted of UAA dumping the puck in and letting BC try to breakout; they are obviously a very well-coached team defensively. They made BC look absolutely awful, worse than I have ever seen a BC team look.

BC's lethargic offense received a wake-up call about halfway through the period on the only power play (Shepherd called 19 minors in the first two, and one in the third), but it fell back asleep very quickly. Defeat was in the air, and there was nothing BC could do to avert it. As the final horn sounded, the celebration on the ice was very reminiscent of one I had to suffer through three years ago, when Merrimack upset Northeastern in the opening round. For only the second time since the independents had been given an automatic bid, an independent had won a series. And, Alaska-Anchorage had become the first independent ever to win a best-of-three *and* sweep a best-of-three in the DivI tourney.

Emma was visibly upset afterwards, and as is the BC custom at Conte, even in defeat, the Eagles gathered at center ice and together rapped their sticks on the ice and lifted them toward the balcony in salute to the students - but it was not with much enthusiasm. Emma, the captain, waited for the rest of his teammates to leave the ice, then, with the fans chanting "Hobey, Hobey", he saluted them just as his teammates had, then he left the ice for the final time as a college player. In defeat, this was a classy way to go out, I have to say. The anti-BC fans were really out in force tonight, smelling the kill. A large section of fans spent the whole game jeering David Emma ("Emma wears a bra", "Hobey Faker") and Bill Guerin. In the third period, after the ten minute mark, at every one-minute interval they counted down - "Seven minutes to elimination!" This is really what BC deserved, because they were so damn cocky they seemed to think Anchorage should have just mailed in the two losses. After all, they're BC. That attitude permeated right down to the people who run the scoreboard atBC. Both games, they kept showing a message that urged fans to get their Final Four tickets now, along with the address & phone. That didn't appear in the third period tonight.

Even more amazing, they kept a number "6" superimposed in the upper right corner of the scoreboard throughout the entire game last night; it wasn't until near the end of the second period last night that we learned what it stood for. At first I jokingly suggested it was supposed to be the spread. It turns out, it was the number of wins BC had left until the national championship! Needless to say, after five periods, that "6" was gone in the third tonight. But I can't believe Ceglarski would allow them to do that. You just do not go around doing things like that. If you do, you pay for it. And they did.

Congratulations to Anchorage fans, I was very impressed with the way the Seawolves stuck to their game plan, played smart hockey and stood nose to nose with a team many had figured to sweep the series. I don't think I have seen as fabulous a goaltending performance in a weekend as I saw from Paul Krake. If he stays hot, Northern Michigan will have their hands full. Alaska-Anchorage has definitely earned some respect this weekend.

There are lots of good reads on the HOCKEY-L archives. Take a look if your in a reminiscent mood.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Oops. I Did It Again.

Yup. I've gotten myself suspended from USCHO once again. I'm incarcerated for two months this time. This one is the biggest surprise to me yet. The posts have been deleted so here's a summary as best as I can remember it.

A poster named SCSU Helmet Guy made a post that tickled my grammar police radar and I provided a somewhat smarmy reply (purely for the sake of edification). Unfortunately I had my hat handed to me in a small way when my reply contained a glaring usage error (of all things the word "too"). Trying to "learn" someone something never works when your first volley is fatally flawed. Oh well ... anyway when Mr. and Mrs. Troll heard my "clack clack clacking" on their bridge they immediately came out from under. In the ensuing exchange I posted the following things. The admin provided these quotes in their suspension notification e-mail.

"I'm sure when you get to 7th grade they'll reinforce this lesson but it's never to early to learn something."
"Just tryin to help Rabib and DL's progeny with English. Jeez. I'm so misunderstood."
"Then I'll certainly defer to your minor-ness in any future consideration I give to educating your spawn."
"Then I sure don't understand genetics. I would have thought such articulate communicators as you and DL wouldn't be saddled with embarrassing offspring but god works in mysterious ways I suppose. Better luck with your future procreation."
Unfortunately the offending posts have been removed from the thread so I can't provide the other side of the conversation but a quick read through that thread will give you a general idea of the level of communication. Yeah ... its pretty much nothing but dick jokes and innuendo.

So here's the admin's notice:
Drop The Puck,
Several posts of yours in the thread "SCSU Off-Season: Domo arigato, Mr. Bob Motzko!" have been deleted. These posts were insulting and offensive to other posters, and as such, violated our rules.
Some examples of your posts: ===== *"all included above"===== You have been warned and suspended before, so your account has been suspended for two months. --- Fan Forum Admin

And my reply:
Dear Board,
Your arbitrary enforcement and the seemingly schizophrenic interpretation of the posting guidelines never ceases to amaze me. Of course those posts were insulting and offensive to other posters. Did you remove the "SCSU exception" from the "don't be offensive and insulting rule" and forget to tell me? You guys are Red Sox fans too ... huh?
I'm well aware of the process here. The posts you forwarded were reported to you as offensive or insulting. Your hands are tied huh? That's how you've explained it in your infrequent interactions in the "Talk with the Admin" threads. Ever consider replying with a "jeez ... don't be so thin skinned" or is the black and white nature of your rule really so absolute that me dusting up a banned troll and his wife a bit is worthy of a two month suspension? It's too bad that so many other SCSU fans understand their place on the board is to act as a necessary repositry for ribbing, taunting, flaming and yeah ... insults. Alas, the nature of posting means none of them reported me for making them laugh.
Yours Sincerely,

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Jr. Playoff Update

The Spruce Grove Saints are playing the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL semi-finals and are down 3-2 in the best of seven series. The 6th game is in Camrose tonight at 7:30. Kane Lafranchise and Ryan Berry each scored gaming winning goals in the 2 Saint's victories. Spruce Grove is currently ranked as the 9th best team amongst all the junior A leagues in Canada.

Paul Crowder was the second star of the game in the Burnaby Express' loss to the Victoria Salsa in game 1 of the BCHL semi-final best of 7 series. Paul had 2 goals in less than three minutes early in the 2nd period to tie the game but Victoria came back ten minutes later to go up 4-3 and the game remained scoreless after that. I'm thrilled to see that Crowder is back on the ice after his nearly season long injury AND he doing VERY well. In six games he has 6 goals and 4 assists. Burnaby is ranked as the 15th best team amongst all CJAHL teams.

Kevin Clark and the Winnipeg South Blues won the first game in their best of 7 series for the MJHL league championship against the OCN Blizzard. Kevin assisted on the 4th goal midway through the 3rd period and accounted for 4 penalty minutes (roughing and slashing) in the game. Winnipeg is currently 6th best nationwide in the CHAHL rankings.

More as the playoffs progress.

Ouch! I've Been Dissed by Omission

So I'm cruising around the other hockey blogs and I come across this entry on the Western College Hockey Blog. I had my browser window smaller than normal so when I see the title of the entry I'm figuring ... "cool ... I'll get linked" (for the Evan Trupp entry) and as I scroll thru "mah man's" Totally Biased Linkorama entry I'm stunned to find that the homerest or homer fans doesn't make the cut? (me ... I'm the homerest of homer fans ... but you already knew that huh?) Anyway ... fuckin OUCH.

I hope I'm not being presumptious if I equate (in my case entirely unearned ... I swear... really) USCHO "gopher-hater" label with MaizeRage but I thought our mutual reputations ought to mean something. But NOOoooooooooo ... Maize dissed me big time. Fuckin OUCH.

Yeah I know it wasn't a gopher-hating entry. It wasn't even a sioux-hating entry. But it was in the best tradition of homerism.

Anyway I linked him first so I win.