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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Seawolves Sweep UAF

Paul Crowder's 3rd goal of the weekend at 5:46 of the 3rd period tonight secured an unbeaten non-conference season for UAA; the Seawolves finished 3-0-1 versus rival UAF, beat Merrimack and tied Nebraska-Omaha.

UAF forged a 2-0 lead with goals at 9:27 of the 1st from Lucas Burnett and 8:47 of the 2nd from Curtis Fraser. Up to that point it'd been a fairly evenly played game with UAA perhaps sitting back a bit more than usual. The second goal though seemed to act as a bit of a wake up call for the Seawolves and they began pressing offensively more effectively than in the first half of the game. Chad Anderson's 5th goal of the season at 12:06 of the 2nd broke the drought for UAA. Chad waited for some traffic in front of the net and buried a hard wrister past Chad Johnson from near the blueline. I'd have to go back and check but it seems to me that all of Chad's goals this season have been virtual carbon copies of each other. Keep it up Chad. I'm all good with cloning.

Chippy play was most evident throughout the 2nd period with 8 penalties called (4 on each team). Overall the weekend saw 37 penalties (19 on UAF; 18 on UAA) ... if you think it was a WCHA "even it up" referee you'd be right. Friesma though deserves some measure of credit though as none of the chippiness ever really got out of hand.

The Seawolves tied the game 2-2 when Kevin Clark took a Chris Tarkir clearing pass in neutral ice and turned on the afterburners into the UAF zone. A nifty flip of the puck to his shooting side and a step outside the defenseman was all the room Kevin needed to absolutely bury the puck in the top right corner. Prettiest goal of the night. Kevin was much more effective tonight than on Friday and seemed to have more passion all night. At one point in the 3rd period in neutral ice he was being pestered by Kyle Greentree but totally schooled him sending Kyle to the bench shaking his head while I laughed my ass off.

3 minutes and 39 seconds after Kevin's goal Crowder netted the game winner when Nils Backstrom smartly passed up a shooting opportunity to instead feed him on the right side down low. And as he did last night Paul finished very intelligently. With his brother drafted and considered a good prospect I wouldn't be the homer that I am if I didn't point out that UAA has the better Crowder. Sorry Tim. I guess you don't suck with your 2 goals this weekend but little bro is owning you so far. I haven't looked at all the stats from the weekend but Paul would seem like a strong candidate for ROTW from the WCHA.

Peter Cartwright scored his second empty net goal of the weekend at 19:18 to finish the sweep.

The most notable accomplishment out of this season's 4 games series versus UAF is that I'm pretty sure that no goalies were run this year. Pretty hard to believe in a rivalry that probably leads all of hockey in goalies getting run. The only injury of the weekend that I noticed was when I'd guess Trevor Hunt turned his ankle early in the first period tonight. I was sure he'd be done for the night but he did play a fair number of shifts in the rest of the 1st period before retiring for the evening.

A good weekend to end 2006 with a strong St. Bob team coming up. Later in the week I'll have a preview of that series that even graduates of Jan Brady State will be able to understand.

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Edit to rant:
Dear Sullivan Arena Mngt,
Your blatantly over-officious "staff" cast a shadow over the post game celebration when the team took the trophy over to the UAA Student section to thank the students and get them into the trophy picture. By making any attempt to control the miniscule number of hard core fans who were being honored by the team they support your staff has greatly offended the longest term ongoing client of your arena. Please train your staff to recognize the difference between an effusive show of support and an actual dangerous situation where their presence might be required. Not only was those particular students experience marred but now the pictures of the cup will have a couple of asses in yellow shirts.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ewe of Eh Gets An "F"

The Alaska Nanooks did their best to remove the "F" from their name at the beginning of the season but tonight they earned back the "F" with a 4-1 loss to UA Anchorage (the team that isn't ashamed of the city they live in). UAF went 1 for 8 on the power play as the Seawolf penalty killers were in excellent form all night. At 4:05 of the first, a Xmas gift of a 5 minute checking from behind major set the tone as UAA were able to match UAF's number of shots while shorthanded during the 5 minutes. Both teams pressed hard in a period that I thought was fairly intense emotionally.

Paul Crowder opened UAA's scoring with a power play goal at 1:28 of the 2nd when a softly placed pass from Chad Anderson left him alone on the doorstep. Paul hesitated just long enough to find an opening and roofed the puck over Roger's left shoulder. Prettiest goal of the night. Jay Beagle got a typical Jay Beagle goal picking up a 2nd rebound low in the slot and shoveling it behind Rogers on a power play at 6:09. That turned out to be the game winner.

Paul Crowder picked up his 2nd goal of the night on a Merit Waldrop shot from the blueline at 3:14 of the 3rd. I was fairly sure the puck took a deflection before going in and it was originally announced as Merit's goal. Would have been nice for him to be off the schneid but apparently Crowder was the one to tip it in. The even strength goal took the steam out of UAF and made the 5150 fans in attendance realize who'd won the Governor's Cup this year. With Josh Lunden off for tripping at 14:45 UAF pulled Rogers in favor of the extra attacker and Peter Cartwright's whiffed shot went right through the the massive hole in Kyle Greentree's stick into the empty net to make it 4-0 at 15:28. UAF fans left en masse at that point.

It's good to have the whole "Governor's Cup" thing over and done with. 2 of UAF's five last Governor's Cups were decided by shootout's when the season series was an overall tie. Regardless of tomorrow night's outcome UAA has won this season's series outright and there'll be no stupid shootout. Congratulations on that ... now go out tomorrow night and show the CCHA exactly what a competitive WCHA team is all about.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Randomology

So this is mostly filler and random. I don't like much when UAA plays Fairbanks. The early games this year were mostly clean but inevitably there'll be some cheap shots this weekend. And that sort of thing tarnishing a season series where UAA went undefeated against it's one and only rival would be a shame for all involved. Hopefully, it'll be a clean weekend. Going into St. Cloud after a couple of nice wins vs. UAF will give the team some confidence to play another very very important WCHA series.

On todays CSTV's Tuesday at the Rink Chat; Tavis (what's a Tavis?) MacMillan said his team won't be successful this year if Greentree doesn't get more support . I'm all about helpfulness ... so let's support them both with the following cheers this weekend eh?
Brush Your Green Teeth ... clap clap . clap clap clap
What's A Tavis? ... clap clap . clap clap clap
Pull Your Johnson ... clap clap . clap clap clap
There's all the usual stats about the series:
UAA is 72-48-9 all time.
41-19-5 in Anchorage.
I learned recently that my ancestral family motto is "Merito". With 11 assists so far this season I'd say Merit Waldrop is playing up to that motto but he deserves more than the 1 goal he's netted. I hope he loosens his grip a bit this weekend and gets a little more lucky when trying to score.

I was going to do a midseason review and give out grades and all that. But I didn't. I would have given a lot of B's and a few B-'s and maybe a B+ and C+ for this or that. The team is getting there but has played inconsistently. Getting home ice will be an overall A. But they're tied for 5th at the halfway point and there is still plenty that can be improved so only a B.

Is a week off enough to get fat and lazy? Yeah. It is.

And finally, yes ... if both UAA and UAF have good seasons at the same time there is a possibility that it could enhance both schools chances to get into the NCAA's. So that reality deserves mention along with my other points about playing these guys 4 times a year in my post about it last Wednesday. Of course I have to add that it remains more likely that one or the other or both could get nicked off a bubble as a result of the current 4/yr schedule.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Recruit Update: The 07-08 Freshman Class

Here are my profiles and up to date information about Kane Lafranchise, Winston Daychief, Brad McCabe, Jeff Carlson and Tommy Grant; next seasons incoming UAA Seawolf freshman class.

Kane Lafranchise
Defenseman 6' 1" 195lbs (Shoots Left)
Edmonton, Alberta
Turns 19 on May 27th 2007

The kid with one of the great sports names of all-time is currently in his 2nd season with the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL. In his 1st season Kane played in 60 games, scored 7 goals and added 13 assists. In his first 38 games this season he has scored 10 goals and added 19 assists more than doubling his point per game output. Interpreting the "scouting" information that is available indicates that Kane is an outstanding skater. His stats make me believe that he has become more of a team leader this season. The UAA press release regarding his signing contains the following comments from Spruce Grove coach Steve Hamilton,
"Kanie is an outstanding skater who has developed into a prominent offensive player for us this season and has played strong on both sides of the puck. He contineues to lead our defensive corps on the backend and will play an important role on our team success this year."
Coach Shyiak's comments:
“Kane is a very good puck-rushing defenseman who can jump in on the rush as well. He’s a good skater and has developed into a solid power-play point man at the Junior A level. His skating ability should aid us as we try to get more offensive production from our defense"
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Winston Daychief
Forward (RW) 6' 1" 187lbs (Shoots Right)
Standoff, Alberta
Turned 19 on November 23rd 2006

Winston is in his second year with the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the BCHL. He is currently 10th overall on the B's leader board with 20 goals and 31 assists in 37 games. Winston is another player who has doubled his point per game output from his first season. 13 of his 20 goals have come on the power play. In his first season he scored 20 goals with 23 assists in 60 games. An email from a Cowichan fan indicated that Winston is skilled, very rugged and a fan favorite. Winston will play in the BCHL All-Star game on January 17th for the Coastal Conference team. The UAA press release regarding his signing has these comments from Cowichan coach Scott Robinson;
“Winston is a very good possession player who has great touch around the net. He goes hard to the net and can play in traffic. Winston competes hard every game and plays with a tremendous amount of passion and energy."
And Coach Shyiak's comments;
“Winston has good size and has the ability to create scoring chances. He’s a good power-type player who can play both the physical and finesse game.
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Brad McCabe
Forward (Center) 6' 200lbs (Shoots Left)
Gearhart, OR
Turns 19 on July 15th 2007

Brad is in his first year of Junior A hockey with the Wasilla based Alaska Avalanche NAHL team. He scored 31 goals with 30 assists in 31 games with the Ft. Vancouver Pioneers of the North Pacific Junior Hockey League in 05-06. This season has been injury shortened and with only 16 games with the Avalanche, Brad has scored 11 goals and added 5 assists and is the team current goal scoring leader. Brad is still out of the lineup nursing a medial collateral ligament injury. It's possible he could return to the team near the end of January. When Brad signed with UAA, Avalanche coach Dean Larson had this to say:
“Brad is a great athlete who likes to win at everything. He’s a strong power forward who possesses good speed and skills. What I like best about Brad is his competitive nature. He competes every shift and wants to get better.
Coach Shyiak's comments:
“Brad is a character kid who is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Dean Larson and Corey Millen have done a great job in developing his overall game. Brad can skate, play with speed and also play physical. He will certainly fit in with the style of play we stress.”
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Jeff Carlson
Defenseman 6' 2" 200lbs
Richfield, MN
Turns 21 on May 19th 2007

Jeff is one of the two verbal committments that UAA isn't allowed to comment on. He is in his second year with the Southern Minnesota Express of the NAHL. Jeff is currently the 2nd leading scoring defenseman in the league with 9 goals and 16 assists in 32 games this season. Last year he scored 9 goals with 27 assists for the Express in 56 games. His numbers are obviously good news. Last season Jeff had interest from a couple of other WCHA teams according to Chris at the Western College Hockey blog. Apparently there was some sort of academic issue which prevented him from entering a school but all indications are that those have been resolved. Chris also indicated to me that Jeff is a "really talented player". His maturity should mean that he'll be able to step in at UAA and contribute right away. If my memory serves me he is the third UAA Seawolf with that name.
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Tommy Grant
Forward 6' 2" 175lbs (Shoots Left)
North Vancouver, BC
Turns 21 on August 21 2007

Tommy is the Westside Warriors leading scorer with 15 goals and 21 assists in 33 BCHL games. He began the season with Quesnel but was traded to Westside after 11 games. His 1.1 points per game average is nearly 3 times his output from his first two seasons in the "B" with the Victoria Salsa. 8 of his goals this season have come on the power play. Tommy is reputed to be a fast skater with a hard wrist shot (maybe "Tommy Gun" is his nickname?). Westside isn't one of the higher scoring teams in the league. His 36 points so far put him at #37 overall in the league. My interpretation is that he is a classic B.C. power forward.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

UAA/UAF: Four Games or Two?

I wrote Eric Carlson at the UAF Blog about the possibility of posting two opposing opinions about the number of games in the UAA/UAF yearly series. Due to past history I'd expected that Eric would write something in favor of continuing the 4 games while I'd advocate dropping the series to 2. Eric surprised me though as he has posted that he has had a change of heart and is now in favor of the 2 game format. At this point I've only given his post a cursory read so that I don't turn what I'm writing here into a series of agreements and/or disagreements with his points. I had my key points in mind so it's necessary (for me) to keep my process separate while I write.

The history of the rivalry includes years when the teams have played each other 2, 4, 6 and even 8 times a year. All pretty much due to the availability of scheduling other teams. In years where it is was more difficult to arrange other opponents UAA and UAF found themselves playing each other a ridiculous number of times. Since each school entered their respective new conferences though that situation hasn't really presented itself. There was a brief period where we only played twice but for whatever reason that ended 6 seasons ago and since then it's been a 4 game set. The first few years it was a bookend series with games at the beginning and end of the season. The last couple of years its been as it is now. So with all that, why does this blogger advocate cutting it back to 2 games?

For one reason only. The NCAA determines it's 16 playoff participants by comittee using a process that is objective. It takes into account many different comparisons amongst the eligible teams and calculates who the best participants would be. It's recognized as one of the most fair processes the NCAA uses but each and every year there are one or two "bubble" teams that get left out in the cold because their "numbers" lack in comparison to the bubble teams that get in. It all sounds a bit confusing and it can be. I won't attempt any sort of explanation here (note: too complicated for me to explain) but if you're interested USCHO has the most comprehensive explanations. There is one way for a school to ensure that they don't end up on the wrong side of the bubble. And that is to maximize their competition toward the goal of improving their comparisons.

Comparisons outside conference play carry a lot of weight. If UAA and UAF both have great seasons and are possible NCAA participants, playing 4 games a year could be detrimental to one or the other's comparisons depending on the results. Splitting the 4 games could doom one or both to watching from the sidelines. If one of the two teams has a great season and the other doesn't then playing 4 games could again hurt the better teams chances. Naturally, either team can avoid these situations by winning their league or league tournament. And while that is the preferred method to get to the NCAA's it is probably also the most infrequent method that UAA or UAF is likely to attain. Therefore, it is vitally important that both schools have the opportunity to maximize their comparisons by scheduling other quality non-confernce opponents. Both UAA and UAF have an advantage in scheduling that no other D-I program has. It is the exemption granted to schools for playing games in Alaska. The NCAA realizes that member schools in both Hawaii and Alaska are at a disadvantage geographically and gives an exemption against the total number of games a team can play if they schedule a contest against a school in either state. It is this rule that has made the basketball tournaments in Alaska and Hawaii popular. With the schedule exemption a lower-48 school can schedule an additonal home game and generate a nice gate for their school. It's a powerful tool that isn't fully utilized by UAA or UAF at this time.

Because of conference requirements both UAA and UAF only have a minimum number of non-conference games they can schedule. It limits the number of comparisons either school can have. Playing only twice gives both schools the flexibility they need to schedule teams that will be good for their comparisons. For example, either school could initiate a new tournament over Xmas and invite perennial powerhouses from outside their conferences. Maine, UNH, BC, BU, Michigan, Michigan St. would be likely candidates for UAA and these schools would all be interested in the exemption since an additional home date in their own arenas means big bucks. Minnesota, Wisconsin, UND, CC, DU, Maine, UNH, BC and BU would be good likely candidates for UAF and would likewise be interested. In particular this would seem to be a great option for UAF as I can't remember the last time fans in Fairbanks were lucky enough to see any of the above WCHA opponents in their rink.

Playing 4 games a year is an obsolete idea that must go. With both programs on an upswing that will increase their possibilities for NCAA post season play, neither school can afford to continue to beat themselves up against each other for nothing other than a trophy that a Governor of Alaska hasn't ever actually touched. Stop the insanity!

Monday, December 18, 2006

One Year EXTRAVAfuckinGANZA

On December 18th of last year I made my first post: 365 days later you get to read this gem. The excitement is palpable no? This is one of the few posts that I'm starting days (and days) before posting it so that I can make sure I get everything into it that occurs to me about the last year of blogging about UAA Seawolf Hockey.

First I want to give some shout outs to regular readers. I get some strange hits from time to time on my counter. How folks end up here from Khazakstan, Bogota, Cape Town or Punjab is a mystery to me. It almost certainly had nothing to do with the subject of this blog. There are a few regulars though that for whatever reason come back very regularly that I always notice. There's Guam. That's right. I have a Guamanian reader. I've always wanted to find a way to work "Guamanian" into a sentence and now I've done it twice. The posting fireworks are just beginning! I know from USCHO's fan forum (hereafter referred to as "crazytown") that my Guamanian reader is indeed a Seawolf fan. Another unusually located reader is from Shreveport and he sometimes posts over at crazytown. My Who 'Dat Tigers? post was a sort of shoutout. And yeah I know Shreveport ain't necessarily LSU country it was all I could come up with at that moment. At least it was a Louisianna reference.

I've either got at least one person's attention in Stockholm and he or she either uses 4 or 5 different computers or I've got multiple readers from there. I'm going with the multiple people theory. I like to see the hits from Mainuhs. I assume those are fans that like to see how Campbell Blair is getting along. Of course there's a boatload of folks reading this stuff in Canadia (Port Coquitlam, Winnipeg, Victoria, Mission, Burnaby, Port Moody, Vancouver, Kamloops, Kelowna, Whitehorse, Calgary, Edmonton etc ...). I'm just happy the language barrier isn't a problem for them. When the Canadian National team played here (quite a few years ago) in an exhibition vs. UAA we decided to sing "Oh Canada" since nobody else was (just being courteous). Everyone looked at us like we were from Mars. I'd imagine that Anchorage is one of the few places (outside of Canadia) where you can spend Canadian quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies just like they were real money. How cool is that? Everyone up here takes them (except for banks). I tried to pass a Canadian quarter in Denver once and pizza delivery guy looked at me like I was crazy ... so I popped a real one into his hand and he gave me the Canadian one back then he walked away shaking his head like I was some sort of counterfeiting terrorist. Denver is "crazytown" part deux. I have other regular readers from college hockey hotbeds D.C., Chicago, Toronto, and Sarasota.

Next up are the readers from WCHA region. And to them I just say ... yeah I hate your teams and if I can get a laugh doggin them or your locale ... then hey ... I'm gonna take a shot. It's all just in the tradition of competitive fandom (whatever that is ... I just made the phrase up). Outside of that context I wouldn't waste any of my time thinking (much less writing) about your various crappy towns. My sense of my audience tells me that my readers do "get" that. I'll continue to be both irreverent and disrespectful as I see fit. I'll continue to look at the team I support, share my thoughts and perspective. I'm all good with you reading and commenting here. If you're a regular reader and you haven't really checked out the comments sections you should do so. There's often humorous stuff there.

Of course most of the hits on the blog come from right here in Anchorage: but finishing a strong second place is Fairbanks. They know what it's like to be second to Anchorage so that's comforting.

Now onto some numbers. 27,381 total visits with 32,330 page views in the year. Quite a bit more than I would have thought when I started this. I watched the traffic regularly all through the year and I think it was in August or so that I started having a race with RWD over at RunningWiththeDogs. It is exactly the kind of race that most all of us have had at one time or another in our car. You're driving down the highway and everytime you begin to speed up just to get some distance between you and the guy in the next lane (just in case you might want to change lanes) he seems to speed up. It's on. Now you're racing the guy (he doesn't know it of course). That's the sort of race I've had with her. The only stat I know of hers is her total hits. In August she was a solid 4,500 or so page hits ahead of me. But during the past few months when she's been happily toddling along doing her usual thing I've been hard at work increasing my readership through strategic and tactical means that I simply can't describe here (DG posting hoaxes and getting linked on Fark.com brought in about 1500 over a couple of days). It's hard to lose especially when you didn't know you were racing. But RWD is a good loser. I hope.

The chart below comes from my counter site and shows the growth of readership over the past year. When I first hit 1000 reads a month in April I thought, "Cool" but in September I got to the 1000 a week threshold. DG's bogus-osity made the first 1000 per day. I doubt that will happen again anytime soon.


The next chart is a monthly view from November 18th to December 18th. The first peaks are in and around the week(end) that UAA swept UND.

Here's the 5 posts I've made in the last year that I'm most proud of:

1. The Pinnacle and The Rest of Us
2. Language and "Islmo-Fascism"
3. Coming to Anchorage?
4. Dickensian inspired trilogy about C.O.A.R. (Craphole On A River)
5. God Does Not Play Dice

Here's a few quality adjective strings to have sprung from a neverending adjective factory deep in my noodle:

"I'd imagine part of being a freshman on a WCHA team is a sort of deer-in-the-headlights glaze that's got to come over you a time or two playing in some of the road arenas in this league. Whether it's 10,000 automaton-prairie-susies (and it's thousands of images of a decapitated aboriginal adorning the Italian marble) interrupting the national anthem with their "and the home of the Siouuuuuuuuxxxx" crap; or the redundant spelling lesson from apparently repressed elementary school teachers escaping their corporate responsibilites at the Mariucci (hows that go? M-i-n-i-s-o-d-a?); or when the inevitable result of beer, brats and way too much cheddar in Madtown turns out to be cheerleading???; or even the beer induced rabble from St. Nothingelsetodoville overstuffed into a concrete mausoleum causing all the Polaris satin jackets to rub together and chirp like crickets; they're all distracting enough to make a rookies eyes go "What the fuck?"
"Hundreds of other D-1 players toil in near total anonymity getting little or no scholarship money but showing up for practice and standing ready to play whenever asked by their coaches. Without kids like these making personal committments to their teams (without any chance at glory) and donating their blood and sweat to the effort; D-1 hockey would be lessened in my eyes."
"in all this apparent fit of "dysfunctional gopher-love" is that UAA's only goal this weekend as a team should be ..."

"I'd think of every single metaphor for and example of great sports upsets. I'd pull Knute Rockne out of my ass."

And then there's always the SCSU inspired comments I've made:
"I have some advice; (It's the same sort of thing I would say to any miserable trailer-park fudge packer raised by monkeys) ..."
"The abyss of your stupidity apparently knows no bounds. You and your pre-menstrual concubine are pretty much the only 2 SCSU fans devoid of reasoning faculties."
"The secondary benefit of twisting your pink panties is just a bonus provided for real SCSU fans that already know what an insipid little tool you are."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Potpourri

Ok. Three things in this post. First, the blog swap. Then, the weekend. Last, attendance. Thanks to DG for participating in the blog swap. His approach may have ruffled a feather or two but readers of this blog had to be entertained I'd think. I tried to entertain the DU folks in my own way and hopefully both of us will gain a few of each others readers. DG mentioned to me in an email that he thought we should make it an annual thing. I'll sure consider that but I don't know that swapping when UAA and DU were playing was the optimal situation. Maybe the scheduling gods will present us with a sweet chance next year; maybe DU will play CC the same weekend UAA plays UAF. That might be interesting. In any case, I'll defer that choice until another time. For now anyway I'll continue to hold the rudder here and leave DG to captain his vessel. Well done DG.

Disappointing is the only way to characterize the weekend. I'm certainly not disappointed in any of the effort. On Friday, the undermanned Seawolves played with courage and heart and were in the game until the end. They all deserve respect for that. On Saturday, UAA pretty much owned the Pio's (except for a disjointed 1st period). The guys showed both their talent and hard work. They bombarded the DU net and came up against a junior goaltender who's coach said "played the best game of his career". If Mannino had been average UAA could have won the game 6-1. But that didn't happen. 4 WCHA points went by the wayside. MTU is tied with UAA for 5th; UND and Wisconsin are breathing down our necks. The second half will be nothing but exciting and interesting as the team fights for their first ever WCHA home ice series. And don't for a second think it will be anything less than a fight. Bucky is the defending national champs and UND is a perennial Frozen Four participant; their coaches will have them ready. The Seawolves will need points EVERY weekend from now til the end of the regular season.

Now to answer DG's post about attendance. I won't be too hard on him but he makes some points that must be addressed. His post grew from a discussion in the UAA/DU thread this week on USCHO's fan forum (starts at post#205). Of course, this isn't the first time you've read about attendance on this blog. Just a little over a week ago I posted some thoughts about ticket pricing after seeing only 3700 people in the stands. This weekend? 3300 on Friday and 3700 on Saturday. Disappointing but somewhat expected. Holiday attendance is never great. But that's only a small part of the picture. I think we all know that a winning team will put butts in the seats. I think it's best if I take some of DG's points (and the ones made on USCHO) and address them individually.
"From listening to the UAA fans over the past couple of years, the Aces have grabbed the lead in the Anchorage market by winning and aggressively marketing. Most Athletic Departments are very weak in marketing and are more interested in fund raising and meeting budgets. DU and the Colorado Avalanche have a great relationship that includes players, administrators and coaches that have ties to both organizations.

If I was at UAA I'd be looking at ways to work with the Aces to develop junior hockey, get a first class facility built and build the hockey fan base in Alaska."
First let me say that developing junior hockey locally and UAA's attendance "woes" have no relationship whatever to each other. The two junior hockey teams in Alaska already face serious issues in their league due to location. They also play in a league who has a fairly high number of teams that are facing financial issues of their own and who's President was recently relieved of his duties unceremoniously during a weekly conference call. As entertaining and useful as having NAHL franchises in Alaska it must be noted that the league is second tier. The USHL, BCHL and AJHL are all a clear cut above the NAHL. Take a look at Chris Heisenberg's recruit list and you'll see where Division I schools primarily recruit players. It isn't the NAHL. Sure a good player here and there (even more than just a few) come out of that league. But the hard truth is that the best young players go elsewhere for juniors. DG may have been referrring to development of junior teams as some sort of way to increase hockey interest overall and thereby generate interest locally. That may have been an issue in Colorado where junior development over the last decade has begun paying dividends at the D-I level but Anchorage has a LONG history as a great hockey town as well as a long history of providing talent to D-I. It's a metric that simply doesn't apply here.

As to associations between the Aces and UAA. The Aces were born out of the desire of former UAA players to continue playing competitive hockey. So in reality the Aces owe their existence to UAA. From their inception former UAA (and UAF) players have been important assets to them. While there is no official relationship between the two entities there are some mutual behind the scenes interests that combine. From what I've seen though the Aces are historically a hit or miss operation. Unless they're competitive in the sense of having a chance to win a championship then they suffer the same attendance issues. Let's not forget they were for sale on Ebay just a couple of years ago and if not for an NHL lockout wouldn't likely have won the championship. Not to demean them in any way but can anyone say they'll even be here some years from now? UAA Hockey will be.

I stopped going to Aces games several years ago for one primary reason. It wasn't my kind of environment. First they have an asshat of an announcer that quite simply annoyed the piss out of me. Second, the fan base at Aces and Seawolf games is distinctly different. The Aces attract the white male 21-50 demagraphic that wants to pound a few beers back while watching some fights. As I mentioned in my ticket pricing post the UAA demagraphic is families. By no means are all Aces fans so inclined but more than enough are to define the environment as such. I saw a suggestion from a UAA fan on the USCHO board that mentioned amping up our announcer in some way a la the Aces. Horseshit. Lyle Woods does a perfect job. The WCHA has NO interest in having anything like a Bob "The Knob" Lester in it's rinks. I've been going to UAA games since 1984. If Bob Lester became the announcer tomorrow (mind you its never gonna happen) I'd quit going to UAA games .002 seconds after the announcement. The same poster on USCHO made a number of other suggestions that he felt would better the environment at UAA games; most of which lean toward creating more "excitement" for the fans. Back in the day (when UAA sold out regularly and was in the top 5 attendance-wise in the NCAA) there were zero such circus-like promotions. People came to the rink because it was "the place" to be. It was a mini-Mariucci where people came just as much to socialize as to watch hockey. Having better entertainment between periods or fancy light shows is all fine though; no reason not to try to improve those things if they need improving. But it ain't gonna put more butts in the seats. All that crap is just an aside. The core product is hockey. I don't choose a steak restaurant based on who has the better long island ice tea or better dessert menu. I choose it based on the quality of the meat being served.

There is no doubt that UAA's student attendance is the worst in the WCHA. Student tickets are free and anyone taking 6 credits or more can get free parking. So why don't the students come? The school is a bit of an odd duck in the WCHA. It's not a school whose primary student population lives on campus. The primary student population at UAA comes from Anchorage. Anchorage kids that choose UAA don't need on-campus housing. They live at home with mom and dad. They already have a schedule filled with social obligations and getting them to the UAA games is going to be a challenge until the arena campus is finally built. Do you think commuter students at DU go to the games? Nope. They do the things that have always interested them in their hometown. I have no doubt the student demagraphic at Magness is kids that came to DU from out of town. I base that statement on the fact that when school isn't in session the Magness has LOTS of empty seats (as do many other WCHA schools).

I haven't been to a non-hockey UAA sporting event in quite a long time. It is my impression though that quite a few hockey players have. I hope their peers have likewise attended the hockey games. Perhaps there is an opportunity to for co-marketing. Give a hundred free tickets to a sports center basketball game away at hockey games. Give a hundred free hockey tickets away at basketball games. This sort of crossover attendance could help build both fanbases. It's a suggestion that isn't by any means going to fill the Sully but an attempt to expose the fans of one sport to the other can't hurt.

So what is going to fill the Sully? I think the only solution is winning. This town's sports fans (as is true in most cities) are fickled. They want to see a winner. They'll respond to a winning team by purchasing tickets. Thats just how it is. I guarantee that if the Seawolves manage to secure a home ice playoff spot that the Sully will be full. If they do and the arena doesn't sell out I'll wear long pants. It's useful to note here that if UAA sold out every home game (6200) that they'd rank about 7th nationally. Think the Sully would only have 3300 people in it if UAA were ranked 7th in weekly polls? Methinks not. Winning cures many things.
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Note: Unless there's important news I'll be posting very little this week. You can expect a recruit update and a mid-season report card in the next seven days but otherwise I'll be on a mid-season break of sorts prior to coming back to preview the UAA/UAF series. In the meantime I'd like to reiterate something I posted back in September. It's an open invitation to anyone interested in UAA Hockey or with a differing perspective on anything I've written to email it to me and I'll post it here. You could be a parent with an embarassing or heartwarming story. Perhaps a remote fan or ex-player with an opinion. Even just someone that thinks I'm always full of shit. Send me something eh? Thanks.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Fight Left In Seawolves

by: dggoddard
LetsGoDU.Blogspot.com

DU wins 2-0 in an exciting game tonight (exciting for DU fans anyway). I'm sure Donald will have the postmortem in the morning.

Its time for me to go back to LetsGoDU. Thanks to all the great Seawolf fans and especially to Donald. It was a fun week. Especially the "Great Alaska Tryout Hoax." Good luck to the Seawolves the rest of the way. I hope they get home ice this season and make some noise in the playoffs.

So its Good Bye & Good Night from me to you via YouTube.
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UAA Needs To Address Attendence Woes


by: dggoddard
LetsGoDU.BlogSpot.com
As one of my DU buddies noted this week, "Its starting to sound like as many people hate you in Alaska as North Dakota. Good job."
So without further ado, we'll try and start some dialogue on what its going to take to bring UAA into the elite of the WCHA.

UAA Fan: I love how our tightfisted, dumbass athletic department does almost nothing to promote this team and find ways to effectively put people in the stands.

dg: UAA Fan raises an interesting question and I'm sure the solutions are very complex. I think that "calling out" the UAA Athletic Department is both fair and warranted. Somebody has to take responsibility for the empty seats and the fact that the program hasn't hosted a home playoff series since joining the WCHA.

It seems like you finally have a coach who "gets it," so that is the first and most important step.

From listening to the UAA fans over the past couple of years, the Aces have grabbed the lead in the Anchorage market by winning and aggressively marketing. Most Athletic Departments are very weak in marketing and are more interested in fund raising and meeting budgets. DU and the Colorado Avalanche have a great relationship that includes players, administrators and coaches that have ties to both organizations.
If I was at UAA I'd be looking at ways to work with the Aces to develop junior hockey, get a first class facility built and build the hockey fan base in Alaska.
Someone told a story this month on the USCHO message board of hockey coach Shawn Walsh arriving at Maine and walking around the dorms and cafeterias with a bullhorn challenging the students to attend the games and make noise.
There are so many things the UAA Alumni, students and supporters of the program can also do to help the program. The only limits are your imagination. This DU report was submitted to the University of Nebraska Omaha's Athletic Department this week and it offers many ideas to build bonds between the athletic teams and the community.
These are only my ideas and suggestions. If you have other ideas, suggestions or thoughts post them below. If you think I'm full of crap, let me have it. Like I tell the DU fans "I'm a resource, use me." ;-)
UAA's Brave Effort Falls Short

From: UAA Athletics Website

(left) Merit Waldrop - Photo Michael Dineen

Box Score

ANCHORAGE – While six of UAA's best fighters watched from the stands, the boys left on the squad put up a heroic effort before falling to Denver 4-2 on Friday night. The game hung in the balance tied at 2-2 until the two late goals by the Pioneers tilted the contest.

Two Pioneers goals in the final 5:25 of regulation extended its unbeaten streak in Anchorage to nine games.

UAA, who hadn’t lost on the first night of a two-game series since early November, played with just three forward lines and just 15 skaters due to the suspension of six regulars from last Saturday’s fight at Colorado College.

The Seawolves scored the game’s first goal at the 4:38 mark of the second when junior defenseman Luke Beaverson powered a hard wrister in from the left circle. The power-play goal was the first of Beaverson’s career and his fourth overall this season.

Senior Justin Bourne collected his team-best 20th point of the season with the first assist while junior Merit Waldrop tallied the second assist. Waldrop’s assist extended his current point-scoring streak to five games.

Denver would answer with a pair of late goals in the period from Brock Trotter and Rhett Rakhshani on the power play, to take a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.

The momentum swung back UAA’s way in the third when sophomore defenseman Mat Robinson would strike for his first goal of the year with a wrist shot from the low slot at 6:25 of the period. Josh Lunden fed a pass from across the crease to a waiting Robinson at the right post who lifted the puck over DU goalie Glenn Fisher’s shoulder.

Freshmen Josh Lunden and Paul Crowder tallied assist on Robinson’s goal.

Denver would regain its edge when a Ryan Dingle shot would bounce off UAA freshman goalie Jon Olthuis’ pads at the 14:35 mark, making the score 3-2. Olthuis got his pads on the initial shot but the puck jumped up and over his shoulder before falling into the net.

Tyler Ruegsegger added an insurance goal for DU at 18:16.

Olthuis made 28 saves in his third career start for the Seawolves, including making 11 in the first period and 10 in the second.

Denver goalie Glenn Fisher, who came into the game owning the top save percentage in the WCHA (.928), made 26 saves for his eighth victory of the season.

Each team scored on the power play with UAA going 1-for-3 and DU 1-for-4.

The Pioneers outshot the ‘Wolves 32-28, but UAA held an 11-9 edge in the final frame.

The Seawolves were whistled for a season-low eight penalty minutes one week after committing a season-high 108 minutes worth of penalties.

Friday, December 15, 2006

How To Beat The Pioneers

What good is having the DU blogger ruin you're blog, unless you can milk him for information and find out how to defeat his team. Since Coach Shyiak is probably busy with the "walk-ons" right now, I guess we can slip you a few juicy nuggets.

Four or five weeks ago DU switched Penalty Kill strategies and the payoff was immediate. The Pioneers turned in a 12-for-12 effort on the penalty kill last weekend and remained unbeaten at 5-0-1 when holding opponents without a power-play goal. It appears that DU lets you play with the puck around the edges uncontested, but ferociously block shots and swarm the puck when you move in.

DU basically stinks on the Power Play. Losing Carle, Skinner, Stastny & Gauthier over the past two seasons will do that. Those guys were exceptional puck handlers and could control errant passes and skipping pucks. DU's power-play improved to 14.9% (20-for-139) after last weekend's 4-for-18 (22.2%) effort. DU is 8-3-2 when scoring on the power play. The Pioneers have tallied at least one power-play goal in eight of their last nine games.

Wanna beat DU, stop Ryan Dingle. Dingle not only is an awesome player but he possesses what all great players seem to have. He can elevate his game in the last two minutes of a period, when DU falls behind or is on a "must score" Power Play. He leads DU in goals (15), power-play goals (7), game-winning goals (3) and shorthanded goals (2). He also led the Pioneers in all four categories last season.

Senior Glenn Fisher (.928 Sv%) and Peter Mannino (.906 Sv%) have held opponents to three goals or less in 13 of the last 14 games.

Pioneer freshmen led by Brock Trotter (20 pts.), Tyler Ruegsegger (17 pts.), Rhett Rakhshani (15 pts.), Keith Seabrook (7 pts.) & Brian Gifford (7 pts.) accounted for 48% of DU's scoring points.

Senior captain Adrian Veideman (concussion) and senior forward Ryan Helgason (hand) are out for the second consecutive weekend with injuries. Rumor has it that Veideman may return on Saturday, but I'll bet against it. He's a warrior, but why mess around with a concussion.

So there you have it. Score on the Power Play and stop Ryan Dingle.

UAA Fan Blog Is Going Public

For any UAA Students interested in getting rich quickly, the best thing you can do is to invest in an internet startup. We know of no finer investment than "UAA Fan Blog" [NYSE Symbol: UAAF] which will be having an IPO next Monday. This little company is on the move with sales, webhits & links going through the roof.

Don't miss out on this exciting investment opportunity. Shares are priced at $ .o5 so for the cost of a pizza and a coke you can own 300 shares of one of Amerca's must dynamic companies.

To request a prospectus or for more information call the investment firm of King, Cook & Butler at (303) 555-4638.

Disclaimer: Past results are not an indicator of future performance (This years UND Hockey Team is a perfect example)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

UAA Needs Three Good Men

In order to field a full roster UAA is looking for three UAA students to suit up on Friday night against Denver.

Dave Shyiak will be holding open tryouts tonight at 5 PM in Sullivan Arena. Students must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and have a GPA over 2.5. To be eligible, you must never have played collegiate hockey or professionally, including major junior hockey.
Thursday: Daily Fight Report

From: Colorado Springs Gazette
by Kate Crandall

Colorado College co-captains Brandon Straub and Lee Sweatt said Tuesday they don’t know what prompted the brawl after CC’s win over Alaska-Anchorage on Saturday at World Arena (Liar, Liar pants on fire. They know, they just ain't saying).

“I was on the boards celebrating (rubbing it in) with the rest of the crew,” Sweatt said. “As soon as I started to go to shake hands, there was nobody there, it was already a big melee. I saw gloves flying and fists flying, when you see a few other guys surrounding your player, your emotions get going and your instincts (to find the smallest UAA player to attack) to protect your teammates get going.”

Added Straub: “It grew a little too fast and got a little out of control (Translation: We were surprised UAA fought back).”

Straub’s right (punching) wrist was in a cast, but he said it was not broken or injured Saturday.

“I hurt it a month ago (but it was completely headed until Saturday night),” he said. “We have holiday break, so I figured I’d rest it in a hard cast until Bemidji State (to better to punch Bemidji players with a hard cast).”

Straub, Sweatt and three other Tigers players will serve one-game suspensions against Bemidji State on Dec. 29. CC also will be without forward Billy Sweatt, who will be at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships in Sweden.

Anchorage denied

Anchorage’s appeal to the NCAA to stagger six players’ one-game suspensions for this weekend’s series against No. 12 Denver was denied Monday, Western Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner Bruce McLeod said.

Anchorage appealed on the grounds of player safety. The Seawolves have three extra players to fill the six spots, leaving them with fewer players on the bench for Friday’s game.

“We lobbied that there was past precedent for it prior to my tenure,” McLeod said. “But there’s a different group of people on the NCAA rules committee now.”
UAA Seawolves: Santa's Team

I don't know if there's a thousand closet UAA fans on the internet or a thousand Santa fans, but yesterday we broke the Alaska college hockey blog record with 970 visits. I suspect that the people in the "Lower 48" get concerned that Santa may hand out all the good presents before making it down to the mainland.

UAA Fan Blog: Thanks for talking to us.

Santa: Its a busy time of the year, but I'm never too busy to talk a little college hockey.

UAA Fan Blog: How long have you been a UAA fan

Santa: Me & the Misses have had UAA season tickets since the '80s. They're the local team and we support them.

UAA Fan Blog: Why suspend the "Seawolf Six" from Christmas?

Santa: Personally I like a good hockey fight. However, the elves get too excited and they start wailing on each other, mimicking the fights, and the production line breaks down. I had to put my foot down.

UAA Fan Blog: What are you giving Dave Shyiak for Christmas?

Santa: Two Blue Chipper Recruits and some depth on the blue line.

UAA Fan Blog: What are you getting some of the other WCHA Coaches?

Santa: Lemme see...Don Lucia, a new Flowbee. Jamie Russell at Tech, a new Power Play strategy book. Dave Hakstol wanted his kids not to jump to the NHL, but all his players asked for an NHL contract, so I don't know how I'm going to resolve that one. Scotty Owens at CC wants some players who know how to fight, since they got whupped pretty good last weekend.

UAA Fan Blog: Thanks again. Will you be at the games this weekend against Denver?

Santa: Wouldn't miss it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa Suspends Six Seawolves

North Pole, Alaska - Santa Claus held his annual "Naughty & Nice" Press Conference today and as expected 6 UAA Seawolves and 5 Colorado College players were included on the list for fighting (photos link) after last week's game.

Santa said, "I've looked at the tape and am comfortable with the fact that we've nabbed all the perps."

Santa added, "If this had happened in February or March, perhaps the boys could have worked their way off the list, but there just isn't enough time when you pull a stunt like this in December."

Responding to a question from Doyle Woody Santa noted, "We considered staggering the suspensions over two Christmas' but the rules are pretty clear."

Under the long standing tradition people on the "Naughty List" do not receive Christmas presents and have to go to the end of the line at the Christmas Lunch Buffet. O.J. Simpson has the longest current streak on the "Naughty List" with 12 straight appearances.

Santa's UAA "Naughty List"

Chris Tarkir (Fighting)
Chad Anderson (Fighting)
Jay Beagle (Fighting)
Blair Tassone (Fighting)
Mark Smith (Fighting)
Kevin Clark (Fighting)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Olthuis Named WCHA Rookie of the Week

UAA goaltender Jon Olthuis, who backstopped the Seawolves to an overtime conference road victory over nationally-ranked Colorado College in his first league start last Friday night, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week.

A 6-3, 196-pound freshman from Neerlandia, Alberta, stopped 44 of 48 shots on goal in visiting UAA's 5-4 overtime victory over the eighth-ranked CC Tigers on Dec. 8 to earn his first collegiate victory. He blanked the Tigers on all 10 of their power-play chances, had save totals of 17 in the first period, 12 in the second, 13 in the third and two in overtime while recording a .917 saves percentage. In addition, Olthuis assisted on teammate Josh Lunden's game-opening goal at 3:45 of the first period.

Alaska Anchorage, sporting a 8-6-2 overall record and 6-6-0 mark in WCHA play so far this season, returns home this week to play host to league rival Denver in a two-game series at Sullivan Arena.
The Team That Stole Our Name Fades Before Xmas

From: Fairbanks Daily News

by Danny Martin

This is billed as a joyous time of the year, especially when there is no joy for the Alaska Nanooks hockey team. Saturday night’s dismal 6-4 loss to Bowling Green State University at the Carlson Center, ended a nine-game losing streak for the Falcons.

The 19th-ranked Nanooks aren’t going home for the holidays with happy faces. Instead, they’re heading on a two-week break with losses in three of their last four games and with a 5-4-3 league and 7-5-4 overall mark for a sixth-place tie with Ohio State in the Central Michigan Hockey Association standings.

The Nanooks visit Alaska Anchorage at Sullivan Arena on Dec. 29-30 for the final two games of this season’s Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup series.

The Seawolves’ eight wins are two more than they had all of last season and half of this season’s wins came against nationally-ranked Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponents.

Tuesday: Daily Fight Report

KRDO in Colorado Springs is reporting that the WCHA will review the suspensions today. So far, six UAA and five CC players were handed game disqualification penalties and must sit out the next game.

The Colorado Springs Gazette is reporting that the UAA suspensions may be staggered due to the Seawolf injury situation.
Destination: Anchorage, Alaska

by: dggoddard
LetsGoDU.blogspot.com

Anchorage native Matt Carle gives us a video tour of the city and points out the best fishing spots to land King Salmon.


Go Seawolves

Monday, December 11, 2006

Things Bloggers Don't Want You To Know

by: dggoddard
LetsGoDU.blogspot.com

I've spent the last hour researching "All Things UAA" and I think I've got a handle on how things work around here on the UAA Hockey Fan Blog. Donald is driving my Ferrari and I'm stuck with his Chevy Nova.

This might be a good time to crack back at Donald, while I've got control of his Blog. My buddy CO14ers tells this funny story of visiting Donald in Anchorage last year when DU was in town. Long story short, 14ers had a Denver Boone Poster (our former school logo/mascot). Anyway, after the game Donald wouldn't allow the poster in his car and insisted that the it go in the trunk. Of course, this being Alaska and not Colorado, the truck was frozen shut. Boone rode in the car...

OK, back to my award winning hockey coverage. Today, I started getting lots of hits on my Ferarri...errr...DU Blog about Phil Kessel. Most Bloggers have a "Site Meter" which tells us how people find us (Google, USCHO or other Link). Anyway the Site Meter was going crazy with Phil Kessel hits. I decided to check out the Boston Globe website just to see if anything was up with Phil. Sure enough he is taking a Leave of Absence from the team while he attends to a "medical issue."

Of course the Kessel family asked for privacy, forgetting that millions of dollars are wagered on NHL hockey games every night. What do you want to bet that there's some bookmaker walking around Boston General in scrubs looking for Phil's charts right now?

Lets Go Seawolves

There's A New Sheriff In Town

By: dggoddard
LetsGoDU.blogspot.com

About two months ago Donald and I discussed the possibility of "Swapping Blogs" during the DU-UAA series. To tell the truth I thought he said "Swapping Wives" and since I wasn't married, thought it would be a great idea. At the time I was confident that DU would be in first place, Paul Stastny would be leading the WCHA in scoring, UAA would be deep in the basement with Dave Shyiak looking for employment on Don Lucia's coaching staff.

Well the big week is upon us and as a man of my word we have now "traded blogs."

I'm looking forward to writing this week and hopefully I won't run Donald's beautifully written blog into the ground with tasteless jokes and elementary hockey knowledge.

Lets Go Seawolves

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Best Player in College Hockey

I've been pouring through stats and rosters quite a bit this season. There are several things I think I've noticed. I posted my freshman "batting average" in the WCHA (and I'll recalculate that again later in the season) because there quite simply are a lot of WCHA freshman performing really well. I also took a look a couple of weekends ago at the league using the "points lost" model. Those were both interesting to see I thought. This weekend watching games and looking at stats left me with two things in mind to write about. I've always liked when a "little guy" performs well, so in the next couple of days I'll post something about the WCHA's "little guys". But tonight after seeing the word "Hobey" here and there I thought I'd give my impression of who the best player in college hockey is this year. I have no idea if he is currently a Hobey Baker award "candidate"; I don't follow that during the year. Like most people I just wait to hear who they gave it to at the end of the season.

I've seen the Gophers play pretty much everytime they've been on FSN this year. Wooger's "thousand yard stare" did put me to sleep in my recliner during at least one of those games. But I think what I've seen out of Tyler Hirsch leaves no doubt in my mind that he must be the best player in college hockey. Ok. I haven't seen "so and so" from LahDeDah State or "Prescott Winthorpe" from GenericIvy College. I'm way out west and way up north. But I simply can't imagine that there is a player anywhere in the country that plays as elegantly as Tyler. Lemme 'splain what I mean by elegantly.

The kid has passed up I don't know how many legitimate (including more than just a few gimme's) scoring opportunities to pass the puck to someone else. He's been benched twice for a total of 4 games and yet he is currently 3rd in scoring among WCHA players ( and his 1.57pts/game puts him near the top 5 nationally). He sees the ice better than ANY other player on the sheet. He makes delicately tight sweet little passes. He is obviously unselfish. I really haven't noticed one way or another if the kid backchecks effectively. If you're a defenseman approaching Tyler on the rink and his head is up you might as well not even bother trying to get to him. Before you do the puck is going to be on someone else's stick for a scoring chance. That's what I mean by elegant (and the crowd will have their breath taken away). There's no doubt in my mind he is the best player on the Gopher's team this season (yeah yeah ... Okposo, and Barriball and blah blah ... they're freshman ... they don't have near the seasoning and smarts that Tyler shows ... what about Wheeler? Well ... he's a prototypical NHL bound power forward but can't hold a candle to Tyler in terms of talent. So yeah ... Tyler is the best player on the Gophers). And with them being the best team in D-1 then it will be nothing short of a ripoff if Tyler Hirsch doesn't get awarded the Hobey.

*He doesn't qualify for my All-WCHA Little Guy team; he's an inch too tall.

Ticket Pricing Changes

In a surprising move this past Friday, UAA Athletics announced that this week for the UAA/DU series that advance purchase of group tickets would be available. The pricing is without a doubt absolutely incredible. 10 tickets for 30 bucks. 3 dollars apiece. Every non-season ticket holder planning to attend in a group of 3 or more can save some money. Very nice. I have no idea if my bitch about ticket pricing last Monday was in any manner related to this latest change. It is gratifying if that is the case.

So there's three of ya going and you're sposed to buy 10 tickets? Sure. Why not. Give the other 7 away to people you think might like to go. Give the other 7 away out front. Hell, it'd be legal to sell the other 7 out front for 3 bucks each. Of course, the best thing would be to find 9 other people to go with. If you buy the 10 pack just try to make sure that some extra butts come to the arena. It'd sure be nice to have the place mostly filled up. This team was 90 seconds away from being ranked in the top 15 in the NCAA. If they'd beaten or tied CC on Saturday they almost certainly would have cracked the polls. Take advantage of this pricing now and let your friends know.
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!!Fight Pictures!!
For those of you who want to see some pictures you can follow this link to a CC fan's Yahoo photo portfolio. The first fight picture is number 147. I've posted #148 below.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mozart Would Be Proud

Two hockey games in Colorado Springs turned into opera's this weekend. We had some cannonade style action with both teams scoring goals via volley. There was a distinctively palpable rollercoasting aroma of fortune and fate. Momentum gained and suddenly lost. There were not one but two dramatic comebacks to force overtime. There were heroes on both sides and even a clown interjecting himself. And the weekend culminated in a final great crescendo of passion. What else could you want?

A split with a good team has some satisfaction but (and I bet you knew there'd be a but) it's greatly tempered by the interference call on UAA with a little over 90 seconds left in the game. Whatever. Some dipshit referee decides he'd like to have an impact instead of letting the players decide the game on the ice. Nothing you can do about it. We've seen across the league an increase in the tendency of linesmen to make calls. It was part of the points of emphasis that linesman would be required to make certain calls. I obviously didn't see the game but will stipulate that the "Too Many Men" call is one of those that linesman should be calling. Sure ... even in OT. But less than 20 seconds after killing that; referee "Mozart" Hunt hits the Seawolves with an "interference" penalty (when players are contesting the puck on a face off)? It wasn't the first "interference" penalty like that Hunt called on the night (at 16:36 of the 3rd period Billy Sweat of CC was called for "interference" on an almost identical situation during a faceoff). UAA scored on that power play to tie the game. But like I said ... whatever. It's not the first time in the WCHA that a ref has interjected himself like a clown in an opera and it won't be the last.

I noticed during the game that I was hearing three names in situations where I hadn't before. Peter Cartwright, Nick Lowe and Chris Tarkir either got themselves mentioned frequently through their outstanding playmaking or they were getting more ice time. But it sure seemed to me that they all killed penalties regularly and had regular PP shifts. We've mostly been seeing Beagle, Lunden, Crowder, Clark, Bourne and Kronschnabel. There's was bound to be some shuffling with Kronschnabel out injured and I was please to hear Tassone and Corrin's names often and on positive play. In any case, I think Peter Nick and Chris deserved a well done for their efforts. I'll go ahead and guess (since the box score isn't up yet) that Blair will probably be one player that will likely not be playing against DU this next Friday. It was his love for opera that filled him with the passion of a brawler tonight and our buddy "Mozart" Hunt is probably still pouring over the replays putting his final touches on his masterpiece. It's too bad our WCHA Mozart has none of the subtly of the real one.

It's 8:31pm here and there still is no boxscore posted.

Still no boxscore @ 8:59 ...

Ok ... 9:18pm and finally there's a boxscore.

The Seawolves received 6 Fighting Majors and 6 Game Disqualifications for the "passion" at the end of tonight's opera. Not playing the in the next UAA game will be: Tarkir, Anderson, Beagle, Tassone, Smith, And Clark. 5 CC players received the same penalties. I'll be looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Oh "Me" of Little Faith

When your opponent has fought back from a 4-0 deficit and had a goal waved off late in the game you're just glad your going to overtime. Then when your play is lackluster for the first 3 and 1/2 minutes of OT and you get tagged for hooking there can't be a lot of faith in getting a victory. As a fan there is nothing to do but cross your fingers for a tie. But Justin Bourne was granted a chance in the last 15 seconds and put it home to steal 2 points down in Colorado Springs. Nice. Real nice. No more of that "never won at the CWSA" crap. Why was I sitting there grinding my teeth with 30 seconds left? What sort of fan am I? I didn't believe? Shame on me.

At least the Seawolves played well the first 15:05 when they scored all their first 4 goals. It's hard to say just listening on the radio but it seems like CC turned it up a notch after they pulled Zaba. In any case they kept the Seawolves from having too many chances and for the last almost 50 minutes seemed to have outplayed UAA. I'd have to say looking at the box score that the one glaringly positive statistic is the one that shows how well UAA did on the PK. CC went 0 for 10 on the PP. UAA got 2 shorties. A shorthanded game winning goal with 13.9 seconds left in OT? I guess we'll take it eh?

Congrats to Josh Lunden on his 4th and 5th goals of the season. Paul Crowder knocked another one home with his excellent backhand. He should hold a backhand clinic once a week for the other UAA players. Congrats to Kurt Haider for not getting kicked out of the pressbox ... he managed not to scream too loudly on the GWG by Bourne. Congrats to Jonny O for his good play in net. He just faced 48 shots from the #9 team in the country and the team won the game with 14 seconds left in OT. He also picked up an assist on the first goal of the night by Lunden. Nick Lowe's shorthander happened with Bourne serving a delay of game for Olthuis. Ironic things are always cool too.

Lets hope we see a more disciplined effort tomorrow night. Tempting the CC Power Play with another 10 chances on Saturday night wouldn't likely be a good strategy.

Lastly, I'll have a post on Sunday and give my thoughts about the announcement UAA made today regarding ticket pricing for the DU series next weekend. Before then just let me say well done to the UAA Athletic Department for taking this step to put more butts in the seats.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

NHL.com's NCAA Suprises List

UAA was placed at #4 on correspondent Bob Snow's Top-10 "surprises" in the NCAA. The entry for the Seawolves says,
"Anchorage has never had a winning record since joining in D-1 and the deep WCHA in '93. Dave Shyiak, in his third year, has already surpassed last year's win total that includes a sweep of North Dakota last month.
"Real happy with the way we've progressed to date," said Shyiak from his Anchorage office. "Success so far is attributed to our senior leadership. Captain Charlie Kronschnabel, Mark Smith, Justin Bourne, Nick Lowe and Chad Anderson are doing a tremendous job in making sure everyone is buying in. And we're doing a real good job with special teams."
The 3rd place team was Michigan Tech with Yale and Quinnipiac finishing at the top of the list.

While it's always good to see the team mentioned positively in the national media, I should point out that UAA had 7 winning seasons as a D-1 team in their first 8 years before joining the WCHA in 93. So it would have been more clear if he'd said, "Anchorage hasn't had a winning record since joining the WCHA in 93".

And again thanks to "dude" for the link.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New 07-08 Recruit: Tommy Grant

Tommy Grant of the BCHL's Westside Warriors has secured a scholarship to attend UAA next season. The 6'2" 175lb left-handed forward has scored 13g-21a in 29 games this season (11 games with Quesnel included). Tommy's scoring output this season has been coming at basically triple the rate of his first 2 years in the BCHL.

He is the leading scorer on his team. Westside Coach Mark Howell said, "Tommy has been a very consistent player for us this season, and is one of the players we count on night in and night out." His 34 points put him 33rd on the points leader list. His 93 penalty minutes put him at 10th in that list.

Tommy turned 20 on August 29th. His experience in the tough BCHL should help him make the transition to D-1 hockey next year. I'll follow him through this season (along with the other recruits) and provide some regular information. Thanks to "dude" for the tip.