Saturday, February 03, 2007

Close But No Cigar

The team showed up and played tonight. They put their hearts into it and got a 2-1 loss for the efforts. On paper it's no different than the 8-2 whalloping from Friday night but at least they gave themselves a reminder that effort is a big part of the picture to success in this league. Unfortunately, another big part of success in the WCHA is execution. And during the critical offensive chances the Seawolves weren't able to finish. Frazee came up with a couple of very critical saves.

Jonnie O was also good in the net for UAA. He came up with a few good stops of his own and intelligently used his pipes at least three times to stop Gopher shots. The Seawolves picked it up a step in their own end tonight and played the way it's necessary to play against a talented team. They kept their feet moving and didn't give away territory. Everyone played much better in their own end tonight. There were many fewer 1-1 challenges in the UAA defensive end that resulted in scoring chances for Minnesota. There was much more commitment in that end with good effort in the shot blocking department.

UAA's best period on Friday night was the 1st. On Saturday night I thought their best period was the second. But they played better in the 1st tonight than they did on Friday. Friday at the end of one period it was UAA 1-0. Saturday, a better 1st period results in 1-0 for Minnesota. I thought it was the same story in the 2nd. I guess thats sort of ironic. I thought there were a lot of fat rebounds to be had tonight; but they were picked up pretty well by the Gopher D. If the Seawolves had taken a few more outside shot chances they might have been able to hook up with one of those.

The third period tonight started with all the right effort. The good penalty killing continued. But as time went on the amount of time 5x5 that Minnesota was pressuring deep in the UAA zone really increased steadily until late in the period UAA was hardly able to clear the zone. Credit to the Gophers for playing smart with the lead. They made few mistakes with the puck and consequently the Seawolves had few real chances. With Olthuis pulled the Seawolves were finally able to gain some territorial advantage for the last 90 seconds or so but never came close to generating any sort of scoring chance.

If I was giving three stars (and if that meant anything) I'd have given 3rd star to Kevin Clark, 2nd star to Jon Olthuis and 1st star to Dave Shyiak. Getting the team to play the game correctly after the ugliness we saw on Friday night deserves it. Plus my daughter pointed out that Shyaik was smiling and waving back to little kids that were waving as he came back on the ice for the 3rd period.

I could list every player on the ice and say something positive about the way they played. Adam Corrin was the energizer bunny and in my opinion probably earned himself another start next week. Blair Tassone's shorthander was set up beautifully by Paul Crowder who was helped along by a Gopher D's miscue. Blair made no mistake in burying the puck. Merit Waldrop was all over the ice. His forechecking game in the neutral zone was excellent as he intercepted more than his share of passes there. Jared Tuton's punishing checks and energy would have helped earn that line the "best line of the weekend" award if there was any such thing; both for effort and results. Chad Anderson put out a great effort tonight with many rushes and offensive chances as a result. Mat Robinson and Nils Backstrom and Mark Smith and Luke Beaverson and Ryan Berry all played well. Getting to see more of Ryan is a good thing. I noticed he moves his feet well and I think he showed this weekend that he's pretty well adapted to the speed of the college game. And yes ... Charlie played well. Jay Beagle played a very nice game and shined on a couple of penalty kills. And Chris Tarkir had a good game. And Justin Bourne was effective. And Peter Cartwright was good. Did I forget anyone?

Shyiak shuffled the lines a bit tonight and I'd expect some more of that since lines that seemed to have chemistry earlier in the season aren't producing like they were. Maybe some fresh chemistry can be found. Lets hope so. Another tough weekend awaits in Madison.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think much of the line shuffling tonight came from the fact that Josh Lunden got hurt in the middle of the first period. Still great effort tonight, much more fun to watch than last night....

Donald said...

Oops ... there a name I missed and I obviously missed that he was injured as well. Wooosh ...

What sort of injury was it? I totally missed anything to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Looked like a possible separated shoulder or arm injury. He got hit hard at the blue line in the first and didn't play another shift. He was wearing a sling after the game. Hope he'll be back soon...

Donald said...

CRAP! Well that sucks.

Frontroguy said...

I have to admit, I am a bit surprised. Well, I'll take the 4 and be happy. Great game on Sat, I sure wish the feed would have stayed working, but at least I got to see the 1st period.

See you in St. Paul....

Anonymous said...

It was nice to see Olthuis get the start and Rosett get the back up. Lawson is a Prima Donna and needs a wake up call.

Suze said...

Donald, remember when I thought Bourne left the ice? It was Lunden (#21, Bourne is #12). Hopefully he won't be out too long.

Great effort by the entire team last night, if they play that way in Wisconsin, they will get some points.

Hopefully Olthuis has earned the next start.

Suze said...

Maybe UAA has a new face off guy? Corrin won 7 of 8 draws last night! He played a great game.

Suze said...

Hey Donald, guess who reffed the CC/UAA game? Marco Hunt. Remember our conversation last night about that interference call on the face off?

Donald said...

Yeah ... he's the only clown that calls interference on faceoffs. I guess it's his "signature" call.

Anonymous said...

by the anonymous 10:42, Lawson was suiting up for the game when he started throwing up, and Coach told him no go. He wasn't getting a wake up call he had the flu

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