Thursday, February 01, 2007

How To Beat a Gopher

Past editions of the "How To Beat .." series were focused on effective methods and means to beat Canids (Huskies and Bulldogs). Primarily those efforts required tools. A good sized stick cut from a Willow tree is my favorite. After all who doesn't get some satisfaction from beating a misbehaving dog? This week though it isn't Canid's that need a beating. It's the family Colubridae or perhaps Geomyidae or even Sciuridae; yikes ... which one is it? The Gopher's logo is actually a "Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel" which is in reality nothing like a gopher. In any case pretty much all of these sort of varmits are referred to as pests and/or vermin. Out on the prairies they're unmercilessly slaughtered by us Homo Sapiens with high powered rifles for "fun" and or poisoned en masse in their burrows. Not particularly sporting in either case. Actually none of the usual methods are a good metaphor in terms of getting some points this weekend. So ... What exactly can the Seawolves do to beat the Gophers?

Hit them. Hit them early. Hit them often. Hit them non-stop. Hit them from the first drop of the puck until just before shaking hands at the end of Saturday's game. Coming off a brutal weekend it is to be assumed that the Gophers will be looking for any opportunity to rebuild their confidence and get back to their nearly indomitable ways. No doubt they're glad to be playing the Seawolves this weekend. Series history is sqarely in their favor. The Gophers lead the series all-time substantially at 39-13-5. In Anchorage they're 18-8-3. Neither are numbers that are going to give any pride to Seawolves fans. In reality though past performance has little or no bearing on the current situation. The Gophers aren't 39-13-5 against this group of UAA players. In fact, they're 0-0-0 since this is the first time this season the two current teams have met.

Back to the hitting theme now. The Seawolves have made the physical game a big part of their strategy this year. They're counting the number of hits statistically and use 50 per game as a benchmark. Exceeding that benchmark will be necessary this weekend. If the Gophers sniff an opening they'll take it. Hitting them from the drop of the first puck and non-stop thereafter will eliminate any psychological openings. The 'Wolves have had any number of good physical efforts this season. But this weekend they'll have to put out even more in that sense for success. UAA will have to hit, bash, clobber, lambaste, pelt, smack, thump, pound, wallop, smash, and crunch. Speaking of crunching.

Getting Charlie Kronschnabel back from his broken leg will be a nice boost to that effort. Cap'n Kronsch had become the heart and soul of this squad before getting hurt. His warrior-like attempts to continue playing after he broke his leg against UMD was evidence of that. An initial hit in the corner broke his leg yet he got up. He was pounded again into the boards at that point yet rose a second time and got himself into a lane to attempt to block a UMD shot. It was singularly the most selfless act by a UAA player this season. When he's shown the sort of leadership on the ice it's made everyone else around him play harder. I'm certainly not clairvoyant but I do know this beforehand; Charlie will hit and hit often this weekend. With his leadership in that area this weekend the Seawolves will have a reasonable opportunity for success.

Of course all the regular cliche's apply this weekend. Stay out of the box and when you can't make sure you bust your ass on the PK. Find a way to make your power play opportunities pay off. Blocking shots and clogging lanes defensively is always important. Lawson and/or Olthuis will need to be sharp. Coach Shyiak will have a tactical advantage on home ice that may also be important. Getting the right lines out to counter the top two Gopher lines will be necessary. The play of Tuton, Corrin and Tassone will be key. If they can shut down Stoa, Okposo and whoever Lucia adds to that line this week then who knows. 4 points? I guess that's why they play the games.

9 comments:

Jeff said...

lets hope that Kronch has an immediate impact on the team. I think they will play harder, just knowing he's on the ice with them

Anonymous said...

Did you read the article about Hill that was posted on the USCHO? Hill gets to tell his story? What a farce.

Frontroguy said...

Be careful when trying to beat a Gopher. You never know how they will respond. They were taunted and teased last weekend, and I doubt that this week of practice was much fun. You never want to mess with an angry Gopher.

That being said, I expect a split, with a lot of penalties.

Until tomorrow...

Goon said...

All I have to say is blah, blah blah front guy. The Gophers fans are the worst for rubbing it in peoples faces.

Nice article; actually I would just shoot, neither of their goalies are very good. Briggs is by far the most over rated goalie of all time. If Lawson can get hot the Gophers will go down. I expect a split.

Anonymous said...

IF Lawson can get hot. He hasn't been "hot" much this year.

frontroguy said...

Goon,

Go back to SS, and lay by your dish.

Unless you have a striking resemblence to Christie Brinkley, I will not rub anything in your face, or any other part of you for that matter.

And after you take the shot about how bad Gopher fans are, you predict the same thing I did. How original....

Jeff said...

We need to see the Lawson of two years ago.

Donald said...

Some big games from him would definitely be appreciated at this point of the season. He hasn't had what I'd call a "dominating" outing all year.

Goon said...

Front Guy, Blah, Blah...

Same old tired Gopher bulls s#!T, the whole league picks on us on our us because every team's fan mark the date they play the goofs off on their calender.

I have been to every Final Five since 1998 and the fans that talk the most shit are Goofer fans by far. Also, your fans have said some of the stupidest stuff I have ever heard, even topping most drunk Badger fans.

Go back to your GPL love fest.

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