Friday, August 03, 2007

The 07-08 Senior Class

Left to right, Luke Beaverson, Peter Cartwright, Chris Tarkir, Blair Tassone and Merit Waldrop are the Seawolves 07-08 Senior Class. As a group these guys will be pretty easy to thank at the end of the season because regardless of the success they help the team reach this year they've each already contributed handsomely during their previous three seasons. First, here's a breakdown of what each guy brings to the table. Following those descriptions will be my assessment of what this group needs to deliver on the ice in 07-08.

Luke Beaverson's career at UAA occurred as a result of North Dakota asking him to play another year in juniors before attending; after 2 years in the USHL Luke said he wasn't interested so UND freed him from their bondage. Then UAA offered and Luke accepted. If I haven't misread things he's said in the past, he couldn't be happier with his choice; "love it here" should be an accurate quote. And speaking for UAA fans we're damn happy to have him. He is a huge presence (6'5" 228lbs) in the defensive zone. His hitting and defensive work have always been a keystone of his play but he's steadily increased his offensive contributions. As a senior I expect Luke to carry the puck confidently when he has a chance. His decisions with the puck have gotten better each year and I expect we'll see very mature play from him this season. Luke has a heavy shot which has been under-utilized and hopefully he'll get more opportunities to unleash it this season. As a fresman Luke tallied 2 assists in 37 games. As a sophomore he netted his 1st collegiate goal and added 3 helpers. Last season Luke put 5 into the twine with 4 assists.

Peter Cartwright is a four year local boy success story. As a freshman and a sophomore Peter competed hard to earn every minute of ice time. During his rookie campaign he played in 28 games and came away with 4 goals with 6 assists in only 20 shot attempts for the season. In his second year he played just 25 games adding 2 goals and 1 assist. Last season was his best to date with 5 goals and 7 assists in 37 games. Peter can be characterized as an energy guy or even (god forbid) a grinder ... someone's gotta be it. At 6' 1" 200lbs he brings good size into the corner and/or in front of the net. He's capable of the more than occasional nifty play to either set up a linemate or finish himself. Last year he led the team in shorthanded points.

Chris Tarkir's career at UAA had a nice start with 6 goals and 5 assists as a freshman. His second year say 8 goals and 6 assists. As a junior though Chris only managed to bury 1 puck with 4 assists. The 76 penalty minutes last year are a small signal of what kind of frustrating season it must have been for him. Chris is clearly capable of burying more pucks. He has a good shot and skates well with both speed and control. Perhaps he was bearing down a bit too much and/or gripping the stick a bit too tightly. His size (6'2" 200lbs) and maturity though should serve him well as a senior if he remembers two words from his freshman year; Martin Stuchlik. Before his senior year Martin was ready to walk away from hockey. He was ready to hang his 4 career goal total on the wall. Coach Hill encouraged him to stay and told him to just go out and have fun. Stoolie promptly did so and banged in 12 goals as a senior contributing to UAA's playoff win versus Wisconsin and first Final Five appearance.

Blair Tassone is nothing less than a spark plug. He hits much bigger than he actually is (5'11" 193lbs). Blair has skated a lot of 3rd and 4th line hockey over his first three years and has often been paired with Peter Cartwright. His energetic play can singlehandedly raise the level of play by the team during a game. In his first two seasons Blair managed to get into just 31 games and contributed 3 goals and 2 assists, all of which came during his freshman year. Last season Blair skated in 23 games and scored 1 goal with 2 assists. Blair is an excellent penalty killer and not shy about standing up for his teammates.

Merit Waldrop has been one of my favorite players since he was a freshman and he's another local boy done good. His speed and skating are a valuable asset. He's a bit gritty. He is a very adept puck handler and more than a few times I've seen him do marvelous things with the puck though, he is probably the all time career leader in posts and crossbars at UAA. If not that, it's some goalie pulling something huge out of his ass to rob Merit. As a freshman he notched 5 goals and 9 assists. His sophomore season he scored 7 goals and added 1 assist. Last season he put 5 away with 14 assists. Merit has the skills to potentially double his output from last year. He would certainly deserve it too.

So what do these 5 guys need to contribute this season to help the team succeed? The first and most obvious is leadership. They need to set a good example to the underclassmen both on and off the ice. They should be fostering a great attitude among the team. This is a pretty good group in terms of that sort of leadership. I mentioned the Martin Stuchlik story earlier and its a lesson that is probably applicable to all 5 of these guys. Play the game this season for the love of the game. If they can each slough off whatever distractions arise (yes yes ... other than homework) and enjoy playing their last year in a Seawolf sweater then it will be a season well spent. I believe that sort of positive attitude will pay big results on the ice for both these guys individually and the team as a whole. Aside from those generalities the team will need more production from all five of these players. As a group last year they managed just 18 goals (only 11 percent of the team total). Bettering that total to 30 is certainly something for which this group has the potential and doesn't seem to be an unrealistic goal to shoot for overall.


revfnb said...

2007 SEHL has three of the seniors
Peter Cartwright 14games 19goals 27assists 46 points
Blair Tassone (F) 11 4 19 23
Merit Waldrop (F) 12 18 21 39
Glad to see the seniors were trying to stay in hockey shape this summer

Jeff said...

i think blair Tassonnee had 2 goals in the series against the gophers when they came to anchorage

Anonymous said...

yeah blair had 2 goals against the gophers and one against merrimack in the nye tourney

Anonymous said...

Im extremly excited to see Waldrop play this year ! Possibly a breakout season !

Anonymous said...

waldrop is the by far the best player on Uaa...

Post a Comment