Saturday, October 20, 2007

Seawolves 5 - UAF 3

A great 2nd period tonight was all the Seawolves really needed to complete the home sweep of rivals UAF tonight. That great 2nd period started with about a minute left in the 1st. With just 25 seconds left in the 1st freshman Craig Parkinson netted his 3rd goal of the season during a dominating shift with linemates Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark. You could smell it coming. The stench of their desire wafted through the whole arena during that shift. They just weren't going to be denied. The Seawolves gave up another brutally early goal in the game just 22 seconds in. And the 'nooks held tough for most of the rest of the period killing off a 5 minute major to Dustin Sather (marginal call at best ... I fully expected a 2 minute call). Play during the period was mostly in UAA's favor as they outshot UAF 9 - 4. No question though that a goal with 25 seconds left in a period is > a goal 22 seconds into a game. Between periods my assessment was that UAF had "shot their wad".

Coming out in the 2nd the 'nooks though tried to prove me wrong with another good scoring chance very early in the period. Matthew Gordon though in his first start was able to thwart the effort and the Seawolves buckled down. The 'nooks didn't register another shot on goal in the period until about the 10 minute mark. During the first penalty of the period whle Blair Tassone was sitting in the box for interference (for keeping a Nanook from the puck by putting his legs into a Nanook's stick and tripping himself) UAA had two great shorthanded chances and UAF managed zero shots. It was an indication of how the whole period would go. The Seawolves outshot them 10 - 4 in the period (and the shot counting at the Sully is horrid). My estimate would be 15 - 5 for the period. At the 9 minute mark of the period Winston Daychief knocked in his 2nd of the year to put UAA ahead for good. It didn't prove to be the game winning goal but Winston took care of that later in the period with his 2nd of the night. In between his two goals another freshman bagged his first of the season. Luka Vidmar fired a solid wrister through traffic at 13:03 of the period. Of all 8 goals the two teams combined for on the night only 2 came from someone other than a freshman and those two were from sophomores. Daychief's game winner came with 1:04 remaining in the period to put UAA up 4-1. It took a lot of air out of UAF's tires.

The Seawolves dominance continued in the 3rd period. If not for a number of excellent saves by Wylie Rogers (and a post) UAA would have put the game out of reach. The Seawolves mostly were on cruise control until Dion Knelsen's power play tally at 13:03 put a bit of a scare into the 4528 folks in attendance. But at 17:19 of the period a determined Paul Crowder carried the puck into the zone on a 2 on 1 and netted his 1st of the season for UAA's 5th goal. The 'wolves went back into cruise control immediately and UAF bagged their third just 35 seconds later on just their 5th shot of the period.

All in all I'd (once again) call it a dominating performance. But I'd also temper that by saying they gave up 3 goals that they shouldn't have. UAF took advantage of 3 situations where the Seawolves simply weren't awake. Not to be overly critical but those sorts of naps aren't going to equal WCHA success. League games start next weekend when Mankato comes a callin'. Success in the WCHA comes from playing 60 minutes a night. Not 57. 60. It's reality. The point needs to be made. The WCHA so far this season is something like 17-3-4 against the other conferences so far this season. A big part of that statistic is the focus that every team in this league puts into playing for the full 60 minutes. I believe the Seawolves could be a helluva squad if they play like they are capable of playing for 120 minutes every weekend.

Congratulations on a good weekend and on the 3-0-1 early season record. It's a nice start. From here on out it only gets tougher. I'll wrap up my thoughts about the pre-WCHA season tomorrow in my regular Sunday Potpourri post.


Anonymous said...

way to go wolves, donald nice wrap up of the game. Didnt get to see it. you are right wcha play is a lot tougher and need to play the whole game though beatting uaf is always a good and getting the mistakes out now good momentum and awsome to see the freshmen and sophmores getting alot of points. is it fair to be a little concerned we are not seing a lot of goal production from the upperclass? or am i premiture on this?

Donald Dunlop said...

I tend to think that the cream will rise to the top with time. Chris Tarkir scored a beauty against BU so that should give him some confidence. Merit is always going to be a solid threat and I've no doubt that he'll get some important goals. It's a long season and the experience that the veterans have will serve them well.

The team hasn't travelled yet and managing school work and staying focused on hockey is a learned thing. We'll see some freshman struggle with production at some point I'd imagine and those will be the times when upperclassmen will have to fill the void.

Production from the 3rd and 4th lines will be very necessary for more success but you have to remember those guys are usually going up against the other teams top 2 lines and scoring is a secondary consideration to shutting the other teams scorers down.

Backchecking and team defense will be more and more important as they get into league play. The 3.whatever GAA the team is giving up right now needs to come down. The PK needs to tighten up. The PP needs to come up. I also think they could take a couple less penalties per game. The coaching staff will certainly be addressing those areas. The four games certainly gives them plenty to assess and they're no doubt going to address problem areas and make the necessary adjustments. Anyhow ... all this is stuff I was saving for tomorrow. lol.

schloppy said...

We could really use a break from letting other teams score so darn early. I've heard of teams playing better when coming from behind but I have to say I'm sick of fighting back from an early lead. It sure is a let down too. Watching BU put the puck in the net just under 18 seconds was disgraceful, and having the 'nooks do it in under 22 seconds is gonna leave me angry for a week.

upperdeck said...

It is wonderful after four games to have three UAA players in the top 9 scorers in Div one hockey and two tied with several others for tenth place. Congrats to Clark for being second in the nation in scoring and tied for first in assists.
Sad to say it looks like Wisconsin star freshman is the real deal and deserves his high draft status. Too bad he didn't go directly to the NHL.

Kris said...

at least he won't be hear next year.

But Grant, Parkinson, and McCabe, and Daychief all should be!!!

Suze said...

I wouldn't be surprised to see Daychief or Parkinson get ROK honors.

Suze said...

ROK? LOL. I meant ROW, Rookie of the Week. I need to go back to bed!

Donald Dunlop said...

Kyle Turris had 3 goals and 4 assists for Wisconsin in two games vs. Robert Morris. It will be interesting to see if he is both ROTW and OPOW or just one of those. If he is OPOW then Richard Bachman might be ROTW. Of course, his two wins against Minnesota might give him DPOW honors instead of ROTW. If that's the case then "maybe" Winston gets ROTW.

Did I say it was a good weekend for freshman all around. Quite possible that freshman will get all the weekly league honors.

MeanEgirl said...

Yay, UAA! I always love it when the Seawolves beat UAF!

Donald Dunlop said...

And we always love it when you love it!

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