Friday, November 30, 2007

The Best Loss of the Season

I think tonights game was definitely the best loss of the season. Absolutely no shame for any Seawolf player tonight. The team played one of the better games they've played so far this season. It'd be a stretch (perhaps) to call Drew O'Connell's play inspired or otherwise spectacular but he certainly didn't let one get past. He certainly played well enough to make a case for more playing time. He owes a lot tonight to the CC defense too; they plugged up shooting lanes when and if such lanes actually manifested themselves. They kept UAA to the outside and were excellent getting to rebounds and challenging for the puck. It was also the fastest up and down game of the season without a doubt. Both teams used the big ice well to open things up and skated the sort of game that ought to be played on Olympic sized sheets.

The Seawolf players tonight were flat out all over CC for large portions of time. Zone domination reached points where you could call the ice tilted in UAA's favor. CC executed very very well in their own end. If and when UAA created a turnover for a chance there always seemed to be someone in a bumblebee uniform covering up. I thought it looked like when Seawolf players wanted to create a chance that they could. The much balleyhooed speed differential was never an issue as UAA skated with CC all night and won more than their share of races to the puck. CC had more odd man rushes than UAA though; but never really made much of any of them. The puck that got past Jonny O was the result of a bit of a bad break for UAA after a broken stick turnover. The Seawolves inability to bury one of the many many goal-mouth mad-scrambles in front of O'Connell was the main theme of the game though. Lotsa guys had good looks at the goal tonight. Every forward contributed in some important way on virtually every shift. All the Seawolf blueliners contributed in some important way in the CC zone tonight; whether it was keeping a critical puck in the zone or by stepping up to create or pick up a rebound chance. O'Connell gave up just enough juicy rebounds (few as they were) to frustrate an anxious fan though.

While giving credit to CC's effort on defense it would be wrong to overlook UAA's own efforts in their zone. On more than one occassion Seawolf defenders broke up good chances or made excellent plays to deny CC. 3 or 4 times (without Jonny O being real sharp) CC could have put the game away.

I honestly thought it was the best loss of the season. No head hanging. They were in a tough fast-paced entertaining hockey game that they lost on a good bounce for the other team. I think they played at a pretty consistently high pace. Passing (and receiving) was better tonight than in either game vs. the gophers so that's a positive in my book. Telling ourselves that tomorrow is another night I guess is the best way to deal with this loss.


Jeff said...

Tomorrow's game will definitely be entertaining to watch. It seems like there is still some bad blood between some of the uaa and cc players from last years brawl.

Suze said...

That was the best game of the year as far as UAA taking penalties. Hard to believe with 2 refs on the ice, and one being Todd Anderson!

Let's get the win in our barn tonight guys!!

Gopher fan in AK said...

UAA deserved better vocal support from the home fans last night. People in this state just don't get what it means to create a home ice advantage.

Late in the 3rd there was a little buzz, but the Seawolves deserved much better than that. I wish people up here could go to a game in Minny; Marrucci, the DECC, or St. Cloud and see what it really means to have passion for the home team. Back there such an effort would have had the entire building on their feet.

Anyways, the WCHA looks a lot like the NFL in terms of parity right now.

Kris said...

Donald, I agree that this was our best loss of the season. I was amazed at how we were skating up and down so much with CC. One I saw that I had this fear, when are we going to get burned, but our team speed has improved dramatically. In years past that would have ended up as a 5-1 game CC.

I do think that there are forwards on our team that our hanging their heads. O'Connell actually played well but not well enough for a 28 save shutout. UAA didn't challenge him. A lot of the credit goes to CC's defense but the Seawolves HAVE to bury their chances. I saw one forward who should have had a goal and he also had a couple other chances in front of the net. Normally those would not have come back to bite us, but they did tonight and that is why we have to bury those. We don't have the offense of some of the teams, yet. We are progressing but can't let goals slip from us.

But back to the positive, if we play like that every night, the wins are going to stack up like they would have a decade and a half ago. The way UAA played was at a level I really don't remember seeing them play. If we can begin to play like this all the time, then the sky is the limit!!! As much as I was pessimistic in the last paragraph, I am very happy with the way the game went except for the loss. We utterly dominated the first. My friend who doesn't like hockey (at least won't admit it, he actually does) had mentioned that CC might be good since they were from Colorado and they had ice there. I mentioned that they were the 4th ranked team in the country and he exclaimed that we were going to be annihilated. Well a little into the first he looks to me and says why does it look like UAA is dominating. I had to tell it was because we were. The second and third were much more even but I do say even. But overall we outplayed the 4th ranked team in the country.

Anonymous said...

hey gopher fan I think you are confused the people in anc need to go to the khol i have been to Decc and it was pretty quite and the maricci has a rep of selling out but sounding like a theater house. every time i go to the khol its loud and student are having fun.

Anonymous said...

Gopher fan- i grad'd from the U back in the sommner and brooksie days and grew up wearing maroon & gold. yep I've been back to the marrucci too. no doubt we don't have 100 + years and 5 million alumni to draw from. enough BS about the gopher fan support........ for their prima donnas. The wolves played a super game last night. I'm looking forward to another tonight cept with the wolves getting 2 points. get with it or we'll be glad to wish you a merry trip back down the Alcan to the land of ONLY 10,000 puddles, crappies and perch, and Buck Hill's 600 vertical feet of packed "powder".


Suze said...

The Mariucci may have been an exciting arena when their team was winning, but right now the ONLY time they cheer is when their team scores.

When they played UAA, Woog said the fans looked like cardboard cutouts, and they "weren't moving".

Last night he said the Mariucci was "empty and quiet". And it was, you could hear the players on the ice like it was a pick up game.

Will said...

There is nothing wrong with the UAA fans that are showing up for the games. Vocal support isn't going to win any games for the guys. They need to continue to play like they did last night and win some games and the UAA fans will be right there cheering them on. Pucks in the net will get the fans into the game and wins will put more butts in the seats. Go Wolves.

Donald Dunlop said...

I also thought fan support was very appropriate last night. I often feel like Anchorage fans are insipidly bad. But everyone in the rink last night was in-tune with the game on the ice. They cheered when they should have been cheering, few left and there was a quality ovation immediately after the game ended.

Examples of good home crowds and great atmosphere in a rink should never again include Mariucci. If the Gophers are playing anyone other than their "rivals" the insipid bandwagon Gopher fans stay away in droves. The joint was half empty for UAA and it was half empty last night when the Golder Chokers lost to MTU.

Next time someone comments here that Mariucci crowds are great or puts Mariucci in the list of places with great atmosphere I'll will stand up and point at my screen and laugh in a ridiculously loud tone while chanting Rube!!! Rube!!!! Rube!!!!

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