Friday, November 16, 2007

Game One: Period By Period

I'll be updating this entry today following each period. The computer is right next to me so I'll take advantage of the freshness in my mind of the period for some analysis. I'll come back later in the evening with thoughts after whatever transpires has been properly digested.

Period One:
Overall Minnesota dominated the period. They maintained good puck possession whether on their two power plays or 5-on-5. The only line that had any sort of effective offensive effort for the Seawolves was Lunden-Clark-Crowder. My initial thought that the goal was soft was tempered a bit by the replay when I thought the puck looked to be a knuckle-baller. In either case though it was definitely one that Jonny O would like to have another chance at. 99 out of 100 would be his average on a shot like that. Oh well, the positives are that overall the Seawolves looked really pretty poised on in their end. There was no panic, they blocked a decent number of shot attempts and were challenging well for the puck no matter where it was. Both PK's did a good job of covering any backdoor chances and I thought on the short rebounds UAA did a good job of getting them clear. Breaking out of the defensive zone though wasn't a strength that period. The puck seemed to be bouncing a bit I thought (bad ice?? .... seems unlikely but two more periods will tell if that was the case ... Mariucci doesn't have a bad reputation for ice so it'd be surprising if there was some issue) but I'd agree with Doug and Frank that both teams were creating a high pace. Only a few real opportunities for the Seawolves; a hit post from ""Crowder?"" followed a good chance in the first minute which matched a decent 1st Gopher chance 18 seconds into the game and much later good hustling play from Tarkir that almost worked out. The UAA's one PP was a little tentative I thought but also well defended. I'd speculate that maybe the team was a little bit "deer-in-the-headlights" with the dominant play of the Gophers.

Period Two:
It was a much better period for the Seawolves. Both power plays saw good chances created and 5 on 5 they got the cycle going a few times to create chances. The Penalty Kill remained good. Minnesota definitely had more close chances in the period. Jonny O made a couple of great back to back saves on two extra man chances to keep UAA in the game. Blair Tassone created a nice chance and Shave Lovdahl came up with the puck real nicely to finish and almost got the puck to go. I didn't notice any excessive puck bouncing that period so whatever it was (my imagination??) wasn't a factor. Doug and Frank were all about mentioning that UAA had built some momentum off the Power Play chances and they were right. Funny how they didn't mention that in the first period when Minnesota had a couple of back to back chances that created momentum for them. The effort has been there both periods in any case; so being in the game going into the third is important. I'll expect a continued good effort in the third. The defense continued to look poised with no observable panic. Commitment in the defensive zone was good with plenty of willingness to block shots. Humping the puck out of the zone was improved from the first period as well. For the final twenty I think UAA has to find a way to convert while keeping the Gophers off the board. Rug and Doug's favorite comment is how important the next goal is and when they say that later in the third they'll be right.

Third Period:
More important than getting the third goal was the fact that UAA really didn't ever seem to get any kind of momentum going through the period. The Seawolves had a couple of decent sustained chances with the cycle and the power play possession was reasonable and created chances as well. Things just seemed to be a couple of inches away. Whether it was a Gopher getting to a puck a millisecond before a Seawolf or a chance where a stick was about 80 percent of where it needed to be for a deflection. Woog pointed out right after the second goal that Luka Vidmar seemed to stop on the play and I'd agree. If he'd stayed with Okposo on that play it might not have been such a clean chance at least. Write that off to a rookie error. Frazee made a couple of good stops in key places. He didn't so much "earn" the shutout per se as he had it given to him by the Seawolves offense and the Gophers defense. Credit to the Gopher offense as well even though I thought all night the the defense did a good job. The Gopher forwards were able to make UAA go 200ft tonight and I think that more than anything else was the difference in the game.

I said I'd be back later with digested thoughts. I'll go eat some dinner now, let it and the game digest a bit then come back in a couple of hours with final thoughts.

Digested Thoughts:
Those Buffalo-style chicken strips are not exactly sitting well in my gut and the game hasn't worked it's way through my system to any sort of contentment. I guess the most obvious point here is that if you don't score any goals you ain't gonna win a game. I don't think I can offer much more other than to say that the Gophers ate UAA's lunch on this one. They got the puck into UAA's zone and kept it there. I'll stick with my assessment that they made UAA go 200ft. I say the Seawolves should trap tomorrow night. It's one method that could at least create a transition game by creating some neutral zone turnovers. Some points are necessary. Whether it is one or two. A trapping game might be the only way to accomplish that. I don't expect it to happen. I expect Coach Shyiak and his staff will try to get the guys to double their efforts and try to find ways to get and keep some momentum. But a little bit of Jacques Lemaire hockey is probably what is needed.

6 comments:

Suze said...

While the guys played better in the second period, they seemed to be a bunch of individuals on the ice instead of a team.

A couple times I saw an empty net with a UAA player alone in front, and yet nobody gets the puck to them. Very fristrating.

Jonnie O looked good. Only the first one was a bad goal.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your upcoming schedule, I'd say there's a good chance you're firmly planted in last place for a while.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:31.......as Rome would say...........You SUCK.
UAA didn't hit anything last night pass or white jersey. You are not going to win playing 80% of the game in your zone. Got to back check every time or the Gophs make some pretty passes and bing bang boom it's 3-0. Let's see some offense off of the cycle for a change boys. The Wooger gave our guys some props more than once! Get it Doug you are a Seawolve fan at heart. Mike

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a 3-0 game. Could very well have been 3-0 for the seawolves. A 1-0 game is all it was. Disappointing loss just the same. Tonight I am confident we will win. As for the last place comment, well......I can't type what I'm thinking. So, good luck to the boys tonight.

Anonymous said...

Should have been a 1-0 game? The Gophers are vastly superior in skill. It could have been 5-0 easily. If you can't beat em join em. In other words UAA better recruit more out of the "state of hockey" if they want to compete better with the Gophers.

Donald Dunlop said...

Thank you dear anonymous posters yesterday @ 8:31 and today one minute before game time. It's lovely to see you here. Come back anytime.

Now let me say this ... why should UAA attempt to recruit ANY players from Minnesota? They shouldn't. Anchorage produces some pretty fine hockey players and our close association with nearby Canadian provinces means we don't have to go after SCSU, UMD and UofM rejects like Mankato does.

I appreciate some of the fine players in UAA's history that came from Minnesota but ridiculous crappola like saying UAA needs to recruit more from the "state of hockey" is hilarious.

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