Win at home, split on the road. "The" #1 WCHA coaches mantra. This weekend UAA was the only team in the conference to live up to the split on the road portion of that mantra. Denver swept Mankato at home with a close 2-1 game on Friday but a serious 7-0 Piowning on Saturday night. CC swept Wisconsin at home with a close 4-3 result on Friday night and a big 6-1 margin and for the second weekend in a row there was chippiness at the end of a Wisconsin loss. Duluth came damn close to holding up their end at home but only managed a 1-1 tie with MTU at the DECC on Friday. It sounded like a fitting result for what I've read was a boring icing filled defensive battle. Saturday thought UMD got the job done with a 4-1 victory which included 2 empty net goals at the end. I cheer for splits every weekend (excepting the UAA series of course where I always want the Seawolves to sweep) because it means that nobody in the league takes those big steps up in the standings. But because of this weekends results there is a bit of a separation in the early league table. UAA's next opponent is sitting at 14 points with DU at 10 (and two games in hand). Those two teams meet (home and home) this coming weekend in probably the most important WCHA series so far this season. If CC gets 4 points they'll solidify a lead that could be long lasting.
Looking at various league stats today I have to note one that jumped out at me. It's important to note before I talk about it that not everybody has played the same number of conference games. That said, UAA opponents have had by far the fewest penalties called against them. Referees have only whistled 19 penalties on UAA opponents in six games. The next closest team in that regard is Wisconsin at 24 (in six games) whose opponents have all apparently been angels as well. In order MTU, UMTC and SCSU opponents have all been gooning it up. There have been 9 CFB's so far this year in the WCHA. UAA has 4 of them. With all that in mind UAA is still only 5th in total penalty minutes at 16.7 per game; UND leads with 27.7 per game (six games) and the SCSU Angels sitting at 9 minutes per. UAA is ranked #1 league-wide in the "combined special teams" category which is in large part due it's good penalty kill which is almost 85 percent. DU's penalty kill is a crazy 100 percent and CC's is 94.
I enjoyed Luke Beaverson's interview after the game last night. His big wide gap toothed grin and his attitude were great to see. Nice to see the UAA faithful in the background as well with all their big smiles! It was apparent to those of us watching how quiet the joint was as the UAA fans cheering after the UAA goals was very audible on the broadcast. Way to go UAA fans! Great stuff! For us sitting back at home it's always great to see and hear ANY support for the guys on the road. I think the players noticed too.
I shouldn't read too much other coverage of the games. I know that Don Lucia didn't say that if Tom Pohl had scored (instead of hitting the post) that "the outcome would have been different". He said "the outcome could have been different". Note to recappers out there ... could and would are two entirely different words. Get your quotes correct if you're going to use them eh? And oh yeah ... if you're pretending to be some sort of unbiased journalist then give equal space to the descriptions of UAA's goals as you do to the losing team. Especially, if the byline after your name says "Publisher" eh? Nuff said USCHO? Note to Don Lucia, your team wasn't the only one that hit posts that "could" have impacted the outcome this weekend had they not.
Man oh man I seriously hope that UAA can get to the Final Five this year. In their one appearance a few years ago the crowd really adopted them. I'd love to be a part of that. If they don't manage to get there I'm still looking forward to the experience. It'll be a great chance to meet some other bloggers and Internet loudmouths like me. While my fund-raising for the trip isn't what I'd call going great at this point, I still plan to attend. I'm embarking on a little venture which should allow me to deposit a bigger portion of the funds to that effort but I'm still hoping readers here will find what I do worthy of donations. So if you like what you read and are feeling magnanimous then jump on the link to the right and Pay Pal me. Thanks in advance and once again thanks to all those folks who have already donated.