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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seawolves Finally Come Home

The last UAA series at the Sullivan Arena was more than a month ago on December 15th. That's a long time and I've been jonesin to see some live hockey. Many years ago I was returning to Anchorage from a long stint in a Milwaukee computer training school getting DEC Vax System Administrator certified and found myself on a plane with the Badger hockey team. My seat was among several players. The Internet didn't exist so I had no reason to really get too detailed in my conversations but nevertheless I did talk some friendly shit for the Seawolves which of course was entertaining to the players. My memory fails me regarding any names of the players at the time with the exception of Kirk Daubenspeck. The conversation that sticks out in my mind was the one where Badger players were trying to find out if Jeremy Mylomuk was still playing for the Seawolves. It took a bit for them to describe who they meant and when I suggested his name their eyes all got that look of recognition and talked about how he had put a body on everyone. Jeremy had graduated which elicited a look and audible sigh of relief. I guess Mylomuk had made an impression. Not surprising; that kid could really lay on the hits whether it was along the boards on in open ice. He was definitely the king of hipchecks while he was a Seawolf.

I wonder if any Badgers will be worrying about the same sort of thing on their trip up this week? Perhaps they'll be mentioning how difficult it is to get in front of the net when Luke Beaverson is on the ice. Or maybe a couple of them will have some Mat Robinson hipcheck memories. The player on this years Seawolf team that is most like Jeremy Mylomuk is Shane Lovdahl; he can definitely lay out a punishing hit. But I think most of the current Badger lineup has some pretty positive memories regarding playing against UAA. In 10 games over the past three seasons the Seawolves have managed a win only once.

There are a couple of interesting reunion tidbits this weekend. Paul Crowder and Kyle Turris are former teammates from the RBC Junior A champion Burnaby Express team of two years ago. This won't be the first time competing against Turris for quite a few Seawolves as 7 current underclassmen came to UAA from the BCHL. Freshman Sean Wiles is the only UAA player from the state of Wisconsin so perhaps he'll be uniquely jazzed about playing this weekend. Captain Luke Beaverson's junior career was spent in Green Bay as was Wisconsin's assistant captain Kyle Klubertanz which is the only other "reunion" of any kind that I can discern. Of course since Klubertanz and Beaverson are seniors they're pretty familiar foes.

The Badgers are coming to town tied for 6th place in the league just 4 points above the Seawolves. There is a hint of a separation in the WCHA standings between the top 5 teams and the bottom five teams. 3 points separates 5th from 6th. It must be noted however that 1st place CC has played 18 games while the next four down the list have all played 16; all five of the teams in the lower half have only played 14 league games. The way the standings look now without a doubt won't be the way they look at the end of the season. The teams that step up to the plate and hit for extra bases will move up.

Wisconsin is coming off a big 7-2 Saturday win in Denver after getting hosed out of at least a tie the night before by referee Randy Bungleschmidt. Sometime last week I mentioned that the Badgers couldn't score in a Mexican whorehouse with a pocketful of cash. They sure proved me wrong with 10 goals (only 9 of them of the official variety) last weekend. They raised their output to a pretty respectable 3.14 per game and are giving up 2.73. In a bit of a mirror image the Seawolves are scoring 2.7 per game and giving up 3.3. There is no significant difference in the Badger and Seawolf power play/penalty kill numbers. The Badgers aren't significantly smaller than the Seawolves. In the net both the Badgers and Seawolves have gone almost entirely with one guy; Connelly and Olthuis. The series has all the hallmarks of being a competitive couple of games. There's little doubt in my mind that the harder working team has the best chance of coming up with the majority of points this weekend.


Jeff said...

I looked on and was surprised to see we are 24th in the pairwise rankings. hopefully we can turn things around starting this weekend. At least we dont have to play denver or cc durring the regular season anymore.

punk said...

not true jeff, we play in our last road series.

Anonymous said...

When is the FIRE the Head coach chant coming for someone who will have 3 last place finishes in a row. Dave just cant get it done people.

Anonymous said...

You have a point

Anonymous said...

Stop it already, Dave's teams are far more competitive week in and week out than John Hill's teams ever were. I give him through next year before I'd even entertain the thought of a new coach. Can we start Christiansen in goal yet?

Suze said...

John Hill was the bench boss when UAA endured their worst season ever, 1 win. Nobody called for his head.

We've got to give Shyiak and his assistants time to get their own players. There have been a lot of first's under Dave ... playoffs in Minny, win at CC, etc.

I agree, the team needs to start playing with passion and WILL. I hope we see that effort this weekend. If we do, they can definitely get the points they desperately need.

Let's make Anchorage the tough place to play that it used to be. This is OUR BARN.

Annabelle said...

Against the gophers in november, we won 4-2. The announcers stressed that we played with tenacity. We were on fire. Reviewing the game we were very impressive. So, lets hope we play with the same tenacity this week-end. The coaches have already proven that they and the boys are capable of winning games. Go Seawolves!!!! !

Jimjamesak said...

Dave has won 2 Governors Cup. The mathematical formula is 3 years reprieve for every Governors Cup win, 3 * 2 = 6. Plus he's gone 2 seasons undefeated against UAF, every season undefeated against UAF is another year, 6 + (2 * 1) = 8. He's in his 3rd season, 8 - 3 = 5, so Dave's got 5 more years to get things going.

Anonymous said...

frist I will defend dave great guy knows its hard in this city with the campuse being the way it is, the fucilitys are less then great and its hard to recrute with sub par facilities. Ok on to this weekend Have been sevral gamblers games and lots of the plder fans still were lukes jursey they have not done a whole lot after that team. I expect to see some pushing and shoving between Kyle Klubertanze and Weles (interstate thing and Weles being from beliot) should be great couple of games the Wolves need to come out with fire and passion.

Anonymous said...

Bryce Christianson is still not officially signed, so he won't be seen anywhere near the bench during games until he clears the NCAA clearinghouse. Brian Bales is also not going to play at all this season, he will be a junior as far as status goes next season.

Donald Dunlop said...

Talk of getting rid of Shyiak is crazyland premature. The freshman on this years team are the first true full recruiting class for he and his current staff. In my mind you can't make any judgement about how effective he is until they are seniors and then you need to wait another year.

So in 3 years we can make an initial judgement and then wait another year to confirm that. So he has at least 4 more years before being judged in my book.

At one point UAA had 4 different coaches in an 11 year period. More than anything else stability is going to be a determining factor in the success of this remote program.

And just who do you think you're going to get to coach here if you get rid of Shyiak? Who is really going to want to come to a program where the coach turnover averages 4 or 5 years? Do you think there's a gaggle of Division 1 head coaches just sitting around waiting for a job?

The school is taking the steps it can to upgrade facilities and with the grotesque windfall of money this state is seeing right now there is every reason to believe that we'll see positive movement in building a new state of the art arena. Those things will be just as important in getting the best quality recruits to come to the school as the abilities of the coach.

There's lots of time left in the season. There is every reason to think that this years team will post a better record than ANY other Seawolf team in the WCHA era. Let's all exhibit the minimum amount of patience with regard to Shyiak eh?

Suze said...

I was wondering if the clearinghouse slowed things down. Hopefully that will get resolved SOON.

Too bad about Bales, but hopefully he'll have the fortitude to stick around and play his last two full years.

Anonymous said...

The num 1 thing that will matter is for the current staff to retain as many of these players as possible untill they are upperclassman...Age,Cohesion,and firepower will win..You cant lose anybody to the pros,grades, off ice issues or for any reason....if Possible... Can you inmagine an all Senior/Junior team,..Its no different than any level of Hockey..Veteran teams Win...1983 15+ Seniors 1992/93 Seniors/juniors....2 maybe 3 years at the most and success will be measured by how many players are retained because if they are here we will have a winning program..With that said..If your best player wants to go Pro,you convince them to Stay..If a player is a marginal student hes watched like a hawk..If a player currently doesnt fit develope him.Find him a role..any team is only as good as there worst player..Sound Tough,,Absolutely Nothing tougher...This is a building year period.

Donald Dunlop said...

anon @ 735
All good observations/points.

Anonymous said...

The coaches do have to work hard to retain players. There is always a player or two that is being swayed to leave and play elsewhere. Perhaps they made a mistake committing at such a young age, etc.... The new recruits chose Anchorage because of the coaching staff, the program and the school. Chances are they had several offers from other div. 1 teams. Hopefully they will stay. If they continue to play lots, they will only develop more and gain valuable experience which will only benefit our team.

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