Thursday, January 31, 2008

Series Preview: MTU vs. UAA

The above picture is a partial screen grab from the College Hockey News "Tale Of The Tape" compare feature that is one of my primary references when compiling a preview going into a series. Hopefully, Adam Wodon won't really mind me grabbing the image and posting it here since I do try to pump their tires whenever I think about it. I purposely didn't include the whole page so to see the additional comparisons (Scoring Leaders and Goaltending) you'll have to click on this link. In any case, Adam probably rarely visits so any chance of him discovering my felony and objecting to it is pretty low.

You will note this week that MTU and UAA have very similar numbers in several categories. Physically, UAA isn't much bigger than the original WCHA Huskies; Adam added that particularly category as a result of an email request that I made. Usually, I post the "ranking" for each team (i.e... UAA is 2nd tallest and 6th heaviest; MTU is 15th tallest and 16th heaviest) and I get those from links on CHN's Almanac page. Both teams have identical power play percentages. Goals for each team are only .25 per game different with that mini-edge going to UAA. Goals against are .76 per game in MTU's favor. MTU's penalty kill is a fair bit more effective (5.1%) than the Seawolves. Over the last 10 games MTU leads with 4 wins - 3 losses and the teams have tied 3.

The points available this weekend seem about equally important to each team. The Seawolves most recent two losses to UND created a bit of a gap (6 points) between them and the three teams immediately above them; MSU-M, SCSU and of course MTU. So in order to keep pace UAA could really use a sweep. Tech now has two games in hand over 8 other teams in the league so whatever points they get this weekend will obviously help them in the race for 5th where they are currently 2 points behind Duluth and Wisconsin. With a 3 point weekend in their last series versus CC, the real Huskies should be pretty confident coming into the Sully. UAA's confidence shouldn't have taken a hit last weekend since every player and the staff knows how dramatically they outplayed the hostile and abusive co-opters of Native American imagery and names. Coach Shyiak's optimism and positive attitude as displayed on last nights Coaches Show is indicative of that.

I think the key for the Seawolves this weekend will be goal scoring. I know that sounds ridiculously obvious. But as with last weekend the guys are going up against a hot goaltender and a team that has a very definite team-oriented defensive strategy. Getting to at least 3 goals is the key. I know ... I know. Like I said, it's obvious. Painfully obvious in this case. Getting denied by hot goalies, posts and crossbars and/or referees is not an option this weekend. Here's my advice: Shoot early, shoot often and don't stop shooting. Shoot from the blueline, shoot from good angles and bad angles, shoot from no angle and then shoot again. Go to the net and pick up the rebounds from all those shots. Try wraparounds, wrist-shots, slap-shots, snap-shots, backhands, deflections, tip-ins and even use the dreaded Aaron Voros "thigh-in" shots. Pick up the puck and throw it at the guy. Get as much rubber headed in Teslak's direction as possible, as often as possible. Shoot the puck before and after the whistle if you have to. Whatever it takes. Make Teslak (and possibly Nolan) sick and tired of rubber. Make them wish they'd never see another puck in their lifetimes. Make them eat rubber. Give them nightmarish rubber flashbacks. And in your own end make it as easy as possible for Jonny O and/or Bryce Christianson. Block shots, clog shooting lanes and plaster Huskie forwards to the wall.

I see no reason we shouldn't expect to see the Shyiak cycling game in full evidence. The Seawolves will get the puck in deep and work it to create chances. They'll use size and strength in the corners and behind the net to create chances. We should see defensemen carrying the puck forward and inserting themselves into the offense. Every player on the ice ought to be looking for a way to contribute to offense. Offense, Offense, Offense. That's my choice for the mantra. Go forward, keep going forward and go forward again.

See ya at the games. I have a pass for Friday's luncheon and I'd like to go but I'm not counting on it. Big week on the homefront for illness and minor surgeries and Friday looks like a helluva busy day already. But if I can manage it I'm all about a free feed.

6 comments:

Suze said...

I wonder when we'll see Carlson?

Anonymous said...

I think maybe this weekend..THe key is WE NEED GOALS..Young Goalies are young Goalies..Can Every body say GOALS..Goals Goals.. Good LUCK WOLVES!!

Jeff said...

Carlson made the trip to und last weekend so i wouldnt be surprised to see him play this weekend.

Will said...

What are your thoughts on the lines the coach should put together to win this weekend? Earlier in the season the Crowder, Lunden and clark line was scoring goals. Have we seen that line lately? McCabe, Parkinson and Waldrop; Cartwright, Tassone and Tuton; DayChief, Grant and Selby, would be my lines. We put lots of shots on goal last week out shooting the ND and you would think sooner or later the goals will come. This weekend could be the start for the guys to finish strong this season.

annabelle said...

GO SEAWOLVES!!!!!

Suze said...

Woo hoo, nice win UAA. And it's nice to hear the crowd get into the game for a change!

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