Friday, February 29, 2008

Seawolves vs Gophers: Friday Night

I couldn't be happier for Ken Selby. Of course I always get to the rink during the warm-up skate because it's my first chance to see who is and isn't dressed for the game. And as I walked out of to the concourse area the first number on a white jersey I noticed was #8 Ken Selby. Sweet I thought, everytime I've watched him play I've liked what I've seen. He was the first player I mentioned in every pregame coversation I had. And he was the subject of a text message I got following the game noting his good performance and advocating for "Player of the Game" status. I concur. Ken got on the scoresheet the first time tonight a little of 2 minutes into the game when he layed on a sweet open-ice hit which elicited a noticeable reaction from the crowd. Unfortunately, he might have had his stick in a bit of the wrong place and ended up getting a high sticking penalty. Thankfully, that wouldn't be the last time he showed up on the scoresheet.

Minnesota bounced out to an early 2-0 lead with a first rush of the game goal with just :27 gone. I don't know if you'd call the goal soft. It went in 5 hole off a suprisingly nice shot from sometime road cone Derek Peltier. He added the Gophers only other goal at 13:59 on the power play with a wrister from high in the slot that found Jonny O screened a bit but nevertheless had mustard and found the corner. UAA got back within a goal with just 37 seconds remaining in the period when Paul Crowder skated through center ice and unleashed a better than hip-high slap shot from just inside the blueline that handcuffed Kangas and had enough momentum to find its way across the goal line. It was a period that UAA clearly dominated despite the score. UAA had several good chances shorthanded with Ken Selby in the box and real did real well disrupting on the PK when Luka Vidmar sat down for tripping. Out of UAA's 12 shots in the period at least 4 were quality chances and UAA managed to keep the puck in the Gopher end for the majority of the period.

The second period was scoreless with some notable chances for UAA. They played great during a 2 minute 4x4 situation and Selby was in position to tie it up during a 2 on 1 rush but the pass was blocked by the Minnesota defenseman. Mostly the period was defined by both teams gaining the other others zone and the defenses doing their jobs and starting it the other way. Not too much action below the dots or in front of the net though I'd have to give the nod to Minnesota for winning the period. And credit Jonny O for keeping the Seawolves in the game with a couple of great saves.

The same sort of play dominated through most of the 3rd period as well, until with about 6 minutes left Ken worked the puck out from along the half-boards on the left side to clear the zone. Minnesota gained the puck briefly along the benches but Sean Wiles managed to chip the puck into a Gopher defenseman and the puck dropped in front of Ken at the blueline; with three quick steps into the zone he fired a laser to cleanly beat Kangas from about 40ft. No doubt about it. It was a goal scorers kind of goal. The joint erupted.

UAA started the OT with a power play and generated a chance in close that Kangas ultimately held. Following the power play it was much the same as the rest of the game had been with the teams exchanging rushes without generating many clean chances but Jonny O came up with a nice save in a real good game overall for him. The Seawolves had a couple of good desparation chances inside the 20 second mark after winning a draw in their own end following a Gopher timeout and clearing it to center and then carried in by Lunden who got off a nice shot and followed it with a deflection attempt from a Mat Robinson shot that was as good a scoring chance as any that preceeded it. I thought Josh Lunden was the most visible offensive player for UAA tonight. Crowder, Waldrop, Clark all contributed. Chris Tarkir looked really good tonight. He made a sweet rush wide where he stepped around the outside of a Gopher defender and broke in on the net that ended with a tight chance on Kangas.

I thought Josh Lunden was the most visible offensive player for UAA tonight. Crowder, Waldrop, Clark all contributed. Chris Tarkir looked really good tonight. He made a sweet rush wide where he stepped around the outside of a Gopher defender and broke in on the net that ended with a tight chance on Kangas. Suze said she thought he was playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and I'd agree. There were mistakes made here and there in the defensive end but I'd characterize the effort as mostly sound. They ended up clearing the pucks they needed to clear and/or blocked shots and more often than not started rushes with confidence and authority. I'm sure I could say something nice regarding most every Seawolf players tonight but eventually I want to get to bed since I started this late after a brief post game detour.

Lastly, I'm not one to try and second guess the coach here. But that said I've struggled to understand why Ken has only dressed 14 games in his first two season. He is from Winnipeg as is Kevin Clark so as an homage to their former Winnipeg NHL franchise I'll just say that Selby has "Jets" in his boots. Ken was arguably the fastest skater in Canadian Jr. A hockey in his age group. Since he has play sporadically over the first two years I've paid particular attention when he hits the ice so I could take note of what he's done. I try to do it with every player until I get a sense of what sort of player he is. And tonight I'd add that he plays with heart well as having great speed. I also think I've seen enough of him to say that he's been real good with the puck on his stick. The 4th line minutes tonight weren't what I call high either and Ken managed to be an impactful player in that limited role. Not to take away from any other forward on the team but in my eyes Selby deserves more regular chances in the lineup. There's any number of reasons that could have kept him out of the lineup as often as he has so rather than dwell on any of those I'd just hope that he dresses for every game that remains this season. Maybe that was some second guessing but so what. I don't do it much. I forgive me.


Anonymous said...

Please forgive me for "re-posting" what I posted at the end of the previous thread:

Kudos to the boys for the come-from-behind tie tonight… Great effort to come back from 2 goals down and tie it up! Congrats to Ken Selby on his first goal…

I do have to call BS on coach Shayak though for the lack of ice time he gave Selby tonight. The kid doesn’t get to play all season, he comes out tonight and get about 3 shifts and a 10 minute stint in the “sin bin” for Backstrom’s misconduct. Then he scores a beauty of a goal to tie the game late in the third. What’s he get for his efforts?? A seat on the bench for the rest of the night! And likely a seat in the stands for tomorrow night…

It seems to me you would reward the guys who produce with more ice time, not more time "riding the pine". Selby is one of the fastest skaters on the team, he has quick hands, good stick handling ability, and he can obviously score as he showed tonight coming in 1 on 1, using the D-man as a screen, and burying the puck… But apparently that warrants play in 4 games a year, taking every 5th shift on the 4th line. Maybe the coaches don’t like his defensive game or something (just a guess) but we certainly need something (someone) to jump-start the offence.

It’s fair to say, if any player has gotten the shaft by Shayak & Co. it’s Ken Selby… Give the kid a legitimate shot and play him on the top line just to shake things up.

p.s. The cycling game is ineffective… Note that neither goal tonight came off of the “cycle”.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon. We have had trouble scoring goals all season and we have a kid with good speed and puck handling skills and he is sitting in the red seats every night. When you aren't scoring goals as a team, things need to be shaken up, not just a bit but a lot sometimes. Play Selby more, put him on a line with Clark or Waldrop, give the kid a chance.

Anonymous said...

anon@810am..That post is tough to argue against. Lets see what happens tonight.

Frontroguy said...

Watched the game (in between a little napping) on FSN. Wow, what a difference it is when the announcers are watching the same feed we are. And, not a good difference either. They never seemed to get the audio synced up with the game either, so there was a lot of cheering that could be heard with nothing on ice to cause it.

That being said, it was a typica Gopher game. Start off with a bang, build a lead, and slowly let it slip a away. Nice to see Peltier join the rush for the 1st goal, that has been a rarity.

Hope to pace myself better, and watch the entire game tonight...

GL all!

Anonymous said...

Selby played great! I would love to see Shayak start playing him more. It's very obvious right away he has the skill to put the puck in the net, and the speed to burn some of the best defenseman. Also great Job to Paul Crowder.

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