Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The 08-09 Schedule

I've copied this seasons schedule at the bottom of this post. It's useful to look at the matchups and changes from past years. Home games are in CAPS and Conference games have an asterisk.

The major change (that some Seawolf fans aren't going to like) is that UAA and UAF play only twice this year in a home and home series at the end of February. The 4 games per year to contest the Governors Cup are a thing of the past. Dropping two games against our instate rival opens up the schedule for two non-conference games against a larger diversity of opponent. This has the potential to improve the "Out-Of-Conference" component when calculating PWR for NCAA playoff participation. It is an important and necessary step. Every year it seems that some team in the WCHA misses out on the NCAA's due to PWR calculations and often the key factor is their record in non-conference games and the strength of those opponents. This situation also makes those two games very very important. Both teams always contested the four games with vigor; but with only two games for the trophy, I expect even more intensity.

This move also allowed the other big change to the schedule from past seasons. UAA and UAF are hosting their tournaments cooperatively. The "Kendall Classic" comes first on October 10th and 11th. The following weekend the Seawolves will travel north for the "Brice Alaska Goal Rush" in Fairbanks. Both tournaments use a fixed schedule format. In Anchorage UAA and UAF will both play Connecticut and Northeastern. In Fairbanks they'll both face Maine and Mercyhurst. From an attendance perspective this should be a boon for both programs. Typically (no matter who attends) any tournament games that don't include the home team are marginally attended. I watched a great RMU/BU game last season with probably no more than 1000 other people in the rink. I can imagine that plenty of Seawolf fans will show up to watch Northeastern beat UAF. Conversely, UAF fans will likely show up in droves to see UAA play Maine. Of course there are UAF fans that live in Anchorage and UAA fans that live in Fairbanks as well. I congratulate Forrest Karr and Steve Cobb for this scheduling agreement. It's a good idea and should prove to be valuable for both teams over time.

The next change is the mid-season break over the holidays. In the past I've wondered what effect the holiday break may or may not have had on the teams second half performance. The last two seasons saw dramatically worse results in the second half and both of those seasons included a shorter break for the players. I think the longer break this year (from Dec 7th thru Jan 9th) will be one of the factors that improves the second half record. The players will have to ensure that they get some workouts in during the break so that they don't lose any intensity from the first half. They'll have to be responsible; and that is always a concept for the players at this level that must be adhered to closely. But I think the chance to spend quality time with their friends and families at home is important.

This season the unbalanced conference schedule means that we won't see the Gophers or Pioneers at the Sullivan and the team won't have to travel to Colorado Springs (woohoo! no crappy webcast with the disturbing floating Tiger head!) or the National Concrete Center in St. Cloud. From the looks of things (i.e... how the WCHA will likely shake out) it's a pretty favorable schedule for the Seawolves. The longest road trip will be the first road trip of the year to Houghton on Oct 31/Nov 1 to face MTU. After all that, it's pretty standard stuff.
Thu, Sep 25 U.S. NATIONAL UNDER-18 TEAM Wasilla, Alaska 7:07 pm
Sat, Oct 04 UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Wasilla, Alaska 7:07 pm
Fri, Oct 10 Northeastern vs Alaska Fairbanks at SULLIVAN ARENA 5:07 pm
Fri, Oct 10 CONNECTICUT SULLIVAN ARENA 8:07 pm
Sat, Oct 11 Connecticut vs Alaska Fairbanks at SULLIVAN ARENA 4:07 pm
Sat, Oct 11 NORTHEASTERN SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Oct 17 Maine at Fairbanks, Alaska 4:35 pm
Sat, Oct 18 Mercyhurst at Fairbanks, Alaska 4:35 pm
Fri, Oct 24 MINNESOTA DULUTH * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Oct 25 MINNESOTA DULUTH * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Oct 31 Michigan Tech * at Houghton, Mich. 3:07 pm
Sat, Nov 01 Michigan Tech * at Houghton, Mich. 3:37 pm
Fri, Nov 07 MINNESOTA STATE * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Nov 08 MINNESOTA STATE * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Nov 14 North Dakota * at Grand Forks, N.D. 4:37 pm
Sat, Nov 15 North Dakota * at Grand Forks, N.D. 4:07 pm
Fri, Nov 21 COLORADO COLLEGE * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Nov 22 COLORADO COLLEGE * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Dec 05 Wisconsin * at Madison, Wis. 4:07 pm
Sat, Dec 06 Wisconsin * at Madison, Wis. 4:07 pm
Fri, Jan 09 WISCONSIN * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Jan 10 WISCONSIN * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Jan 16 Minnesota State * at Mankato, Minn. 4:37 pm
Sat, Jan 17 Minnesota State * at Mankato, Minn. 4:07 pm
Fri, Jan 23 MICHIGAN TECH * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Jan 24 MICHIGAN TECH * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Jan 30 Denver * at Denver, Colo. 5:37 pm
Sat, Jan 31 Denver * at Denver, Colo. 5:07 pm
Fri, Feb 06 ST. CLOUD STATE * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Feb 07 ST. CLOUD STATE * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Feb 13 Minnesota * at Minneapolis, Minn. 4:07 pm
Sat, Feb 14 Minnesota * at Minneapolis, Minn. 4:07 pm
Fri, Feb 20 NORTH DAKOTA * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Sat, Feb 21 NORTH DAKOTA * SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Feb 27 Alaska Fairbanks at Fairbanks, Alaska 7:05 p.m.
Sat, Feb 28 ALASKA FAIRBANKS SULLIVAN ARENA 7:07 pm
Fri, Mar 06 Minnesota Duluth * at Duluth, Minn. 4:07 pm
Sat, Mar 07 Minnesota Duluth * at Duluth, Minn. 4:07 pm

7 comments:

Kris said...

Favorable schedule, should have upper class scoring and looking for a breakout season for McCabe. Why are there always reasons for optimism only to be disappointed by the end of the season?

I hope this can be the year for turning the corner and starting something good. I think this program is headed in the right direction.

The Alumnus

Donald Dunlop said...

Kris,
I think your question sums up this coming season. We see as much talent on this years squad as we have ever had in Seawolf jerseys. The disappointment in the last couple of years came in the second half. I know that Shyiak and staff know that. The key will be to find a way to be more competitive in the second half. It isn't easy to pin down the probable causes for those two collapses but that is what they'll (coaches) have to do to raise this team out of the basement.

Individual player performances are going to be a BIG part of it. Upperclassmen will have to increase their production across the board. Potential that we saw from freshman last year will have to turn into production. Our goaltenders will have to play at the top of their games night in and night out and sometimes they'll have to stand on their heads.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is talent, but no break out talent. No game changers or dominators, you know the guy you have to shut down if you want to beat the Seawolves. That player isn't there. We should win our share of games, I am guessing 12-13 overall games and about 9 conference games.

Kris said...

So how long has Chris at the western blog hated anything Alaska??? I have really noticed this summer. I wonder if it was not always there and the fact that Mankato always sucked just kept him from saying anything, now that Mankato had one good season he thinks that he is all that. It's either that or just the fact that Minnesota has nothing else on Alaska and now that we put forward a Veep candidate its game over for the land of ten thousand lakes, at least in his eyes. I am actually partial to Minnesota. That is where my Dad grew up and still have family down there.

It is also really hard to type with a band aid on the tip of your finger. Stupid work injuries.

Anonymous is correct though. I have felt for a long time that we need a break out game changer type. Same thing with the Minnesota Twins (my baseball team). Maybe Clark, Lunden or Crowder can step it up and be that guy or one of our goalies. I think that Bryce has the potential to be that guy while Johnny O will always be that steady goalie that doesn't give games away but doesn't steal them either. We shall see what tomorrow holds, God willing.

Donald Dunlop said...

Chris is doing everything his Michigan ass can do to suck up to whatever readership (above 16 years old) that he thinks he has in Minnesota. His usefulness is limited to conglomerating widely accepted lists of 15 year old hockey players. Do not ever expect anything positive on his blog regarding the Seawolves because he knows what I think of his blog.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't see that much favorable with the schedule. Befor New Years, you have a stretch of Mankato (very solid this year), at UND, home to CC (loaded), and at Wisco (Kohl Center atmosphere). Then after New Years, except for Tech, which I expect to be horrible this year, you get a stretch of Wisco, at Mankato, Tech, at DU, SCSU, at UM, and UND. Where's the "favorable" in that schedule. Yes, every WCHA team has tough stretches, but I don't see a stretch where you play subpar teams in a row in the WCHA. You actually could start out 4-0 in the WCHA with a home series with UMD and then at Tech, but you'd better make hay there, otherwise its an uphill battle the rest of the way. The only break in the schedule you get is that you only get league-favorite CC at home for one series.

Kris said...

The team doesn't go to SCSU or CC which are two of the biggest problem arenas for our team historically. I think we have won a game in each of those stadiums. We might not have actually won yet in St. Cloud either. Skipping those two road games is big and I don't think Mankato is all that and a bag of chips. They had a really big up year for them last year. I don't know if they can repeat that.

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