Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday: Bucky 3 - Seawolves 2

I wasn't feeling particularly well before game time so I stayed home and watched the game on the web.

1st Period:
The boys have a 2-0 lead to show for a quality effort after a 34 day rest. There was really no apparent rink rust. Bryce Christianson got the unusual Friday start. I was impressed with Tyler Moir's effort in that period. He showed some strength on the puck. He had multiple shot attempts and really looked good to me. Kevin Clark had a great moment showing his leadership early in the period. Carrying the puck with speed he dished it deep at the blueline and then beat the Badger D to the puck. Then with determination (with a Badger D man catching a ride on his back) he brought it out from behind and fed Josh Lunden on the back door for an clean goal. Exactly the sort of leadership and effort the team needs. Then the same sort of effort led to the 2nd goal. A bucky D man fell while defending against Crowder behind the net. As Paul was disentangling himself from the fallen player he got tripped, got up, took a step forward and shoved the puck across the front of the net. A deflection or two later it end up on Grant's stick and he lifted a strong backhand shot past Connelly (while the ref had the arm up for the trip on Crowder). Good to see Nils Backstrom deep in the zone looking for a rebound but he didn't get the goal as announced. Great start.

2nd Period:
Saying the 2nd period wasn't a great one for UAA would be an understatement. It isn't that the Badgers got two goals although of course that isn't ever what you want to see. I thought the Seawolves were running around for much of that period. I thought Shane Lovdahl was one player who was sharp and focused but not many other guys really looked on top of their game. He made an intensely tight little trick pass through backhanded through his own legs as he stood near the corner of the Wisconsin net. Kurt and David had been commenting on how good Shane's hands are just previous to the play. The highlight of the period though was a 2-on-0 rush by Crowder and Grant that Connelly saved. Maybe one less or one more pass and they would have finished but saying that isn't meant impugn the attempt. I thought the penalty on Backstrom was bullshit but you certainly had to expect it after UAA had a 5-on-3 PP chance ... WCHA refs seem to ALWAYS even that sort of thing out. Should be a barn barner of a 3rd period. I only hope the Seawolves come out refocused and redouble their effort.

3rd Period:
The Badgers tonight scored all three of their goals either in the first minute or last minute of periods. No power play goals for the Seawolves. 2 power play goals for Bucky. Shyiak says, "disheartening". I say, "shit on a shingle". When you're up 2-0 and end up losing 3-2 I think it's a lot worse than disheartening. It's an opportunity that was essentially pissed away. Bryce played well enough for the team to win but got no goal support. Connelly didn't so much save Wisconsin as much as UAA simply wasn't able to finish.

Other thoughts:
As much as I love Shane Lovdahl and Jeremy Smith they just aren't forwards. Personally, I'd like to see that experiment end. Don't get me wrong. I think both guys contributed here and there to the offensive effort. Shane is playing the point on the power play and I like that. But as big as Jeremy's heart is the fact of the matter is that he doesn't have the wheels or the stick skills of Ken Selby. I'm always disappointed when Selby doesn't play. I'll never figure out why. Admittedly, one player probably isn't going to make a huge difference but Ken can skate, puck handle and shoot the puck MUCH better than Jeremy. Sorry Jeremy bud ... I love ya but it's just not working bud. I'm sure Nick Haddad is skating with Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark to add a physical presence to that line. But the reality is that Josh and Kevin spend more time along the boards working for a chance than Nick does. Nick doesn't have scorers hands either as evidenced by more than a couple of chances tonight that perhaps another forward would have finished.

I don't envy any head coach ... I think making the lines is probably the hardest part of the job. But it is a very very important part of the job. Right now Shyiak is trying to spread the skill around the top three lines. Perhaps it's time to put together 2 scoring lines instead of hoping for 3 that can score. I'd opt to move Brian Bales off the 3rd line to skate with Clark and Lunden. And then I'd leave Wiles with Crowder and Grant. My third line would be Moir, Parkinson and Portwood. My checking line would be Jared Tuton, Nick Haddad and Selby. The power play tonight had real problems with the initial setup. When the Seawolves did gain solid control in the Wisconsin end they moved the puck fairly well. But their inability (rink rust?) to gain the zone consistently was a negative factor.

It was a frustrating loss to watch. I'm sure it was a frustrating game to play in. Let's hope for a different outcome tomorrow night. It is crucial to get two points. CRUCIAL.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Going 0 for 8 on the power play is not going to win many games in the WCHA. UAA is losing their games to special teams, and they have to improve both their PP and PK.

Donald, I agree about Shane. He played a solid game, and he has one rocket of a shot. The guys did too much standing around, and didn't hustle for the puck. Maybe it was partly conditioning since they have been off for so long, but I didn't see them do all the little things.

PK wasn't as aggressive. They usually attack more and have their sticks swinging back and forth trying to intercept a pass ... wasn't happening tonight.

Passing could be a lot better too. I wonder if we'll see Leinweber suited up tomorrow? I agree, I would take Selby over Smith any day. FREE SELBY.

seawolvesfan said...

maybe coach has a reason why selby doesnt suit up much? personal reason? character problem? breaks team policies? just saying...agree that 0-8 on PP is not gonna cut it. special teams didnt show consitentency and intensity. bad beat.

seawolvesfan said...

9 comments in the last 4 posts for me [(not counting this one)most for a single person] where are the fanatics? cmon, make your opinion and voice heard!

Zzzz said...

Donald I agree with your assesment of the game but I have to say I don't think Selby belongs on the 4th (checking)line. Its not his game. I think he deserves to play with a couple other forwards that can move the puck. I thought Moir had a strong game tonight but Parkinson is in a Sophomore slump and needS to find a way to the back of the net. Bales was around the puck all night but his passing was off, can't count the number of passes he just "threw" to nobody... Selby should be playing in every game and deserves a legitimate shot on one of the top lines. C'MON COACH, FREE SELBY...

Anonymous said...

The begining of the second half stumble.

Donald Dunlop said...

To Everyone Regarding Selby:
I don't want anyone to think that I think Ken Selby is the next Wayne Gretzky. BUT, the kid can skate like the wind, I've noticed NO obvious weaknesses when he has the puck on his stick. If Shyiak sees something that I don't see then I absolutely have to respect that. But that doesn't change my head scratching ... He was one of the fastest kids in his age group in Canada as an 18 year old.

If there is a character issue regarding practices or in general then that is something that I couldn't poosibly know about. But if it isn't anything along those lines then PLEASE ... for godssakes lets see him on the ice for every game between now and when his career ends at the end of next season.

So sure I agree ... stick him up with Clark and Lunden and see how that goes or skate him with Crowder and Grant for a game.

The team obviously needs more production. I don't think anyone could argue that Ken Selby can be a threat moving forward. Maybe he is the worst backchecking forward in the history of hockey ... I don't know ... but he always looks good going forward and after all ... the team needs more offense.

As to Leinweber ...
I think he didn't have his best game. The kid is really a threat offensively but he did make a couple of tough mistakes in his own end. For lack of a better description I'd characterize his errors as "freshman" mistakes. It happens. I know by his quotes in the "established" media that he really really really is dying to hit the ice and make something happen. I can forgive his errors (for now) because of the potential I see for him to contribute offensively. I think if he has a fault that it is he wants to make something happen so badly that he could burst.

Anon@1205:
Bite me.

Anonymous said...

Donald I have read your blog now for a few years now and 99% of the time I love your assessment of the games and players, it’s one of my favorite weekly activities (I need to get out more). For one of the first times though I am surprised by your views. First of all is Shelby which you keep bringing up. No doubt he is fast and can stick handle, but that doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have any hockey sense. Hockey sense is not just what you do with the puck but what you do the rest of the time (which is probably 90% of the time, and important for a 4th liner). The world of Junior and college hockey has plenty of theses fast stick handlers, but it doesn’t mean they get to go somewhere because they can win a race and look pretty (that’s what shootouts are for). If the coach isn’t skating him it is either because of his off puck play, or he has to many players to juggle that fit the “fast stick handler role,” maybe Shelby isn’t fitting his system (that’s the players job). Speed is important but if your “hockey dumb” it only gets you so far. As to this “checking line” you talk of. The job of a 4th line is two fold: one) don’t get scored on, and two) tire the opponent giving your top lines a breather. This is done with physical play and more important an ability to stay on task (control, back checking, off puck positioning, ect.). Not to score goals, stick handle, or be offensive. If it happens now and then great! but it is not your job. I fail to see how Smith and Lovdahl have not been fulfilling this roll, and how the fast stick handler should be a priority. I am in no way saying those two are the best guys for a forward position, (Lovdahl is a top 6 at least D man and should be played there) but I do think they are doing their jobs as 4th liners. There are three other lines that should have been sharper last night and scored more goals. I agree with you on the NEED to put two scoring lines together with two lines of grinders. It would be a great way to showcase the offense the team has, and have two full lines to showcase size (as long as we stay out of the box).
Thanks for the breakdown of the game they are always appreciated!
“Some Guy”

Anonymous said...

The coaches had better re-think a couple of things. Lafranchise should be playing. Selby should be playing. The power play needs to get an overhaul.

Anonymous said...

Everyone looked rusty, and what else could anyone expect? What did concern me, however, was the body language on the bench. Down by just one goal in the third, and the bench looked almost defeatist, like here we go again. Time to shake it up. If top two line guys are not leading, look down the bench.

Suze said...

I also thought the players looked defeated. A lot of heads hanging, and they just looked tired.

I imagine after such a long break, conditioning did come into play.

Redeem yourselves Wolves. Let's not give the Badgers 8 points on the season. They aren't THAT good!

ZzzzzZ said...

Lets be clear, I don't think that ANYONE is hailing Ken Selby as the "next coming" of The Great One... I do disagree with Anon: 6:47’s assessment that maybe Selby isn't playing because the coach has "to many players to juggle that fit the “fast stick handler role,”"

I don't think the Seawolves are fortunate enough to be cursed with too many "fast stick handlers". Unfortunately, we have too many forwards that, while they show potential, are not contributing offensively. None of the forwards on the team, with the exception of Crowder and Grant have shown consistent point production this season. Whether that is the coaches fault (for not coming up with effective line combinations) or the players fault (for lack of execution) the fact remains that a shakeup is needed to spur additional offensive production, especially on the power play. All I am saying with the "Free Selby" talk is that after 3 years of sparing duty on the 4th line, I think the kid deserves a legitimate shot on one of the top 2 lines... He doesn't fit the role of a 4th line forward and should get a shot to play on one of the scoring lines and see what he can do on the power play.

Anonymous said...

How can we even get excited about this August Aiken kid when coach doesn't play a guy like Selby. Has Brian Bales all but disappeared? Lunden got a goal, but where was he the rest of the night?

Anonymous said...

Its to bad because Bryce played a great game last night and to not get the win was a crime .. If UAA doesnt get the Power play going we are in big trouble...The first game in Wisconsin was the same thing as last night... UAA didnt score on the 5 on 3 so guess what BALL GAME OVER IN THE WCHA!!!!!! ITS ALL COMING DOWN TO THE POWERPLAY AND WILL FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON.. I know Donald...No SHIT SHERLOCK...lol

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin beat us to the puck all night long, beat us up along the boards and physically man handled us, they wanted it more and have more talent. If they bring that game again tonight I expect the same results.

Anonymous said...

We are just as talented.

GO SEAWOLVES!!!! !

Anonymous said...

Wow. The power play again was disasterous. Wisconsin's 5th goal was a direct result of a screw up on the pp. Let's hope next week-end we see different Seawolves out there on the pp.

Anonymous said...

PP and PK need a ton of work. This team had no heart tonight, no will to win. Passing was horrible, this was the worst I have seen them play all year.

Get ready for Mankato, guys. Four losses in a row, gotta make some noise next weekend.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1007

its five losses in a row, u forget about the heartbreaker to cc?

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