Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spewing On The Gophers

Today I figured the best thing I can do is spew out everything on my mind about the Gophers. I included the above video just as a reminder. It was a good game and a good example of exactly how the team will have to play to win. That's not the point of writing all this but to summarize ... the Seawolves will have to play like they did the last period and OT against DU and the last two periods against SCSU. That fire, that passion and that effort are required. The specifics of all that are for tomorrow. Today, it's all Gopher.

Quite simply the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers program and its fans can claim just about any "best of" title with regard to college hockey. They have the long and storied history dripping with tradition, success and respect. Every team that plays against them gets up for them. They play in the premier college hockey arena in the country. I doubt any real Gopher would go into the bathrooms at Mariucci to take a dump. Seriously, the joint is like a shrine to Gopher hockey. Shrine's are religious right? Okay then the Mariucci has got to be pretty much like a church to Gopher fans. Right on I say. If I was a Gopher fan I'd hit the head at my house before I headed out to the John.

Yeah ... it's a better rink than the Ralph. Why? Because it was built for hockey and nothing but hockey. The Ralph wasn't and they play hockey on a stupid NHL sized sheet. The college hockey crowd in Minnesota recognized that the game is better on an full sheet.

Not everything in Gopher-land is sunny and beautiful. With one of the most active outspoken fanbases in D1 they have their share of nutbags, rubes and diletantes that almost rival the huge number of St. Cloud morons. There's more than a few this past week or so busting on Gopher goaltender Alex Kangas. I thought that was hilarious. I think I watch just about see as many Gopher games as Seawolf games (certainly more than any other team). They aren't struggling because of their goaltender. They have some defensive weaknesses that have been getting exploited. There's lots of speculation that the backup will see time against the Seawolves because UAA is a "bottom tier" team. Not the brightest thing for a fan of the Gophers to say considering they have all of a 3 point lead on that "bottom tier" team (though they do have two games in hand).

Against UND, Mankato and Wisconsin the Gophers got beaten by opportunism and determination. They've been giving up odd man rushes in droves over the last few weeks. Lots of Gopher fans would put that problem on their blueliners. Nope. They are not getting the kind of backchecking they should be getting. The Gophers like to start fast and the longer that doesn't turn into scoring then the more frustration sets in and the Gopher forwards start pushing and pressing. And all too often they've been caught pressing. So all that said ... If I were Lucia, Kangas would be playing both nights and I'd tell him that yesterday.

I think that with all the hope we UAA fans have that our team will start taking fewer penalties that we should just forget about it. Even if the boys all suddenly wore halos they'd still get more calls against them. That isn't a bright sign for the weekend. Because there is almost never a Gopher team that can't move the puck around the offensive zone on a string during a power play. The Seawolves will need to limit good looks by the Gophers and always be aware of the back door opportunities. But if the Seawolves get penalized too much the Gophers are likely to make them pay. Conversely, the Seawolves will need to make the best of the fewer power play chances they're likely to get.

I think UAA is a much better hockey team than last year. I'm not convinced that Minnesota is. That doesn't automatically mean that the Seawolves leave Minneapolis with points though. The games of course are in the players hands. It's a matter of them taking it one puck challenge at a time, one shift at a time, one period at a time and one game at a time. Much laser-like focus on the task at hand is called for. If Seawolf players decide they are going to play the way they already know they are capable of playing then I'd think more than 2 points from this series isn't out of the realm of reasonable possibilities.

27 comments:

Suze said...

Thanks for the highlights of last years game! I remember watching that one, it was waaaay fun.

Do it again Seawolves, I know you can!

Anonymous said...

May want to swap SCSU for Mankato on the teams that have beat the Gophers recently. SCSU beating the Gophers. Funny stuff.
Anyway, nice article. The Seawolves have a knack for giving the Gophers all they can handle and this Gopher fan wouldn't be surprised to see UAA take 3 of 4 points this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Want to get the gophers rattled make clark, grant and hunt temporary captains and assistants for the weekend. They will drive minnesota crazy.

Seawolfe fan

seawolvesfan said...

"Seawolfe fan"

why do you spell like that?

Anonymous said...

Funny how you can judge if a building is better than another with never being at either.

sitkafan said...

A friend of mine said he saw Tommy in a sling, any idea whats up and if he will be playing this weekend?

Anonymous said...

Tommy separated his shoulder at practice.

Anonymous said...

anon 1:22, I couldn't agree more. I've been to 3 NHL arenas, Xcel Engery Center, Staples Center, and Honda Center, and I'm not going to go about telling you how Bell Centre compares to the garage in Vancouver. Some good info on this blog at times, lots of questionable judgements about places this guy has never been to.

Anonymous said...

Jay Beagle made NHL debut tonight. No goals or assists but sounds like he still did well. Doyle's blog has some things about it.

Donald Dunlop said...

RalphLovers:
It's a virtual world fellas. There are these things called pictures. The Ralph outdoes the Hoochie in glitz and amenities no doubt ... which would be enough for most people to put it at #1. But it's got that NHL sized sheet so in my book it can't be the best arena.

OtherReaders:
Notice how just one minor slight to the land of NoDak and the comments from there start?

Donald Dunlop said...

Wasn't Beags "Suze's" favorite player?

Anonymous said...

I hope this week-end is just as exciting as this video was and has the same outcome.

GO SEAWOLVES!!!! !

444 said...

Great read on the Gophers. You hit the nail on the head. I dont' understand why people believe Kangas is the problem.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Jay. It's good to see things working out for you.


P.S Probably the hardest working player I have seen wearing a Seawolf Jersey in my 5 years as a student here.

Suze said...

Yup Donald, Jay was indeed my favorite player. Just tonight I was telling Bob that Parkinson reminds me of Jay in many ways. Both are tenacious players who never quit.

It would have been fun to see Jay 2 more years at UAA, but I am so happy for him. He's a great young man and deserves this!

Anonymous said...

If beagle was still center between clark and lunden they would be tearing up the wcha.
All the best to Jay Beagle, the team from three years ago is starting to have success at the next level, beaverson, lawson and chad anderson. All the best to them and continued success to the seawolfes against the gophers.

Fan

Suze said...

Beags, Clark & Lunden, wow - that would have been fun to watch. I was remembering the talk that Jay and I had in Fairbanks. He didn't play because he injured his eye (got hit with a puck) at a pick up game during Christmas break.

He wasn't seeing so well, and didn't know if he'd get all of his vision back. SO glad he doesn't have any issues in regard to that injury! And speaking of eye injuries, anyone know how Matt Gordon is doing?

seawolvesfan said...

seawolfes-no seawolves. spell it right. and yeah how is gordon doing? you think doyle wouldve written something about him now thats its been a year since he got injuried.

Anonymous said...

LOL seawolves fan, you pick on people for their spelling, and you can't even capitalize two peoples names. Write it right. :)

Anonymous said...

444 fan said:
I think the problem is the defenseman. None of them knows where the blue line is.

seawolvesfan said...

"LOL seawolves fan, you pick on people for their spelling, and you can't even capitalize two peoples names. Write it right. :)

February 12, 2009 8:08 AM"

well Anon.....i was in a hurry, sorry i dont have the unlimited free time as you cleary have. taking that extra second to cap something is the difference between getting caught on the internet in class when your not supposed to. and also doyle doesnt deserve to be CAPed in my eyes-still hate his writing and the 70/30 ratio in terms of ACES/SEAWOLVES in his blog does nothing to help him out.

Suze said...

Wolfman, I received my Seawolves flag today! Very cool! Boy, they sure shipped that fast.

Any thoughts on how to get the deep creases out of it?

Anonymous said...

anon@10:27
Defensemen the problem?? Funny. They don't know where the blue line is? Again funny. Even funnier is that the forwards don't know where the net is.

sitkafan said...

I saw on collegehockeynews.com under the injury report that Jeremy Smith is injured with a broken wrist and is out for the remainder of the season. His one point that he got was an assist against Mercyhurst while playing in Fairbanks back in October.
Is he really out for the rest of the season and the rest of his UAA career?

Donald Dunlop said...

I hope not but if that's what it says ...

I'd have loved for him to get a chance to play against UAF.

Time to win some games for the Smither!

Jimjamesak said...

You're welcome for the video Donald :p

Anonymous said...

Im going to watch the games on my big screen projector. Should be fun!!!!!

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