Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preview Of A Turkey

I suppose if you're a Colorado College fan you're likely to think this is a turkey of a preview versus the title I've chosen.  Everybody figured that CC wouldn't be anywhere near 1st place in the league this season.  I think the highest I saw anyone of note pick them was around 6th.  So, did everyone including me underrate them?  Maybe ... maybe not.

They haven't exactly played a tough schedule.  They opened their regular season getting a split with Northeastern at the World Arena.  Northeastern is currently 5-5-1 with losses to foundering BU (4 wins), Maine (5 wins).  Next they won and tied at Wisconsin ... not bad results but those games could be looked at as two of Bucky's poorer efforts.  Next they hosted MTU and put up 12 goals in their sweep; CC scored 8 power play goals and 2 shorties in a series that saw 35 penalties called for 81 total minutes (only one major).

In their 3rd of 4 series at home they next hosted UMD.  The Duluthians took the first game and tanked on the 2nd night in a penalty-fest that UMD won 51 minutes to 26 but lost on the more important goals for/against stat.  The next weekend the Black Bears traveled to Mankato.  They won the first night with a power play goal on a semi-controversial penalty call in OT.  The second night CC cashed in on 2 of their 7 power plays for a 3-2 win.  Last weekend they faced an opponent in common with UAA beating Bob Morris 4-3 and 4-1.

My analysis of all that tells me a couple of things.  First, the Seawolves shit the bed versus Robert Morris.  So the fact that CC beat them twice is no surprise.  Second, their freaking power play is dangerous; they're 22 of 70 for a whopping 31.4 percent ... that's almost obscene.  In games where the play has been disrupted with lots of penalties the Black Bears have done very well.  But nothing they've done so far is anything I'd call impressive.

So I say they're definitely not as good as their 9-2-1 record would suggest.  They've had the benefit of an early season with 10 of their first 14 games at home (that includes this coming weekend versus UAA).  They haven't played Denver, North Dakota or Minnesota as yet.  I'm not impressed.

They're not a big or small team.  They've got 11 upperclassmen (8 seniors and 3 juniors).  Four freshman forwards seem to have been shuffled a bit in and out of the lineup.  The best player on the team is still senior Bill Sweatt but freshman Rylan Schwartz is currently 2nd overall in scoring.  The once highly hyped Tyler Johnson seems to be coming into his own this season and is their 3rd leading scorer.  Goal-wise speaking, senior Mike Testwuide is already more than halfway to his highest single season output with 6.  Freshman William Rapuzzi may also prove to be a bit of an offensive threat as he's bagged 4 in the 10 games he's played.  But I'm still not impressed.

The lack of impression they make on me doesn't automatically translate to a couple of Seawolves victories.  The Seawolves haven't exactly impressed me yet either eh?  So all the usual adjectives apply once again.  The team will have to be disciplined.  Staying out of the box versus these guys is paramount.  CC has shown a good ability to cash in with the man advantage.  I have to imagine that a focus on not taking penalties has been a watchword in practice and meetings this week.

No point in taking chances on marginal hits.  Keep the sticks off the opponent at all times.  The more 5 on 5 hockey that the Seawolves can play this weekend the better.  This year's CC team are the latest version of skating halos with the lowest penalty minutes per game at 13.8 per.  Referees know which teams take fewer penalties and so you can assume some tendency on their part to give the Black Bears the benefit of the doubt this weekend.

They're averaging nearly 35 shots a game but are giving up almost 31 per.  The Seawolves are giving up 28 per game but so far have only managed 21.  Which means that this weekend UAA players really need to find a way to get more rubber onto the net than they've done in any game this season.  And they have to combine that with a defensive effort that limits the Black Bear's chances.  That means blocking passing and shooting lanes and then giving up the body to block shots. 

Of course ... this is the most important series of the year to date.  Points are desperately needed.  Yes ... I said desperately.  I didn't want to characterize it that way but it fits.  Our guys haven't won a conference game on the road yet.  The team we just split with is just one point behind us in the standings.  The team in last place just two points behind us has 2 games in hand.  The team one point ahead of us in the standings doesn't play conference games this weekend so they'll have 2 games in hand.  And the team 3 points ahead of us in the standings is at DU this weekend.

Points ... points ... points ... must be had this weekend.  There are no mathematical eliminations of course this early in the season but hoping and/or planning for home ice really starts with some positive movement points-wise this weekend.  Otherwise, I'd classify the Seawolves as being in a hole.  And climbing out of WCHA holes is never easy.  Hopefully, the players understand that; they just have this series and next weekend before they get a nice long break.  They need to play these next two series as if they were the last two series of the season.  Nothing less than 100% effort must occur; yes ... must.


-30- said...

One would have believe CC is ready for a fall. All teams slump and this team has been playing over their heads since the season rolled out. They seem like very nice fellows. But every dog has his day. Let's see how anxious they are to play 120 minutes of physical hockey against this pack of Wolves. Seawolves have something to prove. Time to prove it. Me thinks they'll be flying this weekend. Call it a hunch.

Anonymous said...

I see a sweep coming.

Donald Dunlop said...

CC may indeed be ripe for a fall. At least we all hope they are. They should be nice and comfortable being at home. With the addition of it being a holiday they may not be quite as focused ... especially on Friday.

Of course, that's all hopeful speculation. The Seawolves will have to be on top of their game.

Anonymous said...

Dp you think our Team Canada North is having thanksgiving dinner or was that celebrated in October. .

Anonymous said...

Don't bet on CC being ripe for a fall at least not at home against UAA. Against the Seawolves at the CSWA CC holds a 19-1 record all time against Anchorage. In addition, Anchorage is one of the most heavily penalized teams in the nation which doesn't bode well for them as CC has an impressive power play. I say the Wolves are lucky to get one point.

ZZzz said...

Am I missing something?? Were you calling CC the Black Bears?

Go Wolves...

Donald Dunlop said...

Nobody is betting that CC is ripe for a fall. I see words like "may" and "think". I don't see anyone saying anything that could be construed as something akin to "bet".

Past seasons performance in sports is no indicator of future results. What happened last year or the year before or the year before or 6 six years ago has absolutely no bearing on the competitive aspects of this weekends contest. You'll never see me reference such statistics for exactly those seasons. The past is the past. It has no bearing on the future. To suggest otherwise is folly. It's bragging rights and nothing else.

A clear acknowledgement was given with regard to the Seawolves need to stay out of the box this coming weekend. Because the team took "nn" penalties yesterday doesn't mean that they'll take "nn" penalties tomorrow. That said, I would BET that CC gets whistled for fewer penalties than UAA this weekend. Higher placed/ranked teams virtually ALWAYS get the benefit of the doubt in referees minds (not just in this league or even this sport).

I hope nobody thinks I painted this weekend as anything other than a difficult task. It's possible to do exactly that while still painting things in the most positive possible light. Naysayers, negative-nannies and/or pretend objectivists can bite my ass.

I say the Wolves get 4 points this weekend. I'm a fan.

Donald Dunlop said...

Yes ... the CC Black Bears. I don't recognize their ridiculous actual name. The closest Tiger to Colorado is about 10,000 miles away. It's a ridiculous moniker for a college team. 25 years ago Black Bears would have been stupid as well since no Ursine species lived within the borders of that state. But there actually are Black Bears near to Colorado Springs nowadays.

I strongly believe that college nicknames should reflect something of the history, heritage, environment or whatever with regard to the local area where they are located. To name your school otherwise is ignorant IMO.

whocanremembertheirpassword? said...

Good luck Seawolves!

And tell those wackjobs down their to "FOCUS ON THEIR OWN DAMNED FAMILIES!" >:(

annabelle said...

Good luck to the boys this week-end.


Anonymous said...

Prediction for friday game.
3 to 2 for uaa

Clark 1 goal and 1 assist
Grant 1 goal and 1 assist
Haddad 2 assists.
Baldwin 1 goal, assist from backstrom.
All the best in colorado.

Anonymous said...

Whos in net

Anonymous said...

Is there any bars that will have it on

Donald Dunlop said...

There's usually a group of blueliners that go to the Pepper Mill and have watch parties but I wouldn't begin to guess if that's the case where the only video option is B2.

Best bet would be to give the Pepper Mill a call and ask them. Either that or some kind blueliner named Richard might show up here and provide the info.

As for who gets the call between the pipes today .... I"m not going to guess.

Anonymous said...

I am a booster, and generally get an email when there is a watch party at the Peppermill. I didn't get one for this series, so I have to assume it's not going to happen.

Bryce BETTER start in net, and that is all I am going to say about THAT. I don't think we have won a league game yet with Olthuis in net.

Donald Dunlop said...

Lines for tonight ...
Grant, Haddad, Clark
Spencer, Naslund, Wiles
Portwood, Parkinson, Crowell
Bruijsten, Geller, Currier

Backstrom, Vidmar
Baldwin, Lafranchise
Leinweber, Tuton

Bryce is listed on the left side of the sheet and Olthuis on the right side. Not sure if that means Bryce starts.

Sorry I didn't have a game day thread but between not having any heat in my house (blown pipe), procuring the copper, flux, solder, and torch, fixing the leak, turning the furnace back on, taking my pops to the ER (knee), changing the tires over on my ex's car (snow), renewing my drivers license (expired 6 mos ago), picking up pain meds and of course getting all my xmas shopping done (none), it's been pretty busy.

Hooray for sitting down finally and hooray the old man is settled in and medicated!

I'll be listening to the game on the radio since I've got another errand to run during gametime. But I'll put up the low rent chat room sometime before gametime.

On Wolves said...

My fan prediction: 3-2 Wolves

My realistic prediction (taking into account what I've seen this year on Fridays, to say nothing of road games): 6-1 CC

Suze said...

Wow Donald, I hope you had heat for Thanksgiving! Is your pops okay?

Donald Dunlop said...

Dad is fine ... had no heat yesterday. So I'm thankful that I went to a friends for a big meal and I'm thankful that it finally got to be Friday so I could buy the stuff I needed to fix it.

Anonymous said...

no goaltending, no defence, stupid penalties from freshman.
Power play, 2nd line starts, than clark and grant get out for 20 seconds. Penaltly kill units puts out seniors and juniors after we are down 4 - 0.
Not sure what shyiak does after all these years.
Looked like alot of players packed in in early.
Hopefullly clark and grant and the upperclassman can pull out a better game tomorrow.
That's about it.
Denver beat st. cloud 4 to 0.
Seems to be 2 tiers in the wcha this year.

Anonymous said...

No offense at all again. We need GOALS to win. The 5 on 3 was spectacular as well.

Anonymous said...

Injuries are hurting this team, we don't have the depth in the lineup.
Not sure we are so terrible on fridays.

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