Saturday, November 21, 2009

Seawolves 4 - Mavericks 1



The Seawolves used a disciplined workman-like effort to earn a victory and some small measure of redemption after the brutally ugly loss on Friday night.  The two WCHA points were crucial in the standings and keeps Mankato and Michigan Tech looking up.  UAA now sits one point behind the Gophers for 7th place and 3 behind 6th place St. Cloud.

Jade Portwood got UAA on the board early at 1:44 of the 1st period with a bit of a sneaky surprise wrister to the far corner from near the boards at the top of the circle.  It was a solid shot that looked to completely surprise Mankato netminder Kevin Murdock.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

The Seawolves had 3 power plays in the 1st period that they were unable to convert including some 2 man advantage time.  It was somewhat of an evenly played 1st period but the extra penalties in the Seawolves favor gave them the momentum overall.

Just 1:25 into the 2nd period, Tommy Grant broke Kevin Clark with a nice little tip/steal/pass and they broke in clean for a 2 on 1.  Kevin delayed nicely waiting for the pass to open up and as soon as the defenseman committed he laid it onto Tommy's stick for the finish.  I couldn't read Tommy's lips from that far away but I'm betting he said, "Thank you" to Clarkie.

With the Mavericks shorthanded at 4:34 the Seawolves picked up their lone power play goal of the night when Luka Vidmar found Clarkie on the backdoor and Kevin sweetly guided it home to make it 3-0.  With the penalty calls at that point 5 to 1 in UAA's favor you could smell a make-up call coming and at 5:27 Lee Baldwin got tagged with a ridiculous interference call.  The Mavericks power play cashed in at 6:13 when some dufus in a purple uniform passed the puck to some other dufus and eventually some other dufus in purple knocked it in.  But even that goal didn't detract from a strong overall performance by the Seawolves over the period.

With the score 3-1 heading into the third you could guarantee that some even-it-up action was in the works.  In the 3rd period UAA was whistled for 6 penalties.  Fortunately though, the Mavericks got tagged with 5 of their own.  In any case, most of the 3rd period was fairly evenly played.  The Seawolves had to kill off some 5 on 3 time and Mankato definitely threatened a couple of times.  As the period waned Mankato picked up their efforts and had much territorial advantage over the last 6 minutes or so.

Jutting pulled Murdock later than I would have considering how much pressure his team was generating.  It mattered not though because Nick Haddad (who was the best penalty killer all night) launched a perfect shot off the glass which looked destined to go in the empty net but Tommy Grant won a race with some puke in a purple jersey to finish the scoring.

Bryce was reasonably solid in the net.  The Mankato goal that got past him because Jared Tuton was dropping to block the shot and he was screened.  The shot went between Jared's legs and Bryce just didn't have enough time to react once he saw it.

Shots on the night were 25 - 22 in UAA's favor.  Here's the boxscore.  It was a win that wouldn't have happened without everyone playing well.  Everyone on the team should get a pat on the back.  I thought Nils Backstrom had a very strong game defensively.  One of his better showings so far this season though I wouldn't characterize any of his play in earlier games as substandard.  Kevin Clark showed the sort of active play in all three zones that the team needs from him for success.  Craig Parkinson had a solid outing and won some key faceoffs.  His penalty killing was solid as well.  I briefly mentioned Nick Haddad's penalty killing efforts and they shouldn't be overlooked.  His hustle and hard work set a good example for the rest of the team.  Congrats to everyone for their good efforts.

Friday night after the game Coach Shyiak said that in order to win that "it starts at the back" and tonight that's exactly what happened.  Bryce's solid play combined with excellent defensive work from all the blueliners and strong backchecking from all the forwards made the difference.

Obviously the weekend wasn't all we hoped it would be.  Friday night's score was embarrassing and all that ... but the win tonight means two points.  It keeps UAA ahead of Mankato in the standings at least.  For me one win though isn't necessarily a silver lining.  This team has self-destructed enough for a full season in these first 14 games.  Beat Mercyhurst, implode vs. Michigan; Beat RPI then choke against Bob Mo;  don't show up against UND the first night then beat them on Saturday; implode against the Gophers then play better but lose by about the same score on the Sunday game; then owned by Bucky twice; now suicide on Friday before a solid game tonight?

Consistency has been the recognized and talked about problem for the last couple of years.  Whatever it is that needs to be found to improve the consistency needs to be found sooner rather than later.  I wish I knew what it was.  I know there are lots of people expressing themselves here in comments and on USCHO that think they know.  Well ... at least I have something solid to write about tomorrow in my usual Sunday Potpourri.  There's a lot I have to say so expect it to be a long one.

17 comments:

Jimjamesak said...

Repost from USCHO to here. And sorry Donald, dunno what happened, apparently people can't read.

While I don't think 10 seasons may be the number, taking a deep breath and looking over things it seems maybe I was too quick to speak (and the win tonight did not cause that, I actually thought this about 5:00pm AK time but I was at work and couldn't post). I don't think Shyiak should be taking all the blame. I think with the way things have been going a lot of frustration is boiling over and people want something done. A new arena, some wins, home ice, back to the Final 5, something tangible. Things have been the same for the last 15 years or so and patience is wearing very thin. I directed my anger toward Shyiak and I was wrong for doing so.

Donald Dunlop said...

I take most of such things as coming from an emotional basis. I think that's understandable. The frustration that exists in our fanbase isn't unreasonable.

I think tomorrow I'll say a lot of things that many people will agree with. I'll say some things that only a few people will agree with.

I perhaps should have jumped into the comments section yesterday in hopes of moderating some of the negativity but people do need an outlet as well so I just left it alone.

Mike said...

Way to suck it up and grit out a win tonight. Nice to see us up early and build some scoring off of confidence. My only comment is play 49 the rest of the year. You have to give yourself the best chance to win and it starts between the pipes.

Suze said...

Congrats on the win Wolves. That was a great game! I have been thinking about the records of teams in our league. UAA is 3-7-0 and Minny is 3-6-1. UM has 20 NHL draft picks on their team, UAA has zero. I'd say that Shyiak is getting a lot more talent out of his players than Lucia is.

Anonymous said...

We know we have the talent on this team, great leadership from the seniors and juniors last nite.
Clark and grant played there A game last nite.
Some nice suprises from the freshman players last nite.
Have a good trip to colorado, a split there would be nice.
ONly four more games, clark is on fire. The defense looked the best they have all year. Grant, baldwin and clark moved the puck nice on the powerplay.
All round a great effort from the whole team.
Proud of you guy.s
All the best in colorado, we have knocked off und, denver, and colorado would look nice on the resume.
Fan

Anonymous said...

Projections by xmas break
Clark gets 10 or more goals at break.
Tommy gets on fire next four games.
Bryce shouts out st. Cloud one game.
Uaa splits the weekend with colorado.
Uaa sweeps st. cloud at home.
Shyiak buys all the guys xmas presents.
The sully has 4000 fans for the last game against st. cloud.
Our record at the break 6 wcha wins
This is all possible, work hard for your goals, and you will achieve them.
All the best seawolves.

Iforgot said...

It was nice to see Tyler Currier play his first game last night. :o)

WTG Seawolves! (p.s. the re-run of the game is on GCI channel 1 right now)

Anonymous said...

Shyiak should still be feeling some heat. This team has been way to inconsistent and given up way to many times.

Anonymous said...

Shyiak needs some help from the captains and assistants, they must lead this team by example.
The upperclassman are beginning to set that example.

Anonymous said...

Quit Screwing around and play 49. 3w 3L in the WCHA. Thats 500.Where would the team be if we were 500 in the WCHA.

Suze said...

I agree that Tyler played a solid game last night. It will be fun to watch his development, and I can't wait to see what Brad Gorham brings to the table in January.

It's clear (to me anyway) that dating back to the second half of last season, Bryce has earned the #1 position among goalies. I did get very nervous about his handling of the puck a few times last night. Against a better team that could have easily burned us. I noticed Tuton giving him a good talking to. :)

Suze said...

JJ - you can always delete the post you started on the USCHO.

Will said...

A great win for the guys but then any win for us is a great win. The way Clark and Grant played is what we need to see from them every game. Tommy said he was taking shots from all over the ice and that is exactly what is needed not only from him but others. We can't win games taking 16 shots on goal.

Bryce should be the number 1 goalie and see what happens. Please Bryce stay in your net more although we like to see you handle the puck at times it is just too much and other teams will burn you.

Good win for the Wolves..

G

UAA Fan in Flordia said...

I did not get to see the game yet, but listened a little when I had a chance. 49 is the number 1 goalie, I love you J.O. i do, but, but... you know what I'm trying to say.. Clark on target, Clark on target.. LaFructose, as a dumbass on USCHO called him, was missing? He has to be hurt as he has been laying dudes out that aren't looking.. Please, coach, Bryce in net, Haddad on the pk(he's been brilliant this year), and stop f'ing with the lines!! How do you build consistancy?? You've had these kids for 4 years now, you know what works and what doesn't, if you don't, you should go. I don't believe for a minute you don't know what you are doing, don't 2nd guess yourself, do what you KNOW is right! So Bryce in net, no line changes, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

kelly. said...

Great win last night, I was skeptical about what would happen when Shyiak mixed up the lines and moved 11 back to the point. I guess after friday night he figured he didn't have anything to lose. I still don't know why 23 was running the point on the powerplay, that guy is awful. Also, does anyone know why 4 didn't play? Was he a healthy scratch or injured?

Suze said...

The paper said that Kane has a knee injury and will get x-rays tomorrow.

Vidmar (#23) has shown much improvement this year, and I was his biggest critic last year.

I thought Leinweber (#11) did pretty well on the point?

Donald Dunlop said...

Leinweber is at his best on the blueline. I'd rather not see him at forward again. His skating ability and heads up play going forward from our own zone is important and necessary.

Vidmar is becoming more dangerous on the power play as the season progresses. He'll get more points than he has as the season goes along. He's got a knack for getting the puck through traffic with his wrist shot.

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