The difference between last night and tonight (aside from the score)? The Seawolves perservered through some headshakingingly ridiculous penalty calls and figured out a way to win. Several UAA players were outstanding all night and rate an early mention here for their play.
Sean Wiles had a monster weekend. He was active and effective and dangerous on Friday but tonight he owned. He was unstoppable. No doubt about it in my mind ... he was the player of the game. Somebody better get him a beer. Two somebody's ought to get him a beer. I haven't looked at other weekend results closely but Wiles sure looks to be a good WCHA Offensive Player of the Week candidate with his three really sweet goals on both nights. I really see some burgeoning confidence in him. This weekend's performance is hopefully the beginning of a "breakout" year for him.
Nick Haddad put together two great nights of play this weekend. He was simply awesome on the multitude of PK's that UAA faced all weekend. He was an ongoing scoring threat skating his regular shifts as well. I think he played two of the best back-to-back games of his career. It's amazing that he didn't get his name onto any of the 9 UAA weekend scorelines. He deserved some points for his efforts.
Mickey Spencer played the best two games of his young career. His hustle and solid work led to Sean Wiles 1st goal though he didn't pick up an assist for it. He also sent Wiercioch into the DU bench with a check in the first period. He was active all over the ice playing well defensively and offensively. He's really come on strong. It's good to see.
There were two great hits in the game (both the best of the season so far). Chris Crowell blasted Paul Phillips out of his skates (Kurt Haider said, "He blew him up") on the forecheck late in the 2nd. From my angle it looked like one of those special effects in the movies where some poor bastard takes a shotgun blast to the chest and gets yanked flying backwards by wires. It was a classic big time hit. The second was the beautifully timed hip-check from Kane Lafranchise on Patrick Wiercioch which sent the Ottawa draft pick on an end-over-end flip. It was ridiculously and incorrectly called a "clipping" infraction. Clipping? Nope ... (whatever that is). Just a well executed hip-check and nothing else.
Bryce Christianson was sharp in the net. I don't think he had to come up with as many big saves as Jonny O on Friday but obviously the offensive support of 7 goals makes a difference.
Referees Justin "the clown" Brown (#5) and Brett "make up for the other idiot zebra" Kloslowski (#31) were maddeningly bad all weekend. Phantom calls, bad interpretations and an overall apparent desire to insert themselves into the game seemed to be some sort of trio-mantra. Pitiful refereeing. Shyiak noted immediately after the game how it seemed to take forever everytime these two buffoons (all my words here) had to figure out any discrepancies. He correctly pointed out that Wiercioch was ready to go on the next shift after the "clipping" call on what Dave also correctly pointed out was a clean hip-check. I'd say that Wiercioch "coaxed" the 5 minute major by his immobility act after the check.
Am I saying he was faking? Yep. How can I say something so outrageous? Well ... before play resumed ... Weircioch was lined up with the the rest of DU's power play. He was ready to go without missing a beat. The referee showed him the way to the bench for being so cheeky as to think he could just keep playing after his three minute rest. When play restarted, Weircioch was back on the ice within 40 seconds of the start of the power play.
The Seawolves though managed to find the necessary character to overcome it all. Everyone deserves a pat on the back for their efforts. I thought Nils Backstrom and Trevor Hunt were solid all weekend. Jared Tuton was more noticable this weekend. His play so far this year has been "quiet-steady" but tonight in particular he made more noise. Luka Vidmar had his two best games of the season after missing the last five with a groin pull. He looked more focused and was hungry offensively. Lee Baldwin is no longer a rookie. He didn't take hardly any time to adapt and is a clear asset on the blueline. His sweet one-timer in the 3rd put the game out of reach. He had another solid weekend picking up that goal and two assists tonight.
I'm not sure whether to lump Curtis Leinweber in with the defensive kudos or to include him in the comments about forwards. In either case, he remains one of my favorite UAA players. He's quick and dynamic and I always love a guy like that. He showed great eye/hand coordination knocking in his goal off the shaft of his stick. Daniel Naslund picked up his first goal of the year on a real nice tip from a smart Vidmar shot. I know I was harsh about Naslund's skating last weekend so I'm glad he was more effective this weekend and made me look bad for dogging him. His size is a definite asset and he does have really sweet hands.
Craig Parkinson and Alex Gellert were both solid. Chris Crowell (like Lee Baldwin) shouldn't have to carry the rookie tag anymore either; his monster check I mentioned earlier was highlight reel stuff, I'll make sure and nab it when GCI archives these games. Josh Lunden scored the last goal of the night on a superb individual effort. Doncha think Tommy Grant can really turn on the jets ... eh? Both of those guys will score more often than they did this weekend. With them not lighting it up though, it's even more satisfying to see the Seawolves rack up a 7 spot on the #2 team in the country. That kind of secondary scoring is exactly what is going to be needed all year long.
And oh yeah ... Tyler Ruegsegger is the biggest crybaby, worst sport in the WCHA. He really ought to be sanctioned for his two attempted slashes after the game ended.
Here's the boxscore.
Here's the boxscore.