Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seawolves 2 - CC 1

The Seawolves came back nicely from last nights tough loss to CC.  Ron Jeremy (er ... uh Scott Owens) recognizing UAA's equal skating and ability to dominate his team 5 on 5 came straight out of the gate tonight running a full time neutral zone trap in an attempt to control the speedy Seawolves transition game.  Nevertheless, time and time again Seawolves forwards broke into CC's zone and skated around the outside of the some slower footed CC defensemen.

The Seawolves on the whole this weekend showed they were stride for stride as fast as the oft mentioned "speedy" Black Bears.  I doubt there can be much denying that Lee Sweatt is flat out one of the finest skating, speediest forwards I've ever seen in the WCHA.  His bro has great wheels too. But there are 3 Seawolves who are damn near as fast as him and 5 Seawolves that are faster than CC player other than Sweatt.  Grant, Selby, Wiles can motor like Sweatt and Clark along with Lafranchise, Backstrom, Hunt and Leinweber give UAA an overall speed edge on the much ballyhooed Black Bears.  I'll not bother mentioning the smattering of other quality skaters for CC.  They have a coupla-three other guys with jets.  But a bender like Testwiude couldn't outskate any current Seawolf.

Once again, the team showed a strong collective character with this solid win.  With a bounce or three the final score could have been dramatically higher in the Seawolves favor.  There were two posts and numerous other chances that were within inches of crossing the line.  Olthuis was solid all night and made a couple of game saving spectacular saves in the 3rd to preserve the win.  Every skater contributed something worthy during the game.

As I was driving home I had take notice of Kurt and David's excellent assessment of the play tonight from Jade Portwood, Craig Parkinson and Ken Selby.  They were outstanding all night long with their possession game and often controlled the puck deep in the CC zone.  David also properly mentioned Jade Portwood's effort on the penalty kill and I of course concur 100%.  Suze and Mr. Suze and me especially noted their play in the 3rd.  I know they got a rousing ovation of appreciation from the fans for that great shift.  And it wasn't their only good shift ... maybe I should say OWNly since they definitely pwnd whoever they skated against.

So as good as that all was, and with no intention to take any of the shine off, their finishing was kinda brutal.  Um ... no not kinda, it was wholly brutal.  They easily could have added 3 goals on the night but for their finishing.  Loosen the grips a bit this week in practice guys, be relaxed when the chance comes and excited after you finish.  Getting excited before you score overwhelms the focus you need at that critical moment.  Some goals next weekend  from ya'll would be sweet.

Dave Shyiak gave these guys extra shifts a few times in the 3rd period.  Props to him for recognizing their contributions and backing it up with a show of confidence in them.  They played important shifts down the stretch that directly contributed to the win.  Between the 1st and 2nd period Dave used a couple of words worth mentioning, he said "not" and "dynamic" in a phrase; I'm betting at the end of the game he'd rephrase that.  Portwood, Parkinson and Selby were really opportunistic and they developed their chances with dynamic play.  Some goes for every other line tonight.

Nice play by Sean Wiles driving to the net and dropping the puck back sweetly for Alex Gellert to finish with a calm smart shot even when he musta known Mike "big bender" Testwiude  was about to nail him.  Great job on the game winner which puts Alex at two game winners for the season now.  Before tonight I might have said that Mickey Spencer had been somewhat outplaying Alex so far this year.  I've been impressed with Mickey's tenacity, physical play and thought he was above the development curve I would have expected.  But now Alex leads the team in game winning goals.  He had a strong series against DU and his contribution tonight pulls him even in my book.  Josh Lunden's strong first game back tells me that both Alex and Mitch Bruijsten will benefit from having Josh on their line.

How great is Kevin Clark?  Man oh man ... on the ice so far this second half of the season there isn't a single Seawolves player that has done more in terms of leading-by-example hockey than Kevin since the break.  Not to say he wasn't a huge offensive contributor in the first half.  He was.  He's an exciting player everytime he gets on the ice.  He's always smart with the puck and sees everything.  He can find his linemates stick through just about any traffic.  I also sense that Kevin knows his 4 year career is winding down.  I think he's got some goals (100 points) that he'll for sure get to but more importantly, I bet he's got some goals for the team that he'd rather accomplish.  Kevin is just straight up on fire in my eyes.  It is exactly the sort of play from him that will contribute to the kind of success that would be great for all the Seniors to contribute to and experience.

I think that Nils Backstrom was the Seawolves best defensive player all weekend.  I've never been dissatisfied with Nils' play.  He's always been one of my favorite players but this weekend, he was super responsible in his end, he was physical along the boards and in front of his net.  Tonight in particular he took advantage of several chances to rush the puck and when he choose to get involved offensively it was effective.  He was a clear leader on the penalty kill as well.  All in all,  his play this weekend was as good as Nils has looked during any weekend of his career.  When "din moder och fader" come from across the pond I guess it makes a guy want to  play his best.

Kane Lafranchise had an excellent game tonight as well.  He's always steady on the backend and tonight he also took advantages of some opportunities to try to make something happen offensively.  Drew Darwitz played mistake free hockey in Trevor Hunt's absence.  Let's hope Trevor isn't banged up, he's been a dynamic force offensively and that sort of play will be needed down the stretch.

Jared Tuton played a lot of quality minutes and owned just about every situation that was presented to him in his own zone tonight.  His strength, experience and overall emotional leadership will be key cogs down the stretch.

With 3 goals in the last 4 games, Tommy Grant has to be considered "off the schnide" and of course that will be important going forward.  I'm thinking late January and February have been Tommy's best months typically over his career.  So here's to hoping he continues to score.   He hasn't yet nailed one of his "trademark" goals lately but he should be confident that those will come.  Because they will.

Sean Wiles has developed a mind staggeringly ton as a hockey player since his first year.  On just about every shift he took tonight he was as dangerous a threat as any player in the game.  I initially thought he hit the corner of the crossbar and the post on brilliant shot in the 1st period.  His great setup I described above were not the only other dangerous chances in which he was involved.

It occurs to me that through the first 6 games since the break that the Seawolves have found their identity for this season.  They're now officially in my mind the WCHA team that every other team is going to "fucking hate" to play.  Yes, the adjective use of the F-bomb is well warranted.  There was lots of malevelonce between CC and our guys all weekend.  You know Michigan Tech hates us now.  And DU, their coach has openly expressed how much he doesn't want to play us again.  Yeah, they hate us in DU.

"Mad Phat Props" (I know it's outdated) to my man Kurt for pointing out that our TV people ought to be showing these scrums instead of cutting away from them.  If this production is going into Minnesota next weekend you'll get more negative reaction from all those folks down there watching than you could possibly get from whoever or whatever it is mandating or directing or causing you to cut away.  It needs to stop.  FSN shows it, FSSN shows it.  Charter shows it.  Getting it?  Every other broadcaster in the WCHA shows it.  And on top of all that ... it's pretty much impossible for me to defend.  So please, someone somewhere get that straightened out.  And oh yeah, just a personal choice here I guess ... but the cutaways to the goalie rushing off the ice and to the empty net just means we aren't seeing the actual action at those points.  That's frustrating to a experience viewer.  I'm just sayin ...

Here's the boxscore.

PS.  Sorry about the chatroom.  My "nap" today started and ended late when I woke up just 35 minutes before gametime.


Anonymous said...

Great game tonight! The Selby line was on fire, I hope coach sees the error of his ways and puts Ken in the line up next weekend. He has some serious speed and makes things happen.

Jonnie O was solid. Hard decision for coach as to which goalie to go with next weekend. Yes, Jonnie let in 6 goals on Friday, but had no defense to help him. Look at the results so far with him in net, a tie against the #1 team on the road, a sweep of Tech and a win against the #7 team. Playing two out of three weekends against nationally ranked teams and getting points is impressive.

Note to Derek Donald, why don't ya try to promote this team by airing a TV and radio ad? Gotta spend money to make money. Come on UAA, this is your ONLY division one sport, support them they way they deserve to be supported!!

Jeff said...

Selby stood out to me. It was great to see him out there. It was also great to see Lunden back in the lineup. he played well. hopefully we can get the goofers while they are down after getting swept by st. cloud. A 3-point weekend would put us ahead of them in the standings. I think this team is becoming the team nobody wants to play in the playoffs. I think we have a legit chance of making it to the final five if we can stay healthy

akhockeyfanatic said...

What a game! Exciting from the beginning right until the very end. This is the way to play, boys, for the rest of the season. There are no excuses. You have instilled the fear of God in any opponent and have set the tone that you are not a team that is going to roll over and give up. Can't wait till next weekend Those Gophers have nothing on you.

Go Seawolves!!

Oh by the way, Anon 10:52, UAA's gymnastics team is D1 as well.

UAA Fan (not)in Florida said...

I certainly have become a J.O. believer... 3-2-1 last six games. Coach knows what he's doing. I see no problem letting #30 stay in net now. Last nights game, maybe 1 of those 6 was his fault, 2 shortie breaks, 4 pp goals. Tonight, solid solid solid. I did notice after 8 interference penalties last night, 1? tonight? Did King Shepard call these guys and say, "hey, when I said call those interference p's, i didn't mean for every whistle you blew." Speaking of blow, number 10 and 11 of the officiating crew(refs, not linesman), you really sucked it up for 2 games. Number 10 was out of control friday night, yelling at EVERYONE who yacked at him, must have been that time of the month.

Aside from that, 'Wolves played great for 2 games(yes, they did), and tonight was one of the loudest I've heard at the Sully this year..

Good job boys.. keep plugging away.

UAA Fan (not)in Florida said...

Oh, and I want to add, thanks for all the parents there tonight, I know your boys always do you proud, and I hope tonight, you feel good about the decision to send them to UAA.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Couple of things. UAA has TWO Division One sports, hockey and gymnastics.
The refs were nothing out of the ordinary this weekend. They have demonstrated for years that they hate coming here and they always make the Seawolves pay for the trip they don't want to make. John Hill mentioned this at a luncheon a few years ago and the other team's coach was there and agreed.
The problem is, I think, that these officials favor the elite teams. The call against the boards that started the big fight was completely bogus but typical. Two guys fighting for the puck, the CC guy goes down hard into the boards and UAA goes to the box. Kevin Clark has dealt with this a couple of times this season.
Favorite moment of the evening though was standing alongside the CC broadcasters booth and waiting for him to go on the air and then screaming at him for his badmouthing UAA when we were down there. "Who stinks? Who stinks" over and over. Let him know that I think his team is made up of a bunch of whining pussies too. God, I hope I drowned him out for the folks back home.

UAA Fan (not)in Florida said...

Well, Donald, since we seem to be the only 2 not taking an 'outside' beverage break, i have to agree about Gorham and Clark. So far, Gorham has been stellar, crisp clean passes out of the zone, where he needs to be at all of the time, very impressed. Clark has been the leader for sure this second half. Have ALWAYS been impressed with Clark, ALWAYS.

Anonymous said...

If Naslund can make the transition like Wiles had, he'll be a beast. The dude needs to lose about 15 lbs and get some speed skating lessons in.

Gorham is solid, I like his play.

Parkinson was very visible in a good way this weekend, very good line with hime, Portwood and Selby.

Both Leinweber and Hunt sat tonight, may be good for them

ZZzzz said...

Three and a half years late, but MAYBE Selby is finally FREEEEEE... That line is not the typical 4th line. They might inflict some damage down the stretch...

Great game tonight guys. Total team effort, although I must admit I was a bit scared in the second watching the parade to the penalty box...

Anonymous said...

Ya gotta love Dave Shyiak. In the post-game interview Kurt or Dave mentioned how much better Johnny O played tonight and he said that he thought John "played great last night he just didn't get any help."
Quite the contrast from last night at the Sully tonight. Last night I was wishing I had brought a flask of whiskey. Tonight I brought the flask and never tapped it. Good hockey is as much fun to watch as any sport anywhere and we saw it tonight.
Something just occured to me though; back during the John Hill years he would have the team wear white on Friday and gold on Saturday. They always seemed to play better in the gold jerseys but Hill refused to let them wear them on Friday. Maybe Shyiak should dig those old things out and see what happens on a Friday.

JohnHill is DonLucia's Bitch said...


UAA Fan (not)in Florida said...

On the filling butts in the seats. Bring a damn friend, or there are 2 hockey promotions, friday, u wear green and gold and your kids(kids friends) wear it, 2 free kids tix for each adult, Saturday, same deal, only for jerseys being worn(not true, i got's my kids free tix tonight just wearing the green and gold.)

Short recap of season...

split nodak when they #2
split DU when they #2
split CC(@) when they #5
0-1-1 DU(@) when they #2
split CC when they #7

just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Ouch, you must have a better view of Scott Owens than I had because I didn't see the resemblence to the hedgehog. But I can tell you that I will never, ever again be able to look at him without thinking of porn. Thanks a lot. I thought I was there for hockey.

I had a great time at the game, I love it when my Seawolves win but I love it even better when I know that they are giving it their all. I just watched the replay and I still have a smile.

Great night. :)

Oh, and I don't understand how the administration of that northern portion of the university system allowed that ultra violent, cheap computer version of a polar bear doing a non camp imitation of a Japanese monster movie suitable for a NCAA sports venue. What the heck were they thinking of?

UAA Fan (not)in Florida said...

Sorry, just saw that Selby 'boarding' call was just hokey. The ref standing right in front of the play didn't raise his hand, it was number 10 again(the trailing ref, way the fuck behind the play.) And while I'm on this topic, seems kinda strange the GT from CC loses his lid a lot?? Just nodding your noggin loses it? Although, he just didn't nod it, when in trouble, turn to tourettes. Wasn't really violent(non necessary shake) 2 games in a row?? Thats either faulty equipment(shoulda been fixed after first game) or blatant delay of game. Just curious how many times this kid had dropped his helmet all year.

Anonymous said...

Great win last night guys. Great win, btw anyone read adn recap? Some punk gave Woody shit for using Ass in his column.

Anonymous said...

Lawson did the same thing, always losing his helmet at just the right time to get the whistle. I don't think he was ever penalized for it.

Just read Doyles recap in the ADN, it seems that Gellert took a stick to his face when he scored his goal - he needed three stitches! Blood is drawn and no penalty is called? Frieseme should be reprimanded for his Mickey Mouse performance on the ice this past weekend.

Hey Boosters, make a mental note of this. Next year when you are preparing for Parents Night, please make sure the Sully CLEANS their red carpet. That was downright embarrassing!! It was filthy, covered with white stuff.

-30- said...

Now that's entertainment! (Despite the horrible on-line feed. But, hey, it's free.) Wish I could be there. Excellent write up, Donald.

This "fourth" line could cause the oppsition some trouble in the future. I think Mr Sleby may have found a home. What will make them so effective is that they are so sound defensively. Look for Shyiak to give them a bit of a green light in the future. The offence will follow.

Anonymous said...

Attendance is unacceptable. UAA is paying Derek Donald 60 grand to put butts in seats (for all the sports). Instead, the attendance had gotten worse this year.

Let's see some advertising this week, get some free tickets out to kids and let parents pay to get in, give the military some freebies, etc, etc, etc. Do something other than planning stupid rock band stuff in between periods. This is not where your energy should be focused Derek!!

Anonymous said...

Glad I came back to see your additional comments Donald. Great job, as always.

You said "Nice play by Sean Wiles driving to the net and dropping the puck back sweetly for Alex Gellert to finish with a calm smart shot even when he musta known Mike "big bender" Testwiude was about to nail him".

The ADN stated that Gellert got a stick to the face and had to get three stitches. Was that the punk Testwiude that did that? And no penalty when he drew blood? Shep needs to look at the crappy job those two refs did this past weekend.

Oh yeah, Prosser is a punk.

Donald Dunlop said...

Yes apparently "Big Bender" Testwiude skated through Alex's chin right after he shot the puck.

Anonymous said...

anon @1212

Derek is doing what he can with what resources he can, u think u could do better than him? u don't know what it takes to market a team.

Anonymous said...

Obviously neither does Derek.

UAA Fan (not)in Florida said...

I think we're gonna have to make a tough decision between Wiles and Haddad for most improved player this year. I have impressed to hell with both of these guys. Haddad has just brought it this year, it's not the score sheet, but he's been winning a lot of faceoffs, hitting hard and skating A LOT faster. On the other hand, Wiles not only does the above, but he's been smelling the net A LOT. Tough, tough choice.

ALSO, Lunden's back, back, back. And Selby has found a line.

Let's put MinnisoDA down another notch, and let's do it with Hill on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I remember seeing Hill on TV, saying he left UAA because he wanted to coach a team that could be in the hunt for a national championship EVERY year. LOL

I think he cursed the Gophers. They probably hate him as much as we Seawolves fans do.

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