Let me start out tonight by saying that if you read anything anywhere that doesn't acknowledge what a truly great hockey game this was tonight then whatever you're reading is bullshit. It doesn't matter who won tonight. There were two hockey teams that played their asses off running up and down the ice, exchanging scoring chances and generally playing just awesome hockey. It was fast-paced race-horse hockey; up and down the length of the ice all night. Great hockey game. Congrats to both teams for the effort.
I honestly haven't looked anywhere else since I just got in (12:07am) and jumped right in here to do this recap. But OMG, really really quality hockey game. One of the best I've seen in a long time. If the Seawolves had lost I'd still be saying the same thing. Both teams played quality hockey from my perspective. The Seawolves really lived up to their potential. On previous Saturday nights it might have been possible to say that the opponent play like shit. But not tonight, if anyone says the Gophers didn't play a good hard game they're absolutely full of shit.
That game was as good as it gets in college hockey. The flow was fantastic in all three periods. It was wide open with good defensive play, good goaltending on both ends and plenty of forwards looking to cash in on chances.
Thanks go to referees Scott Bokal and Brian Thul for letting both teams play. There were a number of instances tonight that they left uncalled which were called last night. But because they held their water the fans were treated to a truly quality contest. All too often in this league the refs insert themselves into the outcome, so it's important to recognize them when they let two teams go at it without fucking it up with ridiculous whistles.
This was another nice team effort that showed a lot of character from the whole squad. Congrats to all the boys. Now, since I've taken a look around the interent, I'm going to point out two vastly different things. First, allow me to appreciate "Jupiter" (the GPL Admin) for saying this on their fan forum:
"Where is the free video stream on the 'U' site? Oh that's right, they don't have that. They don't even offer a free audio stream. We can only get that when the game is on am1570, but not via the 'U'.... Face it, the AA video feed is lightyears ahead of anything the University of Minnesota offers."
It's not often that I find something reasonable and appropriate from an opponents website but Jupiter deserves a shout out for that. Conversely, allow me to call out an complete fucking idiot from the same site who said:
"It's so frustrating to score 7 goals and then the next night score just 1 against the same exact crappy UAA goalie. I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything else. A chance to move into 6th place gone by the boards, probably for the rest of the season since we head to Denver next."
What a pucking futz. That was posted by some masturbatory genius called "psych". Let me suggest here that that particular fucking moron be banned from GPL for life for being a DUMBASS. Here's the thing, Dear psych, .... um ... Piss on you and all your blood relations. You're a floater. Only an extra heavy load of toilet paper could flush a worthless turd like you down the toilet. You don't fucking deserve to watch a college hockey game. I'd bet you aren't a Gopher season ticket holder but instead one of the typical bandwagon assholes that inhabit GPL. Your hero is Jeff Dubay isn't it? I'd fucking spit in your face if I ever met you. You sicken me. And your team deserves to lose every game just for having such a complete asshole for a fan. (Anyone here surprised why they don't let me on GopherPuckLive?)
Ok then, back to how excellent the Seawolves were tonight. Great to see Josh Lunden get a tally tonight. I liked how smart he was with the puck on his stick and can imagine that he'll be some kind of force down the stretch with his mature confident play. Did I say Clarkie's goal was a thing of beauty. Oh yeah, I did. And it was.
Kevin Clark is da bomb. The shortie he scored tonight (game winner) was an absolute thing of beauty. He beat Kangas with a great move and roofed a perfect backhand after setting himself up for the rush. It was one of the prettiest goals of the year in my book. I spoke briefly with Keith Morris tonight and made sure I thanked him for bringing Kevin here.
I can't say enough how great is was to see my team play a game with so few mistakes. Passing was sharp. Pass catching was sharp. The physical game was in evidence when appropriate. I think overall I'd have to give credit to the defensive effort for the win.
Can I say I love Nils Backstrom here? Would that be weird? I told his mom that last week and his play this weekend just makes me love him more. He is definitely the most underrated defensive player in the WCHA. Nobody got past him this weekend and that's not anything new. He is ultra-responsible. My next defensive shout out has to go to Kane Lafranchise. His play all season has been steady but over the last few weeks he's lived up to what I'd hoped to see since getting to UAA. He's also very underrated.
Jonny O got lots of help tonight that he didn't have last night. Backchecking forwards blocked more than a few shots. With no disrespect to other forwards for their defensive efforts, I'd have to pump Jade Portwood's tires tonight. He was a physical force along the boards and defensively blocked lots of shots. Trevor Hunt played a more than solid game after being a healthy scratch on Friday. He can be a dynamic player offensively and was excellent as always in his own zone. Luka Vidmar had no flies landing on him in his return after being injured and deserves a mention for his quality play tonight.
All that said, Jonny O played an exceptional game. He came up with more than a couple of really big saves down the stretch to preserve the win. In particular, a glove save he made on a 3 on 1 rush was spectacular. He looked really focused and didn't give up any positioning. Honestly, Jonny gives ground sometimes when he shouldn't. But tonight he didn't. He deserved the win. He was a key player contributin to the W.
The line of Mickey Spencer, Daniel Naslund and Sean Wiles was really good tonight. More often than not they owned whoever they played against. They possessed the puck deep and worked the cycle but were also dynamic and creative when they were in the zone creating scoring chances. Congrats to them on the good play.
Tommy Grant took a tough shot to the noodle in the first period when he carried the puck to the slot for a nice scoring chance. I didn't see it clearly but I don't think there was any foul intent. He was shaky going off so there has to be some concern regarding an sort of concussion. I sure hope he's okay.
Craig Parkinson had a solid game on both ends of the ice. His defensive efforts may sometimes be overlooked by me, and I'm sorry for that. He is an excellent example to his linemates and leads that shutdown line by example.
It's a bit frustrating to try to figure out what the difference is between Friday nights and Saturday nights but for now, it is what it is I guess.
Don't forget that tomorrow from 1pm til 3pm is the Skate With The Seawolves event at Westchester Lagoon. Please come out and bring your kids to enjoy the afternoon. I know the players really enjoyed the turnout last year and hopefully everyone can turn out and make it another great Sunday. I'll be there. If I find my skates and find a place to sharpen them, I might actually skate. So there'll be that to make fun of anyway.
And oh yeah ... Shout out to MTU supah-fan MeanEgirl for answering the phone at 3AM during one of my few "drunk-dials" (even if I wasn't actually drunk) and talking hockey. Donna from RWD is temporarily not "da bomb" cause she didn't answer.
Good night, and good luck. Yes ... I love Keith Olberman.