UAA Seawolves versus UAF Nanooks
Friday, February 26th 2010 7:05pm
TV: GCI Channel 1 Statewide (Tape Delay in SouthCentral AK)
Webcast Link: GCI Portal
Audio Link: GoSeawolves Pay Per (Subscription)
ADN Preview: Who Get's Last Word (Doyle Woody)
Newsminer Preview: Beat Anchorage (Danny Martin)
USCHO Weekly WCHA Column: Don't Bother Clicking (Theresa Spisak)
USCHO Weekly CCHA Column: Even More Worthless (Paula Weston)
There are three events today worth noting. At 11:30am in the Fine Dining Room of the Lucy Cuddy Center, the Blueliners are hosting the Coaches Luncheon. Should be a great event. There's always the typical Anchorage/Fairbanks jokes bandied back and forth. No doubt the coaches will give glowing respectful analysis of their opponent while sandbagging their own chances somewhat. It's $20 bucks a plate.
At 5:30 there are two pregame events at the Sully. For $10 you can head into the Booster Room on the North side of the arena and attend an "Appetizer Social" replete with a pregame discussion with Dave Shyiak. They usually have a good caterer for these sorts of things, so get in there and grab some fancy hors d'oeuvres before someone else does.
Or for free, you can just hangout outside the Northwest entrance and partake in the Tailgate Party. Free burgers, hot dogs and soda will be served up by the always faithful and dedicated Kappa Sigma fraternity. They did a great job at this season's Kendall Classic tourney. And while the weather may be slightly more inclement this time around, the hospitality is sure to be warm. I'll be there snagging at least one free burger, hot dog and soda. At the Kendall, they were rocking some Tool ... so that was sweet too. Why can't we not be sober?
All the volunteers and UAA staff worked hard this week to make all these events come together. So make sure you thank them for their efforts if not directly then indirectly by attending all three of these events if you can. Nicely done Blueliners, props to the Kappa Sigma frat brothers and as always well done Jane Pallister.
The most interesting initial thought I have about these two games is whether or not the referees will let these two teams play. Being that the 'Nooks are apparently the NCAA's skating angels (fewest minutes) and UAA is apparently the Big Bad 'Wolves (most minutes), the reputations could come into play. It's a nice contrast for an intense rivalry, but hopefully the referees don't think about it during the game.
Aside from that potential factor, of course goaltending will be a factor. Naturally, with his good numbers UA_ fans would imagine Scott Greenham should have the upperhand. But rubes often think a goaltender's numbers are a direct reflection of his talent. They aren't of course, it's an equal reflection of the defense in front of him. It would surprise me if Coach Shyiak plays Bryce instead of Jonny O tonight. In either case, UAA's defense needs to be prepared to play responsibly and committed in front of their goaltender.
In any case, I'd be surprised if the Seawolves put a huge number of pucks in the net. Don't get me wrong. Such a thing is definitely possible. But the 'Nooks have three years of disciplined defensive effort and experience to draw upon. For UAA to crack that defensive effort, they'll have to skate through opponents i.e... keep their feet moving. What few power plays the Seawolves receive, they will have to convert. This is a must. If UAA goes 0-fer on the power play they could find themselves in trouble.
UAA's penalty kill over the last few weeks has been rbetter. Nick Haddad is back and is always a PK force. Kevin Clark has for the 1st time in his career been playing effective and substantial PK minutes. Both teams will lean on upperclassmen to lead them this weekend and the results may very well be determined by which set outperforms the other. This will be the UAA freshmen's first taste of a real rivalry; maybe one (or more) of them will embrace it and make a statement about the next four years of UAA Governor's Cup Seawolves wins?
Size will be a factor, but probably not as much on Friday night as on Saturday night. That advantage will become most evident in the 2nd and 3rd periods in the 2nd game. UA_ should come out with enough energy on Friday night to be able to absorb any punishment the Seawolves decide to hand out.
I really don't know what to expect attendance-wise. I'd bet that out of whatever number of folks that show up that there'll be at least 500 UA effers there. The Freeze Out promotion's intent is to get UAA fans to be in white and they were selling cheap (but apparently nice quality T-shirts) at the campus bookstore for $5. Hopefully, some of those will be available at the arena. If you didn't get one of those then make sure you bring something white with you; as well as for the 4 or 5 friends you bring.