The first weekend of the season is gone and I should clear a few things off my mind that I just didn't get to during the weekend. The first is that we'll see no more job announcements from UAA for a head coach. That's right, Shyiak's immigration issues are a thing of the past. He is completely and properly documented as of last Thursday. Congrats to him on being done with that nightmare.
Now let me talk about some stats that I didn't cover at all. Don't forget (even though I failed to mention) ... that Mickey Spencer is out with a high ankle sprain. The first report had him out for 2-3 weeks so hopefully that means they've evaluated it to be minor and we'll see him back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
I stupidly get him and Alex Gellert confused by the way so if you see me do that don't hesitate to point it out.
Anyway, Alex had a decent weekend on the draws going 11-6 against AF after going 9-12 against UND. Craig Parkinson was 13-12 against UND and 8-10 against AF. Matt Bailey went 7-8 versus AF and 7-5 against UND. As a team UAA went 61-67 for the weekend. A bit lower than we'd all hope but more competitive than some outings I recall. There was a great stretch of face off wins though in the last ten or so minutes of the UND game where the Seawolves won 7 of 8 draws. That was clutch.
Against UND, the Seawolves blocked 11 shots for the game. That was a nice contrast to the 1 shot that UND blocked. Against AF, the Seawolves blocked 8 shots compared to 7 for AF. Jade Portwood gave it up 4 times on the weekend to lead that category for UAA. Brad Gorham and Curtis Leinweber blocked 3 shots each on the weekend. Going forward in the season I think we need to see a bit more shot blocking from everyone.
Three guys were +2 against UND ... Bruijsten, Bailey and Parkinson. Against AF only Curtis Leinweber was a +2.
It was nice not to see a parade of players going to the penalty box this weekend. Credit to the refs for letting them play as well as credit to players on both sides for playing clean. There was the odd non-call here and there and one or two questionable calls of course but nothing like we've seen on most nights over the last couple of years.
I thought the power play had more futile moments than really promising ones. There were some times where there was good puck movement and good attempts to create but there were also a couple of boneheaded attempts that should have never left the players sticks. Getting the puck to the net is much much more important than some hopeful shot into traffic. AF really packed it in deep on the PK against UAA and I think our guys blew it by trying to force pucks through them.
I was much more impressed with the penalty killing efforts. Nick Haddad was monster on the PK. He showed smarts and hustle and determination. I rmade a mental note at a couple of points about how well our box held it's shape. Guys looked to be nicely in tune with each other and compensated well. Unfortunately, we did give up two first period power play goals to UND. One early in the period and one very late in the period. We also gave up a goal just :34 seconds into the 2nd period.
Those goals near the period breaks are killers. We saw an awful lot of them last year it seemed. Reminders to be focused and not take a shift off during those parts of the periods are necessary; let's assume the coaching staff does so.
And why did we get Don Adam both nights? How does that work? There are 4 WCHA referees in town for the series but we get Don Adam and Butch Mousseaux for both late games while Tim Walsh and Peter Friesema get both early games? Weird.
There was one lineup change from Friday night to Saturday. Tyler Currier played Saturday as Daniel Naslund sat. I thought both guys were about equally effective even though they are totally different kinds of players. We have yet to see Andrew Pickering, Justin Kirchevel, Chris Crowell and Drew Darwitz at this point. Spencer's injury in fortuitous in one sense at least. It gives that one extra opening for Coach Shyiak to insert players and get a sense of what they can do in a game. Don't be surprised to see all four of those guys in the lineup for one or both of this upcoming weekend's games.
On an unrelated note, I happened to notice today that there is a woman running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia named Krystal Ball. I shit you not. And that is her given name. Not her married name. It's not like she was Krystal Goblet and married some dude named Ball. Her parent's names are Ed and Rose Marie Ball. Ed and Rose Marie should be retroactively slapped for naming her that.
Check back Wednesday (or maybe late late Tuesday) for the first part of the preview for this weekends tournament. We've never played Union before. Ever. In contrast we've played CC 87 times.
And what did you think of the intro video? I think I liked it better when I really couldn't see it that closely or hear it. Not to be overly critical, I've no doubt that the guys who worked on it put plenty of hours into it and worked hard. The music is basically sampled from this but unfortunately somewhere it lost the edge. I hope that's not harsh. I did like the feel of it in the arena. So there's that.