Tonight's game had a little bit of everything. It was overall a tightly played game by both teams. When clear scoring chances were manufactured by either squad they were more often than not quickly denied. Both goaltenders played well. While large parts of the game were defensively oriented there were nonetheless sections of the game that were wide open.
Mankato took control of the game in the last part of the 2nd period when it seemed they found an extra gear that left the Seawolves in reaction mode. Their goalie came up pretty big on a night when the Seawolves outchanced the Mavericks. There wasn't anything lacking in Rob Gunderson's play but you can't take anything away from Mankato goalie Phil Cook who was rock solid.
Seawolves finishing was lacking in places. Lots of pucks that went wide or high that if they'd been put on net could have been the difference.
Congratulations to Justin Kirchevel who tallied both Seawolves goals in his college hockey debut. Aside from getting the goals, I thought he played a pretty well rounded game. I spoke with Ryan McKelvie a few minutes before the game started and specifically asked him about Kirchevel. He mentioned Justin had good hockey sense and intensity and I saw plenty of evidence of both of those attributes tonight.
Other positives include once again a nice display of resiliency especially over the last ten minutes of the game from the Seawolves. Aided by a couple of power plays (including a 5 on 3) the Seawolves tilted the ice fairly strongly but couldn't cash in until 21 seconds left with Gunderson pulled for the extra attacker. The last four minutes of the game the Seawolves had a multitude of chances to cut the 2 goal lead.
I know nobody likes losing. The players sure don't. The staff can't like it. And us fans sure don't like it. Just be glad you don't have to go home and write about it. Anyway, tomorrow is another night right? There was nothing in tonight's game that gave any indication that the guys aren't fully capable of winning tomorrow.
And yeah ... referees CJ Beaurline and Brad Shepherd were entirely too involved. Let them play the game ffs.