Down 5-1 with a little over 12 minutes left in the 2nd period, it looked to be a long night for us Seawolves fans. But a gritty hard-working comeback over the remaining portion of the period left the score 5-4 at the break. Then with just 1:34 passed in the 3rd period Brett Cameron nabbed the game tying goal.
We won't have player interview video posted tonight. JJ is due at work at like 5:30am or some horror time like that. So hang in there and I know he'll get it posted as soon as he can. My apologies for the confusion on this damned GCI streaming link and what works etc. Maybe someone will start a forum topic on that and we can always have a good place for the information.
The level of play was a bit of a mix tonight. Both teams showed some quality but that quality was interspersed with mistakes at other times. In a sense, it was a classic 1st game of the season in that sense. Overall for the Seawolves, things seem pretty promising based on just this one game.
Jitters and the mistakes that come with them should fade pretty rapidly. I can't imagine that Seawolves players are celebrating the tie in any big way. It should help give them some confidence but there remain to be things that must be worked out. Not a lot of "click" in places. Here and there the play leaned a bit towards sloppy. The bright spots wash some of that out though.
Both teams gave up at least two goals each that they'd probably like to have back. I haven't run through the stats and boxscores and it's late so the drudgery of putting together the exact times for the goals etc I'll leave to the newspaper and other accounts of the game. I'll link all that in tomorrow's Game Day Post.
I thought we won a shitload of face-offs. That'll be one of the things I'll be looking at. I'm pretty sure we won like 7 of the last 8 face-offs in the game.
In any case, let me just get some thoughts out about freshman since that is what I always focus on early in the season. Matt Bailey and Brett Cameron both got their 1st collegiate goals tonight. It's got to be nice to take that puck home after your first game. Congratulations to them both. As I expected before they arrived, they both look to turn into offensively productive players.
Jordan Kwas was also very effective tonight offensively. He's a puck-handling-in-a-phonebooth kind of player and he cleanly beat more than his share of UND defenders with some sweet moves. He definitely has nice hands and wheels. That's great for me to see when I really had no idea what to expect from him. Mark Pustin has a nice future as a Seawolf based on what I saw. He scored in the (for seeding purposes shootout) on a sweet deke and finish. His play during the game was also noteworthy.
Chris Kamal got the start tonight and to be honest. I thought he looked a wee bit nervous here and there in the first period. But he never did anything dumb. And I'd only fault him on one goal. I promise the coaches will show him the video and encourage him to take that extra step off the line and challenge shooters. His only mistake was to be deep anticipating the pass and when a WCHA sniper sees that, he ain't passing. He's shooting. He had some great moments as well and if not for the Eidsness robbery I mentioned earlier would have had the best save of the game. It's a real solid first outing that will help ease his transition. No reason not to expect Gunderson tomorrow night.
Wes McLeod and Quinn Sproule both turned in solid first outings. I was impressed with both in their ability to move the puck up the ice. I think both had solid opportunities to contribute offensively and but for a bounce here or there could have ended up on the scoresheet.
Such was the case for a number of veteran players as well tonight. I really thought they had more goals in them than the 5 we scored. I counted 4 times where I really expected the Seawolves to score over the last 10 minutes of the period. Eidsness has to be given credit for a great save late in the game to preserve the tie. It feels a little bit like a win slipped away but when you think you're playing against a pretty talented team then credit to them for keeping the Seawolves from giving me a really crazy nice "Wow" moment. I'm not saying I didn't say "Wow"... I did.
Scott Warner is no freshman but tonight was my first time seeing him as well. Thanks for coming back to UAA Scott when transferred. I look forward to some really solid play from him. He's going to bag some goals this season for sure. I think we're all going to feel good that Scott is back there with Kane being ineligible the first half.
Jade Portwood put a hell of a lotta work into Sean Wiles goal tonight. Both in the defensive end (where he cleared the puck) but along the boards advancing it and then not giving up on it and then taking it away from Eidsness. Wanna bet there's a beer headed across the table to Jade from Sean right about now? Portwood works hard like that on every shift. Always great to see that pay off.
Lots of guys did good things tonight. Of course, Grant was effective and dangerous on quite a number of occassions. We may actually start seeing teams key on him after a time if he's as consistently dangerous as he was tonight.
Luka Vidmar seemed really really steady tonight. He showed a good eye in the offensive end and I didn't see him lose an assignment of leave a forward uncovered all night long. He looked confident and strong.
Curtis Leinweber had maybe the best night of any defenseman. His goal was made on a rush by Grant and Kwas where Tommy shot and the big fat rebound found Curtis in the slot and he buried it. But more than that ... his play in the defensive end was excellent. I lost count how many times a UND player went up against him 1-on-1 and Curtis came away with the puck cleanly.
I've got an early start as well, so that's it for now. Did I say that I'm living the dream? Because today I had a free meal at the Kendall Classic Coaches Luncheon graciously donated by booster Kathy Klos (who was a delightful lunch companion), then got two free cheeseburgers and two free cokes before I went into my free seats then used the free wifi to give you that crappy GCI Streaming link, then having my name called for the puck shoot and winning 100 bucks, then seeing my team come back from a 4 goal deficit for a well earned tie. Yep ... living the dream. I even gave away a number of free passes that happened to come into my possession.