College Hockey News has apparently abandoned it's awarding of Team of The Week honors after being the impetus for UAA's two losses versus DU last weekend. I have to say apparently because there is no big announcement with regard to their weekly award's demise. They just haven't given one.
I think that's kind of shitty. They fuck over UAA with their little JINX last week and then end the whole thing? Well, that just doesn't sit well with me. So in their absence I'm announcing that the College Hockey News Team of The Week for January 27th, 2011 is SCSU and CC. I would have given it to Minnesota for their draft pick excellence (they have 19 ya know) through their bye weekend but CC and SCSU each went 2-0. Sure, they both played CHA teams ... but whatever; they won. Also you can't spell succubus without using letters from both of them.
Oh yeah, we're talking about the Gophers here. The Gophers are 3-3-2 in their last 8 games. They got swept in early December by Mankato. Won one and tied the other against UMD the next weekend. After the holiday break they lost to Union and tied Ferris State before splitting with the hostile and abusives in Grand Forks two weekends ago.
The Gophers are led in scoring by senior Jay Barriball who has 11 goals and 11 assists in 22 games. Their 2nd leading scorer is senior Jacob Cepis with 7 goals and 11 assists. Mike Hoeffel rounds out their top three scorers with 9 goals and 8 assists. After that it's pretty much been scoring by committee for the Gophers. The Gophers have scored 67 goals this season and have given up 67 goals this season.
Senior goaltender Alex Kangas is finished for the season after going under the knife for hip surgery. So the only goalie UAA is likely to face this weekend is junior Kent Patterson.
I don't think there is any big secret to they style of game that UAA will employ in this series. They'll be playing exactly like they've been playing most of the year. They'll be concentrating on making the other team go the full 200ft. They'll be focused on getting pucks deep offensively and working the cycle. They'll look to create turnovers and be opportunistic in transition. And lastly they'll rely on work ethic and enthusiasm. The Seawolves know they'll get the goaltending performance they need to win these games.
Special teams play is always important and this weekend is no different. The Gophers don't have great percentages on the power play or penalty kill. So there are opportunities potentially for the Seawolves to assert themselves in both cases. We know UAA can be dangerous this season killing penalties and the sweep against CC showed they can convert with the extra man.
Last season's series at The John had it's ugly moments if you recall. Following the Portwood/Leddy jaw breaking incident all sorts of crap happened. From this end of the world it seemed to me that the Gopher initiated most of it. I'm sure some Gopher fans think it was all UAA player's fault.
I do remember UAA being down like 4-1very late in the 2nd game and skating shorthanded with 3 guys when the referee raised his arm to tag UAA with another penalty and suddenly you had 6 Gopher skaters on the ice doing everything they could possibly do to run up the score even though they had the game well in hand.
I remember freshman Chris Crowell making himself available for any dance that any Gopher wanted to choose. Naturally, they all declined. No doubt there are memories in the minds of players of both teams from last season but this ain't last year. I doubt there'll be any bullshit this weekend ... the points simply mean too much to both teams to allow that to happen.
Both games will be on TV this weekend on Fox Sports North and GCI Channel 1.