|Tell me that ain't Gwoz ...|
It's pretty rare you see a hockey team that basically outworked and outplayed an opponent lose by 5-1. That's what I saw tonight. Tonight's game for me came down to a contest of chances finishing. The Seawolves finished only one of their many many chances. DU finished most of their chances. Game over. Nutshell. Finis. End of story. That's all she rolls. The fat lady sung.
A couple of mistakes late in the first period gave DU a two goal lead and changed the character of the game. UAA had been pretty much dominating (not quite tilting the ice but really applying good pressure) through 17 minutes. DU outplayed UAA only here and there. But those here and there's seemed to all result in goals for them. After the first period a lot of the game could be characterized as mostly evenly played. But again, there were some really nice stretches in the 2nd and 3rd periods where I felt that the Seawolves really imposed themselves on DU.
This is the sort of loss that may be hard for players to forget. There are more than a few guys kicking themselves tonight. Some probably feel shitty for the mistakes they made that led to DU goals. Some must surely be kicking themselves for not burying the puck.
DU's goaltender played solid enough for the win but I don't want to over-credit him. While the Seawolves had quality chances, they mostly didn't finish with quality. Shooting the puck into a crease monkey's chest ain't gonna get you a goal at this level. Out of the 30 or so shots UAA got to the net tonight ... maybe 5 were really challenging for DU's netminder.
It's a very frustrating result. The entire series against DU this season was once again frustrating. The Seawolves could have and maybe should have won both of the games here in Anchorage. Last night's game was also winnable. And then to get pasted on the scoreboard when you didn't really get pasted on the ice ... well that's frustrating.
Don't think I'm taking away from DU's scoring talent tonight. They buried their chances. They sure deserve credit for that. But it's nigh on impossible for me at this point to say they were the better team on the ice over the 4 games UAA played. The win/loss record would call me foolish for saying that. But it remains my feeling that the 3-0-1 record in this season's series with DU really could have gone in UAA's favor but for execution on a few plays and a bounce or two.
And yes, I recognize that at this level those little differences result in one team winning and one losing. But I'm not going to give up my belief that this season's UAA team has something going for it that past ones typically didn't. Next week's games in Minneapolis will be mighty important. The Seawolves needed points going into these DU games and came up with zilch.
Congrats to Chris Crowell on his first official goal though I still think he scored one last year versus SCSU. I thought Rob Gunderson played well. I cannot begin to fault him for any of the 5 goals tonight.
I didn't hear any new updates on Andrew Pickering other than he received many stitches on his ear and was concussed from taking the puck to the head on Friday night. I hope he recovers quickly but I'd be really surprised if he plays next weekend. That being the case the team will likely have to bring in another player from here in town since they're staying in the lower-48 rather than trekking home before heading to Minisoduh.