Color me completely and utterly lacking in surprise that a Dean "Oggietorp" Blais coached hockey team would be the stick happiest, slashingest hackers that I've seen on a WCHA hockey rink this season. I thought Friday night's game UNO initiated a fair bit of chippy bullshit ... but tonight that was doubled.
No doubt Blais is an intelligent coach. He clearly recognized that referees Adam and Walsh pretty much swallowed their whistles on Friday night and obviously gave his team free reign tonight to goon it up. There is a difference between a hard physical team and a dirty team. Tonight fans in Anchorage saw a dirty team. There is a reason that UNO is the most penalized team in the WCHA and that reason stands on their bench behind his players.
It was like playing against an early 2000's UND team. Not to say that Dave "McCracken" HACKsTOOL doesn't pull the same shit down there now; but in three games versus UND this season I didn't see near the total hacking bullshit that I saw out of UNO tonight. It was a fucking disgrace. But it was a strategy that worked, it got the Seawolves off their game.
There was nary a faceoff that didn't include cheap little hacks to the back of the legs, cup checks and slashes to hands. If this game had been called the way so many people in the WCHA whine for games to be called there would have been twice or three times as many penalties called. I'm all for the refereeing philosophy to let the two teams decide the game but that doesn't minimize my frustration tonight.
It looked like early on that the referees tried to set a tone that they weren't going to let any of last nights faceoff shenanigans prevail when they sent cocky little punk Matt White and Nick Haddad off just 1:18 into the game before the puck was dropped after an offside call. But they never really followed up and UNO took advantage of the their leniency. Yeah ... Dean Blais is smarter than Don Adam and Tim Walsh. Big surprise.
The refereeing and unabated hacking from UNO was not however the reason that the Seawolves lost this game. Lack of finishing was. The Seawolves outshot UNO 30-18 on the night. None of the Seawolves shots went in. Yes, they got credited with a goal. But that was the result of a sprawled UNO player trying to sweep the puck out of the slot with his hand which then went straight into the net.
It was nice to see some extra people come out to the game. I can only imagine that was a result of Matt Shasby's commentary in the ADN extolling hockey fans to come out and support the team.
Matt Bailey was hurt on a uncalled interference in the 1st period. With the puck nowhere in sight he was checked along boards near the blueline and went down appearing to twist his knee. He limped to the locker room shortly thereafter.
Tommy Grant was cross-checked in the head after the whistle and UNO player Ryan Walters only received a 2 minute roughing penalty. It was a travesty. Clearly it should have been a five minute major for contact to the head and a game disqualification. That is supposed to be the point of emphasis this year.
I was asked tonight if any UAA opponent had been called for a 5 minute major this season in a game against the Seawolves. I sure don't remember a single one. I'll roll through all the all boxscores later to satisfy my curiosity but perhaps one of you guys will know the answer.