I often prattle on here about how important the upcoming series is. Same thing this week. Even moreso. If the Seawolves want to remain contenders for a home ice playoff series then they will benefit that goal by coming home from Grand Forks with some points. Plural. Remember my "step one" and "step two" posts last week? Well there's another step to be taken this weekend.
Minnesota and CC still have 2 games in hand. The Gophers have the tough task this weekend of trying to snag some points from DU and CC hosts Mankato. The Mavericks likely won't have given up their aspirations to at least better their standing but you have to imagine that CC will most likely get those four points at home. Points this weekend for UAA then are crucial in order to try to match the Black Bears. If the Seawolves can muster the focus, effort and execution necessary this weekend to win some points then there can there be any doubt that the race for that final playoff spot will be very tight?
I think the games this weekend are going to have a little bit of everything but could very well be decided by veterans. Both teams have a top notch core of upperclassmen that have been making varied and quality contributions. The top five upperclassmen for UAA have been Tommy Grant, Craig Parkinson, Nick Haddad, Curtis Leinweber and Sean Wiles. Cumulatively they've got 29 goals out of UAA's 62 for 46.77%. UND's Frattin, Trupp, Malone, Genoway and Gregoire have 59 goals out of UND's 106 for 55.66%.
UND's 106 goals overall is no small number. I think it's mitigated slightly though when you consider that 70 of those have come in conference games for 66%. By comparison UAA has 48 goals in conference games for 77%.
Clearly then upperclassmen are going to be a big big factor in the outcome of these two games. There's a big difference in production from the rookie class however. UAA's top four freshman Matt Bailey, Jordan Kwas, Brett Cameron and Wes McLeod have tallied 17 goals for 27.4% of UAA's total. UND's only four freshman Nelson, Forbort, Rodwell, Simpson have 8 goals between them. Winnipegger Matt Bailey had a nice game
UND will be without Chay Genoway (6g-19a) and Danny Kristo (5g-17a) this weekend who are both out injured with indeterminate returns.
According to a blurb today in the ADN over the last nine games the Seawolves have some good looking numbers. They are 5-3-1 in that span. The goaltenders have combined for a .903 save percentage. The power play produced 25% of the time. They killed off 87.9% of opposition power plays.
Not that we didn't notice goaltending and special teams play had improved but it's nice to see it "on paper". I'm not about to guess about goaltender playing time this weekend for UAA.
It's later, rinse and repeat time here on the blog now. It's important first that the team focus on the game at hand on Friday night. They must continue to play their style and dictate the game's pace. They need to convert on their power play chances and shut down UND's power plays. The Seawolves will have to manufacture offensive chances off the cycle and make good on whatever odd man rushes they get. They'll need to win face-offs. They'll need to play good positionally at all times. In short, nothing but a top notch performance is going to be successful. All aspects of the Seawolves game will need to be well executed this weekend.
I'll have a regulation game day thread tomorrow with the conventional CoverItLive chatroom. The game starts at 4:37 and the chat will be open about 15 mins prior.
And I had to wait for the video to upload to youtube which is why the post is later than I'd originally planned. It crapped out the first time and it takes nearly an hour to upload a vid of that size with my connection.