No doubt Brad Gorham would trade his first goal in a Seawolves uniform for a win tonight. But after he tallied just 25 seconds into the game, the team was unable to find the twine again. Couple that with a meltdown of sorts in the third period and at least the misery of riding home on an airplane after a loss was pretty short.
I use the qualifier "of sorts" in relation to the word meltdown purposely. There was no huge span of horrible play by the squad to cause the loss. The 'nookies went up 2-1 at 8:09 of the 3rd when they finally finished one of their chances, something the Seawolves didn't do. Sean Wiles had hit the crossbar in the 2nd period on a shorthanded chance and the Seawolves had a couple of power plays (including 2 mins of 5 on 3 play) all of which would have extended their lead. But they just didn't have the finishing in them tonight.
Then 7 freaking seconds after UAF went up 2-1 the score was suddenly 3-1. You know how that shit goes if you've ever watched hockey. I don't want to say anyone was flat-footed per se ... just that the 'nookies kept forcing the puck forward after the face-off and bam it's in the back of the net. Boom roasted. End of story. The fat lady was singing.
Coach Shyiak called a time out and tried to settle down and rally the troops. The Seawolves then pushed but weren't generating the sorts of opportunities that looked to put them back in the game. So with around 6 minutes left in the game, he pulled Gunderson for a sixth attacker in hopes the extra guy would make something happen and turn the momentum. It didn't happen.
They scored an ENG and pretty much game over. Yeah, they added some power play goal late in the game. Whatev. From my perspective, all I can say is that I'm glad it will be another year before uh um I have to uh um uh huh um hear um uh uh um Erik um Drygas speak on the uh um uh TV. And next time Erik, just say what you want to say dude. Come out and say you think Shyiak is a fucker. I know you want to. Do it. If you do it once, then maybe you'll quit with your yearly fixation about him; alternatively perhaps you can do some pregame ritual to get it out of your system? Oh yeah, Shyiak is still 9-6-2 against UAF ... so uh um .. uh .. suck on that.
So after the Seawolves take game two on Saturday guess what happens? Yep ... another shootout to determine who gets "the cup". I'm rolling my eyes right now at the prospect. Three of UAF's 9 cup's have been AWARDED via shootout. And now that the junior league they're in uses that all year long they should certainly be expected to come out on top if it comes down to that again.
I want to single out some Seawolves for their noticeably good play tonight. In particular, I thought Jade Portwood and Tyler Currier were great tonight. Lots of other players had good games and executed well and did their jobs as they should. But Jade and Tyler were all over it. They were on top of it. They skated circles around it. They hit it. They both had excellent games.
Brad Gorham's goal was sweet. It was a great pass from Grant to Gorham streaking down the left side in transition and Brad buried it. No blame for this loss on Rob Gunderson either. As far as I'm concerned he played good enough to have had only two goals scored on him.
It's not the first time this season that the team came out on the short end because of lack of offense. Not converting on any power play chances is a big factor. But guys with the pucks on their sticks in scoring areas have to show some aplomb with their shot selection and finish. That's not easy, I know that. You only have a fraction of a second sometimes and just getting off a shot is some sort of success, but that's not enough. Just the way it is. Gotta put the puck in to win.
And oh yeah ... I hate the frickin umbrella power play. Yeah yeah .. I know, I know all about how every NHL team uses it and blah blah blah. This ain't the NHL. NHL penalty killers don't pressure the puck the same way. Just sayin ...