Before I get to a recruit update, Peluso request and WCHA playoff picks I'd first like to talk about politics!!! Yeah huh? Anyway, In my ongoing attempt to indoctrinate you all to my abhorrent political philosophy of Egalitarianism today I'd like to present a documentary by the vile Communist propagandist Errol Morris and his Marxist Fascist Socialist musician buddy Philip Glass.
The film embedded above is arrogantly titled "A Brief History of Time" after the horrible atheist Physicist Stephen Hawking's book and tells the story of his life interweaved with an exposition of Hawking's views about the universe.
Morris made several subversive films like Gates of Heaven, Vernon Florida, The Thin Blue Line, Fog of War and Standard Operating Procedure. I don't think all of them garnered Oscar nominations.
Oh wait it's not actually commie propaganda politics was it? Those are all films in the genre called Cinema Verite'. Which of course means that he just allows the people involved in the subject tell their story. And for fucks sake, that Philip Glass dude is only widely considered to be one of the great contemporary American composers.
So sorry to have imposed this political information on you.
With the coming of March hockey seasons all across North America begin their process of winding down. Some wind down more quickly than others and so today seems appropriate to start with something of a recruit update going alphabetically by league.
In the AJHL the regular season has concluded and the first round of the playoffs is wrapping up. Corbin Karl's Olds Grizzlys were swept in their first round series (best of 5) by the Calgary Mustangs by scores of 7-2, 6-2 and 7-1. Ouch. The Grizzlys finished the regular season with a 23-30-0-7 record in 5th place in the Southern Division of the league. The Mustangs finished 4th. Corbin had one assist in the 3 game series. His final regular season statistics of 12 goals and 27 assists placed him 3rd on the team in points and 5th overall in the league among defensemen. His 12 goals though tied him for 1st in that category league wide.
Scott Allen's Spruce Grove Saints contest their first game of the playoffs today after finishing 1st in the Northern Division with a 48-8-0-4 record. Not quite as dominant as last year if I remember correctly but still they were the best team in either division of the league. Scott finished the regular season scoring 21 goals and 23 assists in just 49 games while filling a role on 3rd and 4th lines. He joined the team late after attending the Des Moines camp in the USHL but wasn't added the Regg Simon coached team due to the 2 player import restriction in that league. Spruce Grove "welcomed" him back though.
Donnie Harris' Bonnyville Pontiacs swept their first round series with Sherwood Park after finishing the regular season in 3rd place in the Northern Division with a 35-16-0-9 record. In 53 games, Donnie scored 3 goals and added 14 assists. Two of his goals came on the power play. Donnie notched a playoff goal for the Ponts in their 3rd game against Sherwood on the power play at 15:43 of the 3rd period. They begin their 2nd round series today against Ft. McMurray.
The regular season has likewise finished in the BCHL as have the first round of the playoffs. Sam Mellor and the Trail Smoke Eaters had a bit of a rough 7 games series with Westside and were sent packing yesterday evening. The series boxscores looked pretty gong showish to me with lots of chippy play and bitterness. Trail and Westside don't much like each other.
Mellor finished the playoffs leading his team in scoring with 2 goals and 7 assists. For the regular season his 1.5 point per game scoring rate was 3rd best in the league. His 33 goals and 34 assists in just 45 put him at #16 in the league on the final day. He was the league leader or very near the league leader most of the season before missing games due to injury and Select Team play. Projecting his scoring out to 60 games would give him a point total of about 87. The league scoring champion had 93.
Andrew Pettitt finished his BCHL regular season career with 63 goals and 58 assists in 162 games. This season he scored 17 goals and added 23 assists in 52 games for the Powell River Kings which was good enough for 5th best on the squad. Powell River was a powerhouse this season in the league finishing with a 46-9-3-2 record which was 12 points better than any other team in the league. They start their playoff run (and they should run) on with a 2nd round series against Victoria this coming Tuesday.
Michael Stennerson's rookie campaign with the Surrey Eagles saw the recently turned 18 year old bag 10 goals with 20 assists in 54 games. The Eagles finished 2nd behind Powell River in the Coastal Conference with 73 points and a 35-22-1-2 record. Stennerson did not play in Surrey's 1st round series sweep of Coquitlam.
The USHL doesn't have a long playoffs season with a run-up to anything as cool as the RBC Cup so they're still in the regular season for a few more weeks. Ausitn Coldwell's Des Moines Bucs are currently in tied for 6th place in the Western Conference with 48 points. That's just one point ahead of the last place team in that division but better than 4 teams in the league. Coldwell continues to lead the league's defensemen in scoring with 7 goals and 24 assists in 46 games. His 31 points also leads all Des Moines players.
Derek Docken continues his excellence in the +/- category with a +13 over 46 games. He hasn't scored a goal yet this season but has 9 assists. Teammate Tony Larson is +11 in 33 games with 2 goals and 9 assists. Hard to know if these guys are partners on the blueline for Dubuque but I'll assume that their experience together on that team should serve them well next season on UAA's blueline. Dubuque has been an excellent defensive team all year only giving up 2.5 goals per game for 3rd best in the league in that category.
Eric Scheid with the Lincoln Stars has had a very nice and productive rookie campaign. His 10 goals and 15 assists in 45 games so far this season puts him at 5th overall on the team. Eric's current 10 game goal-less streak is his longest of the season though. Previously he went no more than 4 or 5 games between notching goals. Lincoln is 23-19-5 in the Western Confernce just 3 points above Des Moines.
Zach Rall with Tri-City has 3 goals and 6 assists in 37 games so far this season. Tri-City is 19-19-10 over the season and is currently tied with Des Moines at 48 points. I don't follow the USHL closely in terms of roster movement but I've got to say that Tri-City sure seems to be one of the busiest team in that regard over the course of the last few years. I don't know if that is a factor in this team's lack of success or not but player stability sure seems to serve the top teams in that league well.
I'll have one final comprehensive update of all the future Seawolves sometime in about a month or so.
I want to take another opportunity to ask everyone once again to support the nomination for the retirement of jersey #24 in honor of Mike Peluso. Please, (really please ...) take just a few minutes of your time and drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org in support.
Just so you know and since I haven't mentioned it. I took the time to get Big Mike's permission to pursue this effort before I emailed the HOF committee with the request. He couldn't say enough about how much he thought the Seawolves program contributed to his hockey career. His humility at my insistence that everything he accomplished as a professional player was due to his own hard work and determination displayed to me his great personal character.
I will credit the UAA program with always giving consideration to that quality in the players we've seen over the years. Mike is a great early example of that. He is the embodiment of the idea of playing with heart. And if some measure of that came from playing hockey for UAA then I coudn't be prouder to be a fan of the program.
Here's how the rest of the WCHA playoffs shake out and my thoughts on each series.
Michigan Tech @ North Dakota
These teams played just this past weekend in Houghton and UND put a 17-3 cumulative drubbing on the OG Huskies. Not much more needs to be said I guess. Tech is in that unenviable position of really not having much of a chance and having to muster their pride in an attempt to keep from losing. But, unfortunately for anyone that hates a favored team ... they'll surely fall short. UND advances in 2.
Mankato @ Denver
Lots of people assume that Mankato has given up. I didn't see that this past weekend against UAA. I saw a team and a coach that read what every other media hack covering the WCHA wrote and assumed they were the better team than UAA. Then they went out and tried to prove it by playing only offense. If Jutting has any sense (debatable), then he'll get his team to play some defense against DU and who knows what might happen when you frustrate some prima-donnas. DU advances in 3 (if Jutting follows my advice ... otherwise they'll lose two straight games 7-4 and 6-3).
Bemidji @ Omaha
UNO is yet to beat Bemidji this season and they played 4 times. The only time I saw either of these teams play was against UAA. UNO was the better team from top to bottom. But Bemidji has a potent 1st line. Whatever magic my 2nd favorite coach in the WCHA used to beat my least favorite coach in the WCHA 3 times may very well rear it's head again this weekend. You won't likely see anyone else pick this and I'm going to do so just to rub the Omaha bumpkins the wrong way. Bemidji advances in 3.
St. Cloud @ Duluth
Even though everyone picked SCSU to finish 2nd or 3rd and they bombed out through most of the season, all those people are suddenly back on the SCSU bandwagon. Scott Sandelin for whatever reason can't ever seem to get his team to play consistently. But he's got just too much scoring on the 1st line for SCSU defense to deal with and those aren't the only players who've put the puck in the net. Color me not impressed with SCSU's lineup this season; how many penalties can Garrett Roe draw by diving? Not enough this weekend. UMD advances in 2.
Wisconsin @ Colorado College
These two team just played this weekend in Madison and split. Naturally UAA couldn't count on the Black Bears to deliver two wins and put the Seawolves in 7th. What is it in The Springs that turns CC into chokers in March and April? The Badgers haven't been good ever since their blogger started his "Bracketology" column back in January to explain to his readers where the Badgers would be going come NCAA time. So to me this series is "Cart before the Horse" versus "Inconsistent Chokers". I'll say CC in 3 (just to pander to BBEF) with the 3rd game going into 6 overtimes.