Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012-2013 Senior Class

Here's the first of the "class" previews for the season. I've provided some brief highlights and tried to focus on some individual things that each of these players could bring to the table to help the team succeed.

The 2012-2013 Seawolves Senior class has five members; Chris Crowell, Tyler Currier, Alex Gellert, Daniel Naslund and Scott Warner. These 5 guys represent 389 games of Division 1 experience. What they do with that experience this year will go a long way to shaping the success of this years team.

 Chris Crowell's picture and bio should be used in the encyclopedia entry for "College Hockey Player". He is every bit the definition of student/athlete. Before coming to UAA, he captained the Vernon Vipers, won the RBC Cup and was a perennial fan favorite. Since coming to UAA, Chris has been a leader. Off the ice he was named a WCHA Scholar Athlete and WCHA All-Academic Team in both his sophomore and junior seasons. Chris isn't a scoring machine with just 1 goal in his 59 games. His value though as an on-ice and locker room leader cannot be underestimated. I suspect though that this season Chris will be called upon to step up his game on the ice and contribute in order to maximize his ice time. That means assisting on and scoring some goals. If he can find a niche role and capitalize he'll play more regularly than the last couple of years. If not then I'm sure he'll be a great teammate and leader off the ice and that contributes to success as well. 

Tyler Currier's on-ice career at UAA is as a guy that does everything the coach asks and always seems to exceed expectations in whatever role he is filling. Tyler has played 67 games and I'd have to guess a rough split between forward and defenseman. He has 3 goals and 8 assists but as with Crowell, Tyler is an added value player. Not only does he give the cliched "Hundred and Ten Percent!1!!1" every shift but you can see from the stands that he's enjoying himself. That kind of attitude is infectious. I'm betting Tyler plays at least the first half of the season on the blueline; beyond that I'm not going to predict. He'd also be on my short-list of penalty killers. Cos of the 110 percent thing and he's got good quickness and is very effective checking in all areas.  Don't forget the hometown factor with Tyler.  He's a proud product of Anchorage.

Alex Gellert's junior season might have been a bit of a disappointment to him. After playing in 36 games both of his first two seasons, he found himself only in 25. I don't know why sometimes junior seasons seem to be cursed but it isn't the first time I've seen a player take a dip in their third year. Nevertheless, Alex has become a face-off force winning 123 last year. I'm probably have his percentage somewhere but can't find it. Alex takes only a few penalties. He's a good skater and capable of getting to scoring areas and works the possession game well. He's not a bruising checker but can dish it out and take it. Alex also needs to find a role in addition to his face-off skills so that he can maximize his ice-time and find more production than just the 2 goal per year average so far as a Seawolf. 

Daniel Naslund has come farther than any four year player that I can remember. He had decent stats as a freshman with 3 goals and 10 assists. But the real story that season was two-fold; he had noticeably soft hands but clearly was deficient skating. There's little to no sign anymore of any deficit in his skating. He has obviously worked very very hard on it. Nothing else would explain his vast improvement. Last year he scored 5 goals and added 8 assists to tie his freshman campaign but there were light years of real performance between the two. If Daniel can play confidently and get to and stay in scoring areas this year he has the hands to be the only senior to have a chance to score double-digits in goals.

Scott Warner is another proud Anchorage product.  The cheering section he brings (his sister? ... I think) is the loudest player-related cheering section of any player.  Scott has been a much valued transfer after leaving Army to come to UAA.  He's played in 69 games in two seasons and provided 5 goals and 20 assists from the back end.  At 5ft 9in he brings exactly what you'd think to the blueline ... quickness.  His offensive numbers don't reflect his unofficial status as a skating goalie.  I lost count of how many pucks he's stopped on the line that otherwise would have only been stopped by the net.  The guy just gets it done at both ends of the ice.  He'll play every game this season and he'll be a factor on every shift.  If you want to bet on who plays the most minutes per game this year.  This is the player to bet on.

Perhaps the most important asset that this class can contribute to the 2012-2013 Seawolves is to impart their obviously fine character to the rest of the team. They can lead and help everyone on the team to make the place a family. We all have to accept that much of UAA's competition is going to hit the rink with more talent. Always has been and probably will always be.  Knowing that doesn't stop a team of determined guys playing for each other from succeeding. Quite the opposite ... it should bind every Seawolf together.

1 comment:

arcticfox said...

Thanks for the senior class write-up in our last season in the current WCHA! :0)

Hard to believe you'll be off to Chicago in just a couple of weeks and following our Seawolves from afar from now on. You rock Donald! ~♥

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