Tonight's game was for me an affair decided by special teams play. There's a lot of positives for the Seawolves throughout the lineup and I'll try to get to them in the limited time I have before I have to hit the sack. Time management is not my strongest point, offer to buy me a couple of beers and I'm all about foregoing my blogging for an hour or two. Such is the case this evening …
Allow me to start with the important scoring summary: Firstly, our Seawolves outshot the Black Bears on the evening 29-19. Scotty Allen bagged the first goal early (2:17 of the 1st) on the power play. He ripped a shot high to the left side from high in the right slot off a pass from Austin Coldwell. Blake Tatchell picked up the 2nd assist after the guys had worked the puck around nicely. It was a pretty goal.
Musil scored for Maine just a couple of minutes later at 4:39 as their power play expired. I don't think Matyas ever saw the puck come in from the blueline on a wrist shot; there was a fair bit of traffic down the middle and the puck just had eyes.
Austin Azurdia collected his first collegiate goal (1st of many I'm thinking) as he broke in on a 2 on 1 at 4:37 of the 2nd period, with Hayden Trupp off of a Chase Van Allen pass. Azurdia had enough time to consider his options and chose to shoot burying his chance over Matt Morris' left shoulder. It was a pretty goal too. Not to over pump his tires but Austin really has a sweet pair of hands. He managed to get a nice tip in a difficult position at one point that Morris had to make a tough save on. From junior stats I wouldn't have pegged him as such a scoring threat but I'm happy to say that early assessment is probably very wrong. He's gonna make us Seawolf fans happy I'm sure.
Later in the 2nd (at 16:13) Hudson Freisen bagged a sweet goal off a pass from Matt Anholt from behind the net. Morris couldn't have stopped it if he'd been channeling Marty Brodeur. A third pretty goal.
The score was fairly indicative of the game but it easily could have been a wider margin of victory. Brett Cameron hit the bottom of the crossbar at one point with a wicked first time on a power play and Matt Morris was really pretty solid for Maine I thought.
I mentioned it was a game that turned on special teams to some extent. UAA killed off a 5 minute penalty to Dylan Hubbs that I completely didn't see. More than a couple of Seawolves fans questioned it to me but again … I didn't see it at all. The kill though seemed to help the team's confidence overall.
UAA was called for 7 penalties on the night (seemed like more) and Maine was called for 6 (seemed like more); so it wasn't the most disciplined game. If anyone had a bit of an "off night" on the scoresheet it was Austin Sevalrud who took 3 minors (2 in the 1st period and one in the 2nd) but his play was otherwise solid. I could be mistaken but I think Coach Thomas sat him for a spell after his 3rd penalty.
If I had to pick a line as the most effective on the night I'd go with Zach Rassell, Anthony Conti and Hayden Trupp on the 4th line. They fulfilled their roles very well I thought. Just about every shift they took they had positive possession deep in the Maine end. They cycled and forechecked very well and paved the way for the 1st line to create scoring chances. Big phat props to those three guys. They earned their money tonight.
I didn't take the opportunity to chat with Coach Thomas after the game but I'm betting that he was very pleased with being able to roll the 4 lines the way he did. I know he mentioned earlier that it was a goal of his after shorting lines so often last year. There was some line shuffling due to the Hubbs game misconduct (he'll be available tomorrow … errr later today against Bucky). Hudson Freisen, Matt Anholt and Brad Duwe all played well and created chances. Freisen in particular had a very strong game. I think Tad Kozun is yet to "find his game" but was effective at times.
The D corps had a solid night. Austin Coldwell looked large and in charge on the power play. Chase Van Allen looked good offensively. Derek Docken did nothing wrong as usual particularly in his own zone. And I think Jarrett Brown has looked really poised and confident so far this year and did so tonight as well.
Michael Matyas had a couple of sweet saves and his positional play was excellent making a lot of the pucks he stopped look like pretty easy saves.
It was a very solid win against a gritty and energetic Maine team who played a pretty solid "team" game. They never laid down for the Seawolves and played til the end. I thought their best player on the night was Matt Morris. He had little to no chance on any of the Seawolves goals.
The results tonight make the Saturday games very interesting affairs indeed. I'd tend to think Maine will be motivated to have a better showing/result against UA_ and I'm damn sure that Bucky will adjust their game plan from the defense first effort they displayed tonight in hopes of knocking off our boys.
Good first outing for 2014-15.