Tonight's win versus Wisconsin put the exclamation point on an outstanding weekend of Seawolf Hockey. Already I see a team with tons of character that really seems dedicated to playing for each other. These guys overcame a boatload of adversity tonight. Definitely press the read more button below because I have a ton of good stuff to say about everybody. Also, the picture above is the back of the Seawolves warm-ups. Pretty Badass I think.
They were whistled for more than a few penalties and killed almost everything all weekend if I'm not mistaken. Two 5 minute majors were killed tonight along with about 1:30 of 5 on 3 at one point. Both nights saw a key player tossed from the game for major penalties. But the team not only persevered, they flourished and came together to overcome. That's a great indication of "team play".
Let me start with some needed backtracking. Yesterday I mentioned that I thought Tad Kozun hadn't found his game yet. He found it tonight and I wish I'd never said what I did. It wasn't that he scored two very important goals tonight though, it was his play when he wasn't putting the puck in the net that impressed me. He forechecked aggressively and effectively, he backchecked well and challenged for the puck all over the ice. He was nothing short of studly tonight. Congrats to him on being named to the all-tournament team. Other media probably voted for him on the strength of his two important goals; I voted for him for his overall and very noticeable excellent play.
The Trupp, Rassell, Conti line was excellent again tonight. Just like last night they consistently generated pressure in the Wisconsin zone, kept the puck deep and outworked the opposition. They were a key factor in the wins both nights. I put Hayden Trupp on my All-Tournament team ballot as not just a nod to him but to the entire line. I spoke with Coach Thomas after the game specifically about that line and he was very pleased with them as well. I said to him that he's got a #1 line and 3 number 2 lines. One of things I heard him say in the preseason was that he hoped to be able to roll 4 lines this year. It looks to me that he's going to be able to do that.
Freisen, Anholt and Duwe were dangerous both nights and outplayed their opposing lines. Kozun, Azurdia and Hubbs were equally effective and dangerous. There really were no weak spots on the weekend. Obviously, the #1 line of Allen, Tatchell and Cameron are special. They all had time on the power plays and penalty kills as well and accounted for themselves very well of course. Scott Allen dominated at times. Blake Tatchell had some extra bounce in his step tonight and made some beautiful passes and played the physical game well too. Brett Cameron is playing like a beast. The hit that he got tossed for was clearly unintentional and just a result of intense competition.
I have unbridled optimism going forward. They beat a couple of competitive teams and overcame adversity both nights. I know I said character up front but it's worth mentioning again. They displayed it in spades.
Mantha and Matyas both played well this weekend. Olivier tonight made several crucial big time saves down the stretch when Wisconsin put on tons of pressure. I really liked his lateral movement and quickness. It was good to see him tested and come out successful. Goaltending was a question mark coming into the season; that question had some very positive initial answers this weekend.
Defense was solid all weekend. I could pump Derek Docken's tires all day because he is just so consistently good but I want to really sing Jarrett Brown's praises right now. He's got a lot more skill than I imagined. Great hands and an excellent sense of where he is in relation to the opposition. He can move the puck with a good pass or on the carry. He was very poised and looked like a veteran out there. A good veteran. And we're going to see some offensive production from him for sure.
Chase Van Allen is a gem. Austin Coldwell is super smart. Chris Williams is intense. Austin Sevalrud settled down tonight and was very solid in his end playing very unselfishly.
These all seem like great signs to me of perhaps a pretty special team. There's obviously a long way to go and no doubt this group faces bigger challenges than trying to win their opening season home tournament. BTW … UA_ won on goal differential. Essentially, they won it because they scored an empty netter against Maine. The trophy's got to go to someone and congratulations to them. Hopefully, our guys will return the favor next weekend by beating Air Force and Penn State by more goals than UA_ does.
It was an enjoyable weekend for me. I had an real nice casual conversation with Red Gendron about travel and he absolutely put the kibosh on notions that travel was any sort of issue with his team's play and that such notions were essentially ridiculous. If any of you ever get the chance to talk with Brush Christiansen, DO IT. The guy is an absolute delight to talk hockey with. Thanks to all the UAA staff that worked their butts off to keep the media happy. All the volunteers should be thanked as well for all they do for the program. If you know any of them, buy them a beer.
I'm about out of gas. I had a long day on not lots of sleep. I'm sure I'll look back over this later and wish I'd said a million other things so watch for me to say those million other positive things over the next few days. Congrats to the team on a great weekend. Go Seawolves.