"If you stop UAA's first line you'll beat them"; That surely was the scouting report around the league on the Seawolves so far this season. As I analogized last night, riding "the horse" wasn't getting it done. Coach Thomas has responded tonight by going with a completely revamped lineup.
Tatchell is centering Tad Kozun (last night's best player) and Brad Duwe … Leask is centering Allen and Azurdia … Anholt is centering Freisen and Cameron …. and on the 4th line Rassell is centering Dylan Hubbs and Anthony Conti. So it's a full 12 forwards after we've seen the 7th defenseman option for most of the season. I predict a good outcome from the revamping.
All four first shifts created near scoring chances. Not raise you out of your seats chances but nonetheless more than last night. So with 16:51 to go it's a real positive start.
Kozun goal came from hard work as Duwe was trying to work the puck toward center near the top of the circle the puck got deflected to a waiting Kozun high in the left slot and he finished it sweetly with a stiff wrist-shot right on the ice that beat Dahlstrom on his glove side.
Shots are a bit even with 5 mins left in the period but all of the reasonable chances have been manufactured by UAA and most of Northern's shots have been outside with the exception of one brief flurry. Mantha's been sharp.
Hubbs finished in the paint after some hard work after Conti made an extremely effective change and carried the puck into the zone nicely avoiding a potential offside and keeping pressure in the Northern Zone.
Austin Sevalrud joined the scoring frenzy in the last minute of the period (did I say "scoring frenzy" while writing about this year's Seawolves?). Hard work from Conti and Hubbs contributed and they picked up the assists. It was briefly reviewed but called a goal, the puck looked to come off the shaft of Sevvie's stick.
All the new lines generated something positive offensively. Just about everything you could hope for with a big change in the lines. Not just having one line to shut down proved problematic for Northern.
Just finished the first power play chance of the evening. Line changes extend to those units as well. We had decent possession and good work on the power play but no dangerous chances resulted.
Most interesting sequence of the period so far is when the Rassell, Conti and Hubbs line was deep into a stretch cycling the puck and winning face-offs and Conti just absolutely "worked" Mitch Jones like a rented mule for nearly the whole shift. Stole the puck from him, hit him, blocked his passes and hit him and also hit him.
The five on three power play worked it well and Hubbs had a sweet backdoor chance that he maybe should have finished high as Dahlstrom came back across nicely for a leg save. They continued with good work and trying to find a solid opening but when it was there the puck went wide or high.
Northern had a decent shorthanded break finally after taking penalty after penalty in some sort of homage to UAA's normally high numbers in that stat. Mantha got a small piece of it with his blocker to send it wide.
With Leask in the box for elbowing Dylan Hubbs got into Northern's collective head trying hard to make something happen with the puck on the back side of the net. Then Dominic Shine absolutely decked Hubbs after the whistle. So naturally, Dylan and him go to the box. Then Williams rubs a guy out along the boards and behind his net on the PK and get's whistled for a 5 min CFB.
A good period overall but no goals. 3-0 is a nice lead but you'd hope to extend it. The lines were all still effective but there was less 5 on 5 play through the period as the referees insisted on being part of the game and were pretty active with the calls.
Opened with a Tad Kozun break shorthanded; Tad tried low on Dahlstrom's right (blocker side) to no avail. The last minute of the 5 min major was killed with relative ease.
Conti had a sweet rush inside/outsiding a guy on his way to the net. Northern is trying to apply more pressure to get back into the game over the first five mins of this period. They're stretching it out and trying lots of long passes to push it deep into our end. It's being marginally effectively but could cost them.
Mantha standing solid. He has such good anticipation. He's in the spot he needs to be in before the shot gets there. He's definitely getting more tested so far in this period. Pretty sure UAA just got outshot on their power play so Mantha being sharp is obviously a big thing. He's making everything hit him in the midsection with his perfect positioning. He's also just quick. Definitely the most talented goaltender we've had at UAA since Nathan Lawson. But he's not a crazy goaltender-type.
Also should praise Matt Anholt here. The guy is just super hard-working on both ends. He does a good job on the draws. Probably the best two way (and he scores as I am writing this … quick let me write something praising Scott Allen) forward on the team. Very responsible player with good skates and hands who is willing to give up the body in his own end.
4-0 is a good result and of course a win is badly needed. The fans here did a nice job respecting the player's efforts tonight. There's still work to be done for this team to climb in the standings. Hopefully, tonight is some sort of start to restoring some of the league point's that have been lost.