I went to a hockey game and a possession style European soccer game broke out. And the Seawolves were on the wrong end of having the puck. If they tracked possession time then SCSU probably had the puck close to 70% of the time. Here's my comments during the game followed by some quick analysis.
1st Period ...
It's clear from the get go that this game will be en de at a much higher pace than last night's.
St. Cloud's first goal was entirely due to the excellent vision and pass from defenseman Jon Lizotte who very quickly saw Robby Jackson at the back door and delivered the perfect pass. Mantha had no chance even though he saw the play develop and reacted as quickly as humanly possible.
And the 2nd goal on the power play came from the exact same spot. Outnumbered this time Benik had a pretty easy finish and again Mantha never sniffed it.
Seawolves struggling a little bit. St. Cloud's passing is crisp and they've done a good job with possession in all three zones. And that good passing game and ability to keep the puck results in the 3rd goal which was another case of the puck changing direction quickly (this time on a quick drop to a guy cruising down the slot) and a clinical finish.
Seawolves playing much better in the 8:00 to 5:00 span left in the first. A clear jump in energy and execution after a couple of good hits and some determined smart play in the SCSU zone. The little momentum change wasn't sustained.
Seems like every time SCSU gets the puck they manage to hold it and work it; maybe not always completely to their will but it was a dominant period. The Seawolves have a lot of work to do to get back in the game.
2nd Period ...
Good determination after a good zone entry resulted in UAA's 1st goal. Tad Kozun finished into an open net after he, Jeremiah Luedtke and Blake Tatchell stayed with and advanced a bouncing puck that was deflecting off bodies.
The boys needed that. An early goal in this period is pretty golden for them after the way they got pwnd in the 1st period.
We returned the St. Cloud backdoor action on the 2nd goal as Brad Duwe won the puck in the corner and was patient gaining possession then worked hard to turn it out and bring it along the line. There was some puck luck involved for Anholt but now with 14:30 left in the 2nd ... it's a hockey game. Single assist awarded to Wyatt Ege but Duwe was really the player responsible for generating the chance to begin with.
St. Cloud again has had long periods of possession in the UAA zone. It's been a little bit like watching the German National team playing against Andorra. I exaggerate to make my point.
3rd Period ...
Much the same story as the first two periods through the first 10 minutes of the 3rd. The Huskies good possession is the story. Also, the referee that called the penalty on Anholt completely got it wrong.
More than once tonight backcheckers (and I'm not naming them except to say it was rookies) were standing stock still in their zone while SCSU passed it around. You can't stand there with your feet not moving and expect to make a play. Sure, St. Cloud made some nice passes but spectating by the Seawolves was not an appropriate response.
We played two very different opponents and two very different styles. ASU played a conservative defensive oriented game meant to deny chances and hopefully counter-attack. SCSU was happy to run and gun and they executed very well.
Wyatt Ege had the best game of anyone in a white sweater tonight. No doubt he's got things to adapt to and develop at this level but that won't take him long. Mason Mitchell physical play was ineffective tonight. He missed more guys than he hit.
My first impressions of a player I haven't seen before is always based on their wheels. Over the decades, I've seen more than a few guys that were deficient skaters. Most of them improved ... some dramatically. When Sean Wiles arrived here he couldn't skate. By his junior year he was busting around dudes wide. There's a couple of freshman players (who I'm not going to name at this time) who look to me (granted it's only two games) like they may need to focus some extra time on their skating. I hope I'm wrong and it won't be necessary to mention this again.
I think Jeremiah Luedtke is going to be a special player for us. He might not turn into Dean Larson but he's going to have some damn high assist numbers over his four year career and we Seawolf fans are going to fall in love with him.
Tanner Dusyk had lots of good minutes this weekend and did really well. I didn't know if he'd be rusty or whatever but he's clearly going to be a key player this season. I'd imagine Brad Duwe is happy to have Tanner at center.
I could go on but it's late.
St. Cloud earned their wins with a level of play that was a degree or two above the other teams in this tournament. Also congrats to ASU on their 1st D1 victory which couldn't have come against a team which could have delighted me more.