Monday, October 30, 2006

National Champs Up Next

So before I get started detailing why I think Wisconsin coming to town is the best possible situation for the Seawolves; I thought I'd reprint my congratulatory post for any Wisconsin fans that didn't happen across my blog last April.
The Pinnacle and The Rest of Us
It's all officially done. The Frozen Four is finished. And for the overwhelming majority of college hockey fans today is really no different from yesterday. One team won the championship and its fans have no doubt got to be seriously pumped. For the fans of 58 other teams the only solace that can be found is in waiting: waiting for the new season to start when all 59 teams start equal (on paper at least); waiting for another chance; waiting to see how it will all turn out; just a bunch of waiting. No waiting for Badger fans though. Their team won the championship (by a goalpost and 1.3 seconds). They're all feeling what the rest of us yearn to feel. Sure there are some of us non-buckybackers that know the feeling. DU fans had a couple of years worth.

But just as it is in every other sport we fans spend our money and time in hopes that we'll share in the pride that the pinnacle of fandom (a championship) brings. Most of do this knowing that it will likely take years of program building and disappointment and ultimately some luck before we can share that feeling. Yesterday Badger fans were in that boat. Today they're not. Today they are the ones lucky enough to feel that; 15 years since the last time they felt it; they should covet it; I would. I'm envious of Badger fans today but at the same time know that tomorrow UAA and UW will be equal (on paper at least). So congratulations to all the Badger fans who's years of support and belief have today been repaid by their team. Cheers.

Now onto this whole why the hell is the #5 ranked defending National Champions coming to Anchorage to play the re-tooled re-energized but unproven Seawolves a good thing? Because it is exactly the sort of opportunity that this team needs at this point in the season. They've played some good teams that might have just played average against them. The team now also has an ugly loss in it's collective psyche (and that's probably a good thing). It's an opportunity that is no doubt full of challenges. In order to seize the chance the team will have to play virtually flawlessly all weekend. They have to dominate in what Coach Shyiak has been calling "competing". They'll have to finish their chances (and those will likely be limited). They'll have to play their best two games of the year. That's why I think it's just the ticket. What could be better than to have the chance to measure yourself against a highly regarded team? Wisconsin comes to town after being swept by the team that they won the NC game against last year. They'll definitely be looking to this weekend to put that behind them and Coach Eaves is all about his squad getting some quality road time together for the sake of bonding. So it's all cool when otherwise competing interest's display some synergy ... right? The Seawolves should be happy to have to opportunity to prove themselves at home early in the season and the Badgers are happy to get the chance for some extended bonding.

Even though it's early in the season some statistical analysis is becoming relevant. On paper UAA and UW match up pretty well with both having PK's near 85% and PP's about 18% each. Bucky is 3-3-2 and UAA is 2-2-2. The Badgers beat and tied Northern Michigan, they split at home vs. UND then beat and tied UMD before the sweep by BC last weekend. UAA beat Merrimack and tied UNO before beating and tying UAF on the road and being swept last weekend. Bucky is scoring 2.13 goals per game and giving up 2.13. UAA is scoring 3 goals per game and giving up 4. Bryan Elliot has a Sv% of .927 ... Lawson and Olthuis are at about .850 if you combine them.

So this weekend some questions should be answered. Some doubts may be erased. Regardless of the results though we'll have a better idea of which of our hopes and expectations may be fulfilled through the rest of the season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the commies over look the seawolves for DU. Well we can hope but the red army is usually very disciplined and we have had our troubles against them, even in years when losing to the gophers was not an option (2-0-1 i believe a couple years ago) but the commies are always red and always ready. the only bright spot is the fact that they have lost so much and have several injuries, what is it with injuries they have been missing their top seven scorers from last year? well UAA can win this game but will need to control the puck and the game no give aways and like was stated CAPITALIZE on their chances. expecting a grind it out weekend.

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