Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Tough Weekend

So since we're ignoring Friday's nightmare does that mean we should ignore tonights loss? There were more than just a few plays and situations worth noting so I can't ignore discussing those things. There are good lessons to be learned in a loss like tonights. The team answered the call. Getting trounced the night before didn't kill their confidence. They showed some heart and did indeed "redouble" their efforts. With a 2-1 lead in the second period and the ice tilted in UAA's favor a controversial goal was awarded to the Huskies. And though UAA would often dominate portions of the remaining game they weren't really able get to the sweet spots for shots. They had some chances but Nolan was also up to the challenge. The shot total is respectable but without looking at a shot chart I'd say that less than 25 percent of them were from those prime scoring areas. I'll credit the MTU defense for that. They were much more often in postion in their own zone than they were out. UAA's PK was good and didn't give up any of the goals. Coach Shyiak made a choice to pull Lawson with 2:32 in the game and I'd be commending that choice even if it hadn't led to a goal. He showed confidence in his squad and they rewarded him with hard work even after MTU got the empty netter.

UAA's forecheck was strong for the entire game as it has been so far this season. The Seawolves continued to transition up the ice with speed and passing. Backstrom looked good. Mat Robinson had an excellent game. Two of UAA's 3 goals came from the blueline with Smith and Anderson getting one each. And Jay Beagle's goal came as a direct result of UAA's 3rd defenseman Nathan Lawson. It isn't the first time his puck handling skills have had such a result and it won't be the last either. But overall like I said I have to give credit to MTU in their own end. They mirrored UAA's defensive play from the last couple of weeks and kept Seawolf players out of the best scoring areas and limited the good chances. It was good to see Ken Selby getting some shifts and he looked pretty good on the forecheck. Waldrop continued to look dangerous and Jared Tuton did some good things skating much of the game with Beagle and Waldrop. Lunden, Crowder and Bourne were strong on the puck all night long and managed to create more than just a couple of scoring chances. And oh yeah ... for my highlight of the game ... Jay Beagle killed off the last 40 seconds of the 5 minute power play basically by himself first fighting to keep the puck in the corner but losing it to a 3rd MTU player who shoveled it to the opposite side along the boards and when the wing picking up the puck along the boards bobbled it momentarily, there was #71 to take it away and push it back into the corner. Standing O for that from this blogger.

UAA certainly got no breaks from Randy "slow whistle" Schmidt and his crew. The AR called 3 penalties tonight. One a total phantom on Charlie Kronschnabel that killed a big rally from the Seawolves when they were looking dangerous. On the 3rd MTU goal; after an extended discussion with Coach Shyiak, referee Schmidt proceeded directly to the review machine but apparently found nothing to overturn the goal call in the whole 23 seconds he looked at the monitor. I'm not sure what the aspect that Coach Shyiak was questioning but was 23 seconds really long enough for him to see or was he just covering his ass? Schmidt's later failure to blow the whistle for a Seawolf injury (during any of the 15 seconds that UAA maintained possession and seemingly waited for a whistle) contributed to MTU's 4th goal. It was almost the sort of performance that booster clubs would pay for but on the flip side if UAA players hadn't been waiting for a whistle then the Huskies wouldn't have been able to create the turnover that led to the goal. Playing to the whistle (instead of thinking it will blow) is always the best policy.

So no excuses really. Overall it was a crappy weekend for getting points but could be an important weekend for character building and learning lessons. Hey ... there's another 28 games to go. And it only gets tougher with Bucky coming to town next weekend.


DC said...

So... was there even halfway decent officiating ANYWHERE?

Donald Dunlop said...

It was halfway decent. There were only two bad calls I guess.

Anonymous said...

Yeah so hopefully we built A LOT OF CHARACTER cause the Commies just got swept and are going to want blood. We better come out and get points out of this weekend with the little red army or i might break down and cry cause i can't take much more of this.

Anonymous said...

Donald, Always like your blog. But you do try to sugar coat your comments about the team. Your commentary is like putting a prom dress on a ugly girl. 2 losses are losses. Getting outplayed by MTU and being outscored 14-3 does not bode well for the wolves with the badgers coming into town. Scoring 4 goals the last 3 games are not going to win you many games. Hopefully this team can pick it up because there is a possibility of stringing a losing streak together and falling behind in conference play. You even stated that before the weekend. Jay Beagle is really playing well right at this point. Hopefully Waldropp can pick it up. Hasn't scored yet.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you were at the game, did you manage to make it down? I wouldn't have been able to get all the info you did just from listening on the radio. I commend you on a well written article.

Beagle rules!

Anonymous said...

Donald I like how you try to stay positive no matter what. UAA got thumped, still 29 games to go...or we lost again, well we still have 28 more to turn things around. What are you going to say after next Fridays game...we can turn it around tomorrow, still have 27 more to go! I'll restate what I said after the 9-0 loss...6-27-3...

Donald Dunlop said...

I watched MTU's webcast.

Anon @10:44:
I sure wouldn't call it sugar coating. Like any good fan I have a visceral reaction to the team losing. I've been going since 1984. And in that time I've been disgusted more than just a few times. So I try to focus on the positive when I think it's appropriate. There's three sets of people that read this blog. The first are UAA fans. The ones that are "dedicated" somehow. Next are parents and friends of the players. And last but not least people in various places on the internet that are avid hockey readers and in some cases writers.

The one thing about writing that sticks in my mind from way back in the day is to "know your audience".

So the point buried in all that explanation is that if I were to let my visceral reactions dictate what ended up on the blog then the readership would narrow.

But I won't let that stop me from writing something unflattering about the program or the staff. Take a few minutes and go back and see what I was writing last February and March. I'm not saying that I wrote great negative filled diatribes against the program but I sure don't think I shyed away from being critical.

Also, I did plan to address the "lose both of these games and ..." position that I staked out earlier in the week.

Lastly, thanks for the constructive comments. Such feedback is both helpful and necessary for me.

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