Stenerson in action with Surrey ... (photo credit Garret James - BCHL)
Surrey Eagles 1993 playmaking forward Michael Stenerson has committed to play for the UAA Seawolves beginning in 2012-2013. Stenerson (5ft 10in 165lbs) is in his first season of Junior A hockey after spending last two years respectively at the Major Midget level with Valley West Hawks and Semiahmoo Ravens of the BCMMHL.
The Seawolves have played a bit more than half the season so far with eighteen games down and sixteen to go. In my last post I mentioned a couple of things I'd write about using "in the next few days" as some estimate as to when you expect them. Then I took a week off. Hope you didn't mind too much, I know I didn't. So let's get to some thoughts on each player eh?
Former UAA Seawolves goalie Nathan Lawson will get his first NHL game between the pipes tonight when he starts for the New York Islanders against the Phoenix Coyotes at Nassau Coleiseum (3PM Alaska Standard Time).
Tonight I sense from other fans and from what I heard on the radio some satisfaction on having seen a good hockey game and having watched the guys work really hard. We saw a really excellent 3rd period by our boys and I thought they'd pulled it out in OT. From my vantage point I really thought Grant had put the puck away. Anyway, as for me; I'm disappointed. Not in the team or the effort. Just in the result.
If the Seawolves learned one thing tonight, it's that Denver is in a different class in comparison to the other teams they have played. They battled back again from an early two goal deficit to take a 3rd period lead. The difference was that against CC, St. Cloud, and even Wisconsin is that might be enough. But, against a team like Denver, sitting back will burn you. The difference between this years team and last year team is that this years team will learn from that.
The difference in the game tonight came down to one thing in my estimation. After the Seawolves fought back with an aggressive offensive effort and gained the lead, they looked like they sat back on that lead. Everyone sitting around me agreed that they were asking for trouble. And eventually it came. From about the 3 minute mark in the 3rd period until they got the goal to tie it up the Seawolves seemed to put themselves on their heels and try to hold the lead.
I'm pretty sure the image says it all doesn't it? Tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, cashiers, doctors, lawyers, bakers, butchers, teachers, car mechanics, motorcycle mechanics, snow machine mechanics, janitors, carpenters, bartenders, pot dealers, hookers and even favorite politicians that UAA will give them 8 tickets to watch 2 hockey games between UAA and DU this weekend.
George Gwozdecky is a head games artist. I should say artiste actually. He's the consummate subtle spin doctor of the WCHA. Almost nothing that George says can or should ever be taken at face value. If he's answering a question about Jesse Martin's injury progess you'll likely find a subtle reference sandbagging his team's chances or if he's talking about a just concluded hard fought win he'll slip in some sort of inference about his team's luck. He's a misdirector.
"Perhaps the greatest assemblage of college hockey talent ever" was the phrase last year to come out of one of the tentacles of the DU Athletic Department's secret underground railroad propaganda apparatus. So is this year's version the 2nd greatest assemblage ever? Do they surpass that? Or are they the most majorly super-athletic stud muffins to ever proudly parade around Cheesman Park dressed in red and gold?
We'll start today with what you think is me and my politics and what I think is history. I love me a good documentary. The film above is a good documentary. You can watch the whole thing here in the comfort of your favorite blog too! The film was made this year and released into the public domain. Which means anyone can use it for any purpose. My purpose here? Exposition. Just exposing you to this information means I've done my part.
Sometimes you have to remind yourself that there's this whole other hockey team on the ice. Tonight, I think you have to start by giving Wisconsin credit for coming out and playing more aggressively overall but particularly in the 1st period.
The Seawolves fall tonight to the Badgers 3-1. The Seawolves came back late to make it 2-1 but, again, penalties cost the Seawolves as they took a few late in the game. Both of Wisconsin's goals not into an empty net were on the power play. UAA took 24 PIM and gave Wisconsin 9 power plays. Wisconsin had 18 PIM and UAA was 0 for 6 on the power play, a major problem these days. The biggest drain on the power play is UAA's passing on it, it's not been crisp and as such UAA doesn't get many good looks (BTW, come the revolution, unless you are on the ice or bench, yelling "shoot" on a PP will get you shot). Tommy Grant scored again (he scores when the team needs it) on a rebound after the Seawolves pulled Rob Gunderson (solid again tonight) with 9 minutes left and had some time to controlling the play. Wisco added an empty netter at the horn to make it 3-1.
I will long for the day college hockey wakes up and decides to do what the NHL, IIHF, USA Hockey, and practically everybody else, did: just start calling everything by the letter of the rule. That happens and games like this will be a thing of the past. I'm tired of the constant clutch and hold that always leads to frustration penalties being called. The college game will be much better off but I guess nobody involved wants it.
I'll post lines here if and when they arrive in the email. Until then take a look at last nights full gamesheet. Definitely more to grind through on that and see some trends than the regular boxscore. That face off advantage was big factor in the way the Seawolves were able to play the game last night. It was a number that has trended nicely in UAA's favor most of the season. Just one more piece of the puzzle coming into place. A win tonight for the weekend sweep is another one.
Nice not to go to overtime. Really fucking nice. I thought the game tonight was a battle. And honestly ... it was a win justified by the overall flow of the game. UAA deserved the win. And I think that applies to more than just tonight. A couple of losses we took were brutally undeserved and from the standpoint of a fan, it kinda helps make up for it. And winning a game that was a battle like that? Good for the soul of the team.
UAA Hockey: Come for the hockey, stay for the heart attacks!
It was another Friday Night Thriller for the Seawolves as they defeated Wisconsin 2-1 by virtue of another late goal, this time with 8 seconds left, from Tommy Grant. Tommy gets yet another game winner, he's not scoring at will, but he's scoring when the team needs it, and that's more important. That's now 12 games decided by one goal or less for the Seawolves, when more time is available I will check to see what the record is. Craig Parkinson got the first goal tonight, a short handed goal, capping off a stellar game for him. Stellar games practically all around. To describe Rob Gunderson's performance I turn to this, or Tommy Grant's description: miracle save. Gundy is quietly turning into the real deal but the best part: Chris Kamal may be just as good.
Coach Shyiak is a happy guy these days. Not much has changed in his game plans or his teams play but the luck and bounces have, and now the players have confidence. This team was hard to predict, and still are to an extent, but they look to be a real force to be dealt with in the WCHA.
Ok, off to bed for me. Let's look for two tomorrow!
I've been thinking a bit about how big a factor things like motivation and confidence actually play in sports. We've all seen a sports documentary or two with the great insightful scenes where a group of athletes transition from showing limited confidence to a belief that they can't be defeated. There are subtle signs that this years Seawolves seem to have made some measure of this sort of positive transition.
College hockey rosters are relatively dynamic. In any given year, a single team typically loses 6 or 7 or perhaps 8 players from the season before. A reasoned assessment of a team's potential includes looking at who they lost from one season to the next. And the Badger's losses to graduation and/or the professional ranks were substantial from last season to now.