Wednesday, December 16, 2015

So There's That

Sunday, December 13, 2015

History Defines Seawolf Futility On This Weekend

Since the 2002-2003 season, the Seawolves are 4-17-5 on the weekend before leaving for the holiday break. In 03-04, we swept Colorado College; then in 2011-2012 we split with Colorado College; then in 2013-2014 we split with LSSU. In 8 of those seasons we got swept by the opponent.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Fine Game; Less Than Fine Result

Tonight we got most everything you'd expect from a rivalry game. Lots of passion. Good chances thwarted by good goaltending. And a penalty shot game-tying goal from local kid; Alex Jackstadt. Good on Alex for finishing the penalty shot like a pro.

I'm happy as I can be for Alex. He's a walk-on that is getting ice time primarily because other forwards are out injured. I've liked most everything I've seen from him in the games he's played. He's quick and tenacious but maybe needs to learn how to best utilize his size disadvantage. I don't know if there's anyone on the squad quicker than him over 50 or 75 feet.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

KTUU's "Checking in with the Seawolves"

Beth O'Donnell is doing a good job with these.

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Rivarly Week Press Conference


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Random Thoughts About the UAA/UAF Rivalry

Dump Bears Doing What Dump Bears Do
What is the UAA/UAF rivalry about? It's about 2 days away from renewing itself. That's what. In case you missed it, since the first day of 2006 the Seawolves are 16-11-2 against them. Apparently, UAF has won six Governor's Cups in that time. Or maybe it's seven or only five? You tell me cos I don't really care. I think the majority of the cups they've won were awarded by virtue of winning a shootout.

Commentary: Doyle Woody on USCHO Live

So I don't get to see/hear/read media coverage about UAA usually until late at night. Such is the case tonight as I just listened to this USCHO interview. Their last guest in this podcast is Doyle Woody. There are some things which must be addressed. Now that I've finished listening and had a nice ham and cheese sammich ...

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Nanook Hockey: An Unwanted and Unneeded Comparison

This is an examination of the ways in which the 2015-2016 UAF Nanook hockey program is like the 1936-1944 German National Socialist Party. Yes, seriously. I'm going to compare the two. Fine, I violated Godwin's Law. My only defense is that without criminals like me there'd be no sweet prison guard jobs and pensions.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Some Standings Implications To Consider

The Seawolves are currently tied for 6th place in the league table with Lake State at 11 points each. I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at how the top half of the table will be effected by this weekends various series. 

And trust me, there's a ton of implications on what is certainly the WCHA's most important weekend so far this season.

Mantha Gets WCHA DPOTW Award

Olivier Mantha's 62 save performance this weekend versus MTU earned him the nod for WCHA Defensive Player of the Week award. Congratulations to Olivier for receiving this weekly recognition. Sean "Scottie" MacTavish was nominated for the Rookie of the Week award but that went to some guy with a goal and two assists against UAF.

This is Mantha's second weekly honor this season. Here's the text of the WCHA release:
Mantha backstopped Alaska Anchorage to an impressive road sweep at then-No. 17 Michigan Tech, negating the Huskies' overall 66-45 advantage in shots by making 62 saves in a pair of 3-2 Seawolves' victories. Friday night, UAA was outshot by a 34-18 margin; however, Mantha turned aside 32 shots. The sophomore from La Tuque, Quebec followed that up with a 30-save effort Saturday as UAA completed the sweep. The Seawolves erased 2-1, third-period deficits in both games by twice scoring a pair of final-stanza goals; Mantha stopped all 17 third-period shots he faced Friday and Saturday to help propel and maintain the UAA comebacks.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

How Sweep It Is, Huskies Taste Broom 3-2

A 4 point weekend versus the 2nd place team in the conference is a worthy of celebration. It'll definitely make the long trip home go faster. The 4 points put UAA temporarily tied for 5th with 11 points. None of the other WCHA Saturday games are in the books as I type this so that may change.

Friday, December 04, 2015

"Scottie" MacTavish's 2 Goal Night Sparks Seawolf Win; 3-2 over MTU

Tonight against Michigan Tech (apparently the 17th best team in the country -- according to "polls") the Seawolves got on the board first when Sean "Scottie" MacTavish scored his 1st collegiate goal at 5:41 of the opening period.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Seawolves Win 2nd and 3rd Periods, Get Blown Out 6-2

Chris Williams scored his first collegiate goal tonight. It was a nice one. I'm sure he'd trade it for a win. But by the time Willie got the monkey off his back the game was over.

I'm not happy and probably should wait to write about his debacle. But I won't.

The Seawolves need to just start playing with 4 skaters instead of 5. Really. I'm not kidding. This isn't some joke. I'm not suggesting it because the penalty kill is good or whatever. I'm suggesting it so the referees will stop with the bullshit calls against us while never calling the bullshit calls against the other team. If we start the game with 4 skaters then the zebra mindset will be to feel sorry for us. And they won't whistle so much bullshit against us.

Secondarily, if we skate four guys for the rest of the season by the time the playoffs get here we should be the absolute most fit team in the country. 

That's what I say. And there's not much else to discuss about this ugly mess of a loss. I'm done.

Addendum: (8pm) ... Mason Mitchell, Anthony Conti and Dylan Hubbs all get an extra point in my book tonight for showing their pride when it was called for. Yeah, with that and 5 bucks they can buy Starbucks.

2nd Addendum: (8:10pm) ... The referees for tonights game? Brady Johnson from Roseau, Minnesota and Bobby Lukkason from East Grand Forks, Minnesota.  So there's that.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What Would You Do?

Tonight I saw a Seawolf hockey team playing not to lose. I suspect that was in part by design. Coach Thomas watched Mankato tape and is familiar enough with them over the last two years to know that UAA would be facing one of the best all around squads he has faced during his tenure. And fresh off a successful defensive effort vs Penn State he set out with a similar strategy tonight.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

KTUU Checking In

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You Can Get Anything You Want, At Alice's Restaurant

A better purple Maverick ...
I'm pretty sure I've written more previews for the Seawolves playing Mankato than any other team. The Mavericks used to be UAA's "designated rival" in the old WCHA (as assigned by Minnesota Gopher Coach Don Lucia; Don't ask what that was about ...) so it was 4 games against them every year for a few years.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nuffin But WCHA Now

This weekend marked the end of UAA's non-conference schedule for the season. From here on out it's nuffin but WCHA opponents. The non-conference record for this year ... 3-2-1. That's not horrible, and it's not stellar either. It's not likely to be a great help should our boys be on the bubble of the NCAA tournament at season's end.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Seawolves Play Like Crap, Lose 5-2

It's clear to me that lessons from earlier in the season haven't been learned. The Seawolves played like crap in the loss to BG a few weeks ago. It wasn't that every player on the team that night played like crap. But enough guys played like crap to cause the loss.

8 Uncommitted 97+'s From The BCHL and AJHL

While the team focuses on beating PSU this weekend, we fans can still think about the future. The fall signing period is coming up soon and so I've been rolling through some junior stats trying to get an idea of what's going on. Here's a list of 8 uncommitted players in the B and the A. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Playing For the Front of The Sweater

What you're looking at is absolutely one of the most distinctive and unique logos in North American sports. And by distinctive and unique I just mean ... BEST. I like how this year's team is representing it. That's all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What's A Nittany? Clap Clap ... Clap Clap Clap

The BIG Ten team with the best overall record among it's conference mates comes to Anchorage this weekend. It's not Minnesota or Michigan or Michigan State or Wisconsin and of course it's not Ohio State. It's the Penn State Nittany Lions and UAA has never beaten them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Hockey Potpourri

Win at home and split on the road. That's the WCHA mantra for finishing high in the standings. We didn't do that either of the last two home weekends, but the offsetting value of the very different lessons learned versus Bowling Green and Ferris cannot be denied.

On Friday night our boys made themselves victims of referee who was already geared up to make a role for himself in the game. It happens, refs have egos. But I suspect the bigger factor in all those calls against UAA were the UAA players. Coach Thomas made it pretty clear that Seawolf players put themselves in the position to get called and told how they reviewed each of the penalties with the players. That turned out to be a perfect coaching strategy for Saturday. It's a lesson well-learned that shouldn't be forgotten over the course of the season and possibly making Friday's OT loss more important/valuable than Saturday's impressive win.

Over the last two series this Seawolf team should have learned that they can go toe-to-toe with anyone. They have no reasons to be less than confident in themselves and their teammates. In three out of four games they outplayed two teams who were more highly regarded. I'm not one to place a lot of stock in who the unwashed college hockey pollsters prefer as top teams but that aside, the Seawolves got it done against expectations. 

A disciplined approach to preparation which keeps a focus on the lessons learned will allow application of those lessons which in turn will build success over time. In other words, knowing how to avoid taking penalties, knowing the necessary effort one must give to get a win in this league and practicing your ass off with those lessons in mind will equal a winning record this season.

Believing in oneself and one's team is the preferred state of mind for success. There's lots of signs that the Seawolves are strongly trending toward that state. 

Let's talk a bit about the league. UAA sits in a 4th place tie with NMU ... behind MTU, Mankato and Ferris. Tech has played 10 games for their 12 points. Mankato has played 6 games for their 10 points. Ferris has played 8 games for it's 8 points and both UAA and NMU have played 6 for their 7 points.

Mankato was the preseason favorite and they sure look to be the strongest team in the league. They've had some out of conference woes but are 5-1 in league games. Count on them to win the league, count on them to be in the top 10 poll-wise as the season progresses. After them, I think it's really pretty wide open. MTU isn't as good as they were billed ... perhaps I could have said "yet" and I'm going to guess they'll be in the mix at the top come season end. As for 3rd through 8th? It's really just guessing at this point. The Seawolves are currently well positioned but Ferris, BG, NMU, UA_ and UAH are far from out of the race for home ice (there's lots of hockey to be played obviously).

UAA's good showing in non-conference is already and looks to continue to be a boon for it mathematically. RPI and St. Cloud (maybe the best team in the country so far) have both played strong in the early season and our games against them have UAA's strength of schedule in a good place. In another month or so the number of iterations necessary to make KRACH valid will have occurred. It's early to attach any mathematical significance to UAA's current #16 position. The games against Penn State this weekend will factor heavily into the equation and we'll start to see more meaning in the numbers.

Blake Tatchell leads the WCHA in scoring with 4 goals and 9 assists. Matt Anholt, Jeremiah Luedtke and Tad Kozun are all in the top 15 league-wide. Tad Kozun's six goals is tied for 1st in the league though when measured as gpg he sit's in 4th while leading the league in power play goals with 4.

3 of the top 5 scoring freshman in the WCHA are Seawolves. Jeremiah Luedtke, Mason Mitchell and Wyatt Ege have all produced nicely. Before the season started, it was clear to me when reading various previews that nobody had done their homework on UAA's rookies. In my book, I had us as one of the top classes of freshman ... I think now we clearly have the best freshmen in the league.

Isn't it fun to see Wisconsin sucking eggs? The amount of over-pumped chest-thumping noise out of Madison over the last 15 years was pretty tiresome. So excuse me if I revel in their horrid play and misery. I don't feel bad for them or their fans. BIG Ten hockey is a bit of a joke all around at this point. 

CC looks to be well on their way to permanent misery. Do I feel sorry for them? Nope. Let them sit in last place forever in the Butt Hurt Hockey Conference. Won't bother me. In. The. Least. 

Time to finish up by singing the praises of a Seawolf player that I've already not mentioned enough this season and that I'll probably continue to take for granted at times. Olivier Mantha is one of the best goaltenders in Division 1 hockey. Other guys get more press and there's even a bit of "journalisitic hyping" of certain goalies. I did say at the beginning of the season that much of UAA's success will be directly related to Mantha's performance. And so far, that's holding up. 

This team though is capable of winning games without Mantha in the net and/or if he has a bad night. Still though, the guy is so super steady that it's easy to overlook his contributions. He's at .914 with 2.4ga ... and that's with the team playing a couple of stinkers in front of him this season. I love that  he's from a place called "La Tuque" (and that there's a place in Canadia called "La Tuque"). 

I think the next time Olivier gets a shutout we fans should litter the ice with our wool knit caps. It could be the start of a cool tradition. He'll be the first NHL'r from La Tuque and when he gets his first NHL shutout it'll be cool to see all the tuques tossed in his honor and know we started that.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stay Outta The Box

I'm at home sick. Only listened. Stay the eff outta the box, eh? End of story.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Ferris State > BGSU

Last series split against BGSU was a bit unfortunate for the Seawolf hockey team. It was unfortunate that everyone wasn't really on the same page effort-wise on Sunday. If that's the case this coming weekend then UAA will be lucky to get 2 points because Ferris State is clearly a better team than BG.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

BG Unimpressive In Fortunate 2-0 Win Over UAA

Not to take anything away from the Seawolves lessened execution here today, which clearly contributed to BG's win but BG wasn't good this afternoon. Granted they got the goals they needed to get but not much of getting thoes goals was due to some excellent team effort on their part. Instead, they were both related to calls made on the ice by the referees.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

"The Hair Line" Contributes Well In Seawolf 4-2 Win Over BGSU

Dear Hockey World,
Allow me to introduce you to "The Hair Line": Tad Kozun, Nicolas Erb-Ekholm and Austin Azurdia. No doubt there are Seawolf players who think their own hair is all that ... but the three best coifs on the squad are now skating on a line together. The Hair Line.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bowling Green This Weekend

It's #whatsaseawolf weekend according to the BGSU Atletic Department. Well, at least we Seawolf fans know what a Bowling Green is. 

With only 34 games on the schedule, each subsequent night in college hockey is more important than the preceding night/weekend. That's always the deal. This weekend's series against BGSU is therefore the most important series of the year to this point. There's a number of interesting items to talk about in regard.

They're Just "Facts"

I saw mention over at the ADN that UAA's 4-1-1 record was somehow less than significant because the team's it has beaten have a collective record of 3-11-0 against other opponents (I agree that we haven't played anybody yet). But the statement was made in reference to the difficulties of this week's opponent (Bowling Green) because they were ranked #12 in both national "polls". 

Here's the paragraph ... from this post.
The Seawolves (4-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) are off to a strong start. Still, the work gets heavier this coming weekend, when UAA enterains Bowling Green on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Sullivan Arena. Bowling Green (3-1-1, 0-0-0) is ranked No. 12 in both national polls. And while UAA is 3-0-1 in its last four, it is worth noting that the teams it has beaten this season are a combined 3-11-0 in games against other opponents.
Yeah ... I put quotes around the word poll to demean it's validity as any sort of reasonable metric by which one might measure an opponent. Polls are meaningless "facts". Here's a fact that didn't make Doyle's journalistic editorial cut .... The teams that 12TH RANKED!!!!! BGSU has beaten or tied this year have gone a combined 1-9-0 against other opponents.  Isn't it interesting how choosing which facts to publish can change the tone of a post.


I'll have a full weekend preview Wednesday evening. Fact.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Seawolves Get 3 Point WCHA Weekend: Nothing At Which To Sneeze

3 points on the road is a good result in college hockey; especially in the meat grinder that is the WCHA where teams are as tightly matched as any league. Nothing wrong with that. Sure, I was a little disappointed with the Friday night tie. But that's the beauty of college hockey weekend series. You get a chance to redeem yourself on Saturday night.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Seawolves Squander 2-0 Lead In Favor of 3-3 Tie

Christmas came early for the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers tonight. The Seawolves put together a strong 1st period in which they killed a 5 minute major penalty to build a 2-0 lead on goals from Jeremiah Luedtke at 12:12 and Matt Anholt at 16:38.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

#1 Ranked UAA Seawolves vs. #59 UAH Chargers

This isn't a preview per se of this weekend's series against Alabama-Huntsville. It isn't that UAH doesn't deserve a preview. Instead, the reason is purely on me. I had surgery on Tuesday. It wasn't on my fingers or brain which really are the only things necessary to write a preview. I wasn't even going to do this much but it's pretty easy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Seawolves 33-12-11 In 1st 4 Games Since 2002

I didn't see either game this weekend. Congratulations to the Seawolves on their two victories this weekend. So that puts the boys at 3-1 to open the season. Not the first time our guys have had good starts to the season. Since 2002-2003 the Seawolves have collectively gone an outstanding 33-12-11 in their first four games.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Seawolves Take Down Engineers 4-3

The UAA Seawolves hockey team defeated the RPI Engineers tonight by a score of 4-3. The game winning goal came at  of the 3rd period on Wyatt Ege's 2nd goal of the game. 

The game saw lead changes aplenty after UAA struck first at 14:23 to go 1-0 on off Dylan Hubbs second goal of the year with assists to Cam Amantea and Matt Anholt . RPI tied it at 4:59 of the 2nd and then took the lead at 11:56 taking the lead to the locker room. 

Then at 1:24 of the 3rd Austin Azurdia scored with an assist to Mason Mitchell to make the game 2-2. RPI retook the lead at 5:52 with UAA on the power play scoring a shortie to go up 3-2. After that in terms of scoring it was all Wyatt Ege. He tied the game at 7:12 unassisted. Then he nabbed the game winner at 10:09.

This is an important non-conference win for UAA and helps the WCHA's Pairwise comparisons down the road. 

Congrats to the team on hanging in there during a back and forth contest and getting the win.

The Seawolves cannot lose to AIC tomorrow afternoon. To do so would be crush the non-conference part of the season. We need the momentum going into WCHA play. 

RANT: Seem like everytime we're in Fairbanks the updates for Live Box Scores and the posting of the final box score takes FOREVER (an hour and a half). UA_ needs to find another volunteer or hire someone or god only knows what but this waiting and waiting and waiting for box scores whenever we visit that sorrowful town is ridiculous.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Brice Goal Rush Preview: AIC Yellow Jackets

The American International College Yellow Jackets are the Seawolves Saturday afternoon opponent this weekend at the Carlson Center along the not-so-fair banks of the Chena River. The Yellow Jackets are coached by Gary "Dream Weaver" Wright. The only coach they've ever had. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Alaska Goal Rush Preview: RPI

Renssalear Polytechnic Institute is the Seawolves first opponent this coming weekend up north. They have played 1 exhibition and 2 real games. They lost to Canadian school St. Thomas University of New Brunswick. Where's Old Brunswick? 

Anyway, then they lost to Lowell last week getting shut-out 3-0 but two nights later they upset #1 ranked Boston College Saw a comment somwhere on the internet where an RPI fan exclaimed that at this point they didn't know if their team was crap or great. Well, let's see if we can figure it out.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

SCSU Sharp in 6-2 Win Over Seawolves

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.

Seawolves Nab OT Win 3-2 On Brad Duwe's Nice Finish

Here's my impressions of the win ... written as the game went along. 

1st period ...
First 2:30 was mostly feeling out ... getting everyone a shift ... no chances for either side. The 1st line's 2nd shift generated a couple of chances  which weren't really threatening.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Kendall Tournament Preview: St. Cloud State University

For a long time I was more familiar with SCSUs team than any other WCHA team. Since the old WCHA's collapse and reassembly ... I haven't given their hockey program a second thought. So I know little more about them than I do ASU. They're *17 in the preseason poll.  Let's learn a little about this year's Huskies.

College Hockey Inc Podcast with Matt Thomas

Here's a nice 12 minute interview from College Hockey Inc. that they posted yesterday. The interview was conducted during the BCHL Showcase where Coach Thomas was scouting. I enjoyed it. It'll be great to see the action this weekend; I'm even looking forward to watching the UA_ v. SCSU game.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Kendall Tournament Preview: The ASU Sun Devils

What's a Sun Devil? Clap, clap ... clap clap clap. You'd think such a question would find a bevy of Google reponses. Alas, it takes more than surfing a Wikipedia article or two to get the answer. And yeah, I still don't have the answer after 15 mins. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Rumor Quash Central: Sully Will Be Ready

I've been getting questioned and hearing rumors that the Sullivan Arena renovations will not be complete for this weekend. Man, that would be the suck. Well, being that it's crunch time I thought I'd check out things for myself. So, I stopped by the joint and took a look.

The boards are in. The new glass is being installed. The seating is 99% installed. I'd expect them to slush the rink and start flooding it pretty quickly. The place didn't look much different that it would have any Monday afternoon of the tournament week in any other year. Ok, different colors.

I spoke with an unnamed authoritative source. The place will be ready to go. Have no fear. If someone asks you or questions whether or not it will really be ready you can now tell them it's game on and you can say Donald said so.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Exhibition Game: Mt. Royal 1 - UAA 0

Had some internet probs. Fixed now. So my impressions from listening (and I didn't hear every minute of David Tuttle's fine debut broadcast) to our guys come up short against Mt. Royal last night ...

Mason Mitchell sounds every bit of what he was described to be and I was hoping for. Nicolas Erb-Ekholm seemed to be able to get the puck into some dangerous places. Jeremiah Luedtke's name was prominent in the broadcast and it seemed to me he played with Blake Tatchell all night ... be nice if they developed some chemistry. Sean MacTavish's play sounded promising as did Eric Roberts. Seemed to me that Wyatt Ege got a lot of ice time (again I had to listen on and off) and played in all situations ... more importantly, it sounded like he played very well. That's all promising.

It was good to hear Tanner Dusyck's name called in situations that sounded like scoring chances too. It'll be good to see him playing this weekend. The goalies played well. The defense seemed to be mostly ok. And even though we didn't score we seemed to match them offensively. 

All in all I call that a good opening season exhibition. The team was challenged all night long by their opponent and they saw some high end guys on the other side of the ice pressing the issue. Not everyone thinks like me ... It's ridiculously early to label this year's team in the following manner ...
On paper, the UAA hockey team looks challenged to score goals in the upcoming season ... On ice, that dearth of scoring manifested itself Friday night, when UAA fell 1-0 to Mount Royal ...
but those are two of the first four sentences in Doyle Woody's coverage of the game.

Give it 10 or 12 games before you start negatively labeling the team couldya Doyle? It'll take at least that long before any sort of trend is statistically significant. And why just shit on the team like that when reporting on an exhibition game?

I won't be attending the Green & Gold game (working) but hopefully folks will take some photo's and video and post it on the Facebook page. Here's the boxscore.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Mt. Royal Cougars: A Preview

According to UAA Head Coach Matt Thomas, the Mt. Royal Cougars from Calgary, Alberta are not to be taken lightly. They got a new coach last year and the team fully bought into his system and they finished their season 17-11. They didn't have a lot of player losses and have brought in a former CJHL Player of The Year to bolster the lineup.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Media Day: Captain's Named, Tours Given, Enthusiasm Increased

Austin Sevalrud was named Captain for this year's Seawolves. He'll be a hard-working and responsible Captain. It's a good choice, his assistants are Blake Tatchell, Chris Williams and Matt Anholt.  It's a quality group of leaders and the inclusion of Anholt makes for a good bridge to the underclassmen. I like it. Sevalrud is a grown-up. And his cop-stache should ensure everyone stays in line.

In naming the captains, Coach Thomas mentioned the leadership of Blake Leask and Olivier Mantha; in particular noting their commitment on the ice which of course serves as the best example to other players.

Thomas seemed to purposely use the word elite when referencing our freshman. It isn't a word that I've heard him toss out there too often so it caught my ear. He wasn't referring to every one of the rookies but the discussion leads me to the conclusion that I may have underestimated more than a couple of our new players.

Thomas pegs Erb-Ekholm as a player that may surprise and delight us so I'll retract my initial guess that he is some sort of project.

The new facilities were nice and you guys should definitely check it out this weekend at the green and gold game. KTVA and ADN both have good coverage on their websites in pictures and video. The locker room and team lounge are a sweet combination that the players will really love. The new training rooms and hot/cold tubs etc are all kewl beans  and both AD Keith Hackett and Coach Thomas emphasized the benefit the new facilities will pay in terms of recruiting. New ice-making plant, new boards, new lighting, new seamless glass add to the renovation

Nothing about media day lessened my enthusiasm for this coming season. Instead, I'm even more enthusiastic to see whats up and optimistic as I can be that we'll have a better season than most people believe.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mark Your Calendars

I understand the team had it's first official practice today. Soooooo ... hockey is really now upon us. It's fixin' to be rainin' hockey all over us. Here's a list of things coming up in the next couple of weeks which you might want to mark on your calendar.

On Tuesday the 29th I'll be going to the Seawolves media day. It includes the usual press conference, player and staff availability for interviews and tours of all the new stuff in The BCHC (Brush Christiansen Hockey Center). I'll have a full report that evening here.

Friday the 2nd is of course the exhibition game in Soldotna against Mr. Royal. I'll have a little preview up on Thursday and I'm looking for a ride there and back if anyone has an extra seat. I'm all about riding my bicycle everywhere I need to go but Soldotna would be a bit much for me right now. Anyway, I'll be a gracious passenger and good company. Then everyone else will get to read a good game recap because you gave me a ride.

On Sunday the 4th the Wells Fargo Sports Center is having it's grand re-opening. There's tours of the BCHC (locker room, training rooms, etc ...) at 3pm which is also when a practice is scheduled. Then at 4pm is the Green/Gold game and skills competition. Then at 5pm is a Skate With The Seawolves event for the kids. I'll have full coverage of all this as well.

Then on Friday the 9th ... game on. But earlier on Friday there's the tournament's Coaches Luncheon. That should be a good event; get your tickets early though as I'm guessing they'll go quickly. All four coaches will be there. I'm planning on going to this.

And just as an afterthought for the tournament. Come watch the games that UAA isn't playing in even if it's just to cheer against UAF. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Big Surprise: I'm Optimistic At The Start of The Season

What's this season going to be like? Well, if you ask the internet the answer is going to be; something a lot like last year. We're picked 9th and 10th by the coaches and media in a preseason poll. This blog and it's readers already know that the polls don't matter. Here's some reasons this team won't finish in the basement in 2015-16.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The 2015-2016 UAA Hockey Freshman Class

There's quite a few new players for fans to get familiar with this season. We thought it was going to be 12 but it looks fairly certain to me that the number is 10 due to the Renouf brothers having to sit out a transfer year after a residency rule change to the NCAA's transfer policy went into effect this past spring. No worries, there's a lot to learn about the 10 guys that will be playing this season.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The 2015-2016 UAA Hockey Sophomore Class

There are many factors which will contribute to or detract from the Seawolves' success this coming season. One thing I'm pretty sure is that as this class of six skaters and two goaltenders goes, so goes the team. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Follow The Blog On Facebook

For those of you on the Book of Faces who might wish to follow the blog there, I've created a page called the Seawolf Hockey Fan Blog.  I'll post links to articles there so you don't have to leave the joint to see when I've posted something new here.

One of the difficulties writing the blog is seeing/finding all of the relevant topics which Seawolf Hockey fans would be interested in knowing. If you see something on the internet you think is relevant, interesting and/or you'd be interested in my analysis or commentary then Facebook is another place where you can let me know about it. My strength isn't in having a well organized information gathering process.

I think we've got excellent participation here. You guys are always bringing good info, observations, questions and most importantly enthusiasm and I hope we grow that this year. Facebook might help that effort and moreso; I think the team is going to help us with it this season by winning more often.

The 2015-2016 UAA Hockey Junior Class

Tanner Dusyk, Brad Duwe, Dylan Hubbs, Conner Wright and Chase Van Allen comprise the Junior class of this season's Seawolf Hockey team. These five guys have a wide range of experiences in the green and gold which they can draw upon as a very important part of the Seawolves upperclass leadership paradigm.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Renouf Twins (Nathan and Jonah) Ruled Ineligible

Word on the street is that Jonah and Nathan Renouf have been ruled ineligible. Something to do with the transfer rule which was changed at the end of last season. I'll wait for someone to explain it to me before commenting here.

This is sure a waste. They will be eligible next year as freshman. That's some minor silver lining for them I guess.

It rapidly ingests large volumes of air for them to learn about this today instead of ... um ... oh ... let's say ... MONTHS AGO.

In the old days, in an effort to balance the emotional toll this kind of news puts on us fans I would have posted a picture of a hot chick in hockey gear instead of writing this sentence. It's not the old days.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The 2015-2016 UAA Hockey Senior Class

The four Seawolves who comprise the 2015-16 Senior Class bring four unique sets of hockey characteristics to this year's team. Blake Leask, Austin Sevalrud, Blake Tatchell and Chris Williams bring a combined 400 games of Division 1 hockey experience to the squad.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Some Catching Up

If you haven't been following with Seawolf news and events over the summer then this post is for you. If you have been following then not much in this post is going to be news.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Almost Hockey Approaches

By my calculation it's almost September, which should just be renamed to "AlmostHockey". I hope the new layout isn't giving anyone fits and I hope the normalization of the color scheme is well liked. Let's face it, that customized gold background with the green text was pretty MySpace-ish. Let me know if you have any specific problems that might be a result of some change I've made here.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Welcome 2015-16 Seawolf Freshmen

Most every year I make a post welcoming the Seawolf rookies to Anchorage and give them advice on things to do and things to not do. This is that post.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Another Surprise Player: Sean MacTavish for 2015-16

Over The Boards tweeted yesterday that Sean MacTavish (20yo, 6ft, 190lb right-hander), the son of former Edmonton Oiler's player, Head Coach and GM Craig MacTavish, is coming to UAA after previously giving a verbal commitment to Boston University. Thanks to Anon for the comment in the last post for giving the heads up.

The tweet says, "Nice pull out of the USHL for UAA."  And I certainly can't disagree. Sean had good numbers his first two junior years in the AJHL with Sherwood Park scoring near 1ppg over those seasons. Last year he played for three different USHL teams and seemed to struggle statistically except while with Lincoln where he bagged 3 goals with 4 assists in 14 games. Good work from the UAA staff (I'm assuming this is Josh Ciocco's handiwork) securing this. 

The addition of another forward to the UAA roster brings the total number to 20.  Not to put too fine a point on it but there's 12 guys that dress for a game. Before this announcement there was going to be boatloads of competition for playing time. Now there's even more. 

Welcome to UAA Sean.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Louis Mass Met and Greeted

Last evening (Wednesday) the UAA Athletic Department held a "Meet and Greet" with new Seawolf Assistant Coach Louis Mass at the Alaska Airlines Center's Varsity Grill. It was a good event that was reasonably well attended for the middle of July. Louis seemed pleased with the turnout.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

North Dakota Selects "Sundogs": Great Day For College Hockey and the LGBTQ Community!

Unless you've been stuck in total isolation in a backwoods collapsed hovel like Fairbanks, you're probably well aware that a few years ago the NCAA forced the University of North Dakota to drop it's existing nickname because it was hostile and abusive to aboriginal Americans.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sullivan Arena Renovation Update

Had a chance today to talk with someone in the know regarding the progress of the Sullivan Arena renovations. Thought I'd take a moment to share.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kurt Haider's Parting Words

I just checked my email for the first time in a week and found the following note from Kurt Haider to Seawolf fans. I hope Kurt can forgive my lateness. It's a great thanks to everyone from a great guy.
Seawolf fans-
First, THANK YOU so much for all the kind words since my departure from UAA hockey and iHeart Media became public. I appreciate it very much. 
Let me say that my leaving the Seawolves has nothing to do with the program or the university. To be sure, I love UAA hockey and its been a love affair for 19 years. I see the program doing great things in the near future, and I'll be right there cheering them on! 
The Aces gig is great career opportunity that I could not pass up. My thanks to Matt Thomas, Keith Hackett, the late Dr. Steve Cobb and Dallas Baldwin and her sports information staff at UAA for all the cooperation and support over the years. To former coaches Brush Christianson, Dean Talafous, John Hill and Dave Shyiak and their staff for the same. 
To the Blueliners, past and current players, and most of all TO ALL THE FANS AND PARENTS that spent all those winter nights with me on the radio and internet as we went from Houghton to Colorado Springs, Fairbanks to Huntsville and many arenas in between. It's beenan honor and priviledge to get to know the boys and broadcast their games. 
If you come to an Aces game, please stop by and say hello!
See you at the (new and improved!) Sully!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UAA's New Assistant Coach: Louis Mass

Photo Credit: Dennis Sorenson
This morning UAA Head Coach Matt Thomas introduced Louis Mass as his new Assistant Coach following the departure of T.J. Jindra at the end of the season.  The last time I had any association with Louis in a hockey context we both had hair on the tops of our heads.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kurt Haider = UAA's Doc Emrick

The universe is dynamic. It cannot be argued otherwise. Our example today; Kurt Haider is moving from UAA to the Aces. For 19 years, Kurt has been a light in a sometimes dark Seawolves hockey tunnel. His calm energy and prescence as our play-by-play man has been the one constant over those years that we fans came to depend upon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Seawolves 2015-16 Tickets Announcement

Today the UAA Athletic Department showed excellent responsiveness to fan concerns which were expressed here at season's end.  We talked about wanting 10 dollar tickets and we talked about expanding the "wet" section. Both of these things got implemented and were announced in today's release. Thank you (Big Ups ... Mad Phat Props ...) to the Athletic Department for making this happen.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wanna Buy an AAC Brick? I do ...

Seawolves Athletics just announced a fundraiser related to the Alaska Airlines Center.  For 250 bucks you can buy a 4 inch x 8 inch brick with 3 lines totaling 60 characters. For 350 bucks you can buy an 8 inch x 8 inch brick with 6 lines of text totaling 120 characters. Or for the same 350 bucks you can get an 8 x 8 with Seawolf logo and 4 lines of text.

It's all tax-deductible of course and all the revenue raised goes to support the Athletics Department at UAA. I'm all for supporting my hockey team's Athletic Department. So who's with me? 

Let's buy a brick together and come up with something really sweet to put on it, eh?

Names I'd suggest we could use:
Whereda Hockeyarena
Builda Hockeyrink
Oncampus Hockeynow
Nohockey Hereforever 
Whyno Hockeyrink
Whendo Wegethockey
Mr. and Mrs. Buildus A. Hockeyarena
A'ithing Cepthockey

I'll kick in 25 bucks as my share. Does this interest anyone else? There's gotta be another 9 people that want to do this too. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

2015-16 Season Schedule ... 36 games?

The Seawolves 2015-16 schedule is up on the UAA website.  The preseason game is in Soldotna on Oct. 2nd. Then we face newly-minted D-1 Arizona State Wildcats in their first NCAA D1 game just before we get to put a hurting on SCSU. Then it's off to Fairbanks as usual, to face RPI and AIC at the Carlson.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

UAA Press Release On Incoming Freshman: Renouf Bros Will Play This Year

UAA Seawolves Head Coach Matt Thomas introduced the 2015-16 Seawolves incoming freshman class in this release today. Let's delve into his comments a bit, but first it's clear now that Jonah and Nathan Renouf will be suited up for the squad this fall. My last entry assumed that to be the case initially, but then I corrected/edited it based on NCAA transfer rules. It was unknown to me that both players redshirted last season and hence are indeed eligible this season to play for UAA.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Seawolves Land Suprise Transfers: Renouf Twins (Nathan & Jonah) For 2015-16

Twin forwards Jonah and Nathan Renouf (5'8" 155lbs) from Mississauga, Ontario are transfering from Quninnipiac U to UAA for this coming season. The twins didn't play as freshman at the Q in 2014-15. 

I heard about this transfer about a week or 10 days ago. Unfortunately, my chance encounter with someone in the know didn't include names. I spent more than a few hours doing searches which I'd hoped would enlighten me as to the names. 

Well, I couldn't be more surprised. D1 transfers usually include a year where the player has to sit out. But it seems that Rand Peckold at the Q has given these two players the release which allows them to play right away for the Seawolves. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Early Off-Season Thoughts

Who is everyone going to cheer for in the Frozen Four? I gotta go with Providence. I liked the way they got there; they executed their game plan very nicely. Go Friars. It's unfortunate that the WCHA couldn't get out of the first round but a #16 seed beating a No. 1 overall seed is always a good time. I was sorry though for Michigan Tech since it was the first time in 34 years (or something like that) since they'd made the NCAAs.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015-2016 Seawolves Recruit Update

Here's the promised update on the Seawolves incoming recruits for the 2015-2016 season. I've listed 8 players here but only 7 of them are going to show up next season. 

Saturday, March 07, 2015

2014-2015 Season Over

Mercifully the season is over with tonight's loss to UA_. It was as tough season for a fan to go through as we've ever had. And I say that having gone through some pretty awful seasons. I thought this weekend was a pretty good example of what we've seen all year from the Seawolves. We saw some guys giving it their all and some guys not giving their all. We saw individual players try to do too much themselves. We saw guys take selfish and dumb penalties.

There was persistence and character displayed by our guys at times. Just as there was through the whole season. We saw some nice skills and some well executed plays. But none of the positives were anywhere near enough to have any consistent success.

There's more than a few reasons for this awful year. I've touched on some of them here but it serves no purpose at this point to rehash all that. It'll be a year from now before we see how many of the causes can be rectified.

In case you didn't notice, I gave up on the season more than a couple of weeks ago. Blame my high expectations coming into the season for the crash in my fandom.

I'll have a comprehensive recruit update forthwith. Time to look forward to next year and start with all the guessing and speculation and hoping.

All the best to the Seniors in their hockey and non-hockey futures. There can be nothing but respect toward 4 year student-athletes. It takes loads of character and dedication and organization to make that happen. Congratulations to those guys and I hope they always fondly look back on the last 4 years.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

You Can't Win Dressed In A Laundry Bag

I've made up my mind that these home sweaters we're wearing are the absolute worst I've ever seen on a Seawolves player. They are "laundry bags". Ever see a G.I. laundry bag? Here's why I use those two words

Friday, February 13, 2015

MTU 5 - Seawolves 1

I've got not much more than some smart-assery here tonight. This loss was pretty ugly. Granted that MTU is a pretty nice squad that has been playing good hockey all season long, but that doesn't satisfy the frustration of watching your team play badly. Here's my notes from the game which should indicate my complete and utter disillusionment.

Friday, February 06, 2015

#42 UAA Faces #1 Mankato

Man, I honestly don't even know what to say. I deftly avoided talking about the two losses to Northern (honestly ... no BS here; those were embarrassing) by just not posting. It's doing a disservice to Chris Lawrence who submitted a nicely written "intro to UAA hockey" which I will post here soon because it's better than anything I have to add to the Seawolves hockey discussion right now.

It was sorrowful that our guys couldn't manage any point's in Marquette. I honestly (swear to god) think they deserved more than they got but at this point in the season with the current record THAT MEANS SQUAT

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wildcats Are Made To Order

This weekend's series in Marquette is the perfect fan test for the Seawolves at the perfect time. They've only won a single game since the beginning of December 2014. And they're still tied for 4th place. What I mean by fan test is that you and I have a chance to substantially better judge our guys by the results. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

WCHA: Tatchell and Mantha POTW Awards

Forward Blake Tatchell was named Offensive Player of the Week and Goaltender Olivier Mantha was named Rookie of the Week by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association today. Tatchell nabbed the OT game winner on Saturday night and on Friday night he provided the first assist on both Seawolves goals. Mantha faced 83 shots on the weekend and stopped 80 of them. His season save percentage is currently .928. 

Both of these awards are excellent recognition for two guys who had excellent weekends on the Carlson Center ice. I think it's fair to extend the congratulations to the whole team. This weekend I saw more team oriented play than I've seen this season. Guys were giving it up blocking shots and digging hard for loose pucks. They won lots of battles and survived some tough onslaughts collectively. 

Let's hope this is the start of this squad playing that way down the stretch. If they can do that then perhaps they can gain some sort of respectability in the standings by the end of season.

Congratulations on the awards to Blake and Olivier. They were well-deserved recognition.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Seawolves Sweep Nanooks

That's a real nice team win to secure the sweep. The team was disciplined tactically in their own zone. They were very opportunistic offensively. They killed penalties well. And Mantha was nothing less than terrific. And they got lucky a couple of times. It was inspired all around. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Intercourse The Nanooks

What a despicable display we saw tonight, eh? The FAIRBANKS Nanooks went seriously overboard tonight. The team attitude ... from the BENCH to the ice was worthy of league sanctioning. Seriously, if the WCHA doesn't step up and sanction UA_ for the end of that game tonight then we're in a truly crap league. Dallas Ferguson should be righteously ashamed of his team. The freaking Assistant Coach got TOSSED with 8 seconds left.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Seawolves Lose 3-2

Good jump in the first couple of shifts but the energy could be negated by a tripping call that shouldn't have been called against Azurdia. Allen, Tatchell and Cameron generated a good shot (but an easy save) within the first 15 seconds of the puck drop. They continued to possess the puck and make trouble.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

... You're Gonna Have a Bad Time; UAA 1-4 Ferris State

Ugliest sweaters in Division 1. They could be minimalist cool, if the red didn't come off looking so orange but they just look awful to me.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Thoughts On Being Swept: UAH out UAA'd, UAA

I didn't give UAH anywhere near enough credit for their sweep of our boys this past weekend.  Specifically, they reminded me of some of the best play we saw from the Seawolves over the last decade.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Sweep ...

See ya Thursday.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Excremental Recap of Excremental Hockey

Alabama Bound? Speaking of "bound"; I've seen more movements from a constipated dog than I saw from the Seawolves tonight down in 'Bama. That was just awful. Thank god for the UAH play-by-play guy giving us lots to laugh about or we'd have had zero joy.