Monday, December 11, 2006

Looking Back on the Weekend

by: Donald
UAA Hockey Fan Blog

I didn't get to see the Seawolves play this past weekend. It was the only series of the season that we UAA fans were "sans video" of some sort. Friggin BS liberal arts hippie schools. But I did manage to watch quite a bit of one of the Pios games against the Landcows. I think DU suffered a bit of the same fate against MSUM as UAA did when they played a few weeks ago in Mankato. Troy Jutting has had more than just a few injuries to deal with and the result is a mish-mash style that I likened to boxer Chuck Wepner. Wepner was one of those guys that was just so damned unorthodox that it didn't matter who his opponent was: they were going to look bad. I saw Kato play the Gophers as well and the same thing was evident. They're almost "klutzy" but work so damn hard that it's really difficult to establish the sort of game you'd want when playing them.

UAA split with them in Mankato but I wouldn't say that Coach Shyiak figured them out. The Seawolves didn't really look good in either game. But it looked like Gwoz sure had their number on Saturday. Or maybe he finally found Dingle's number? It's hard to tell from a boxscore if the win on Saturday was due to the team playing well or just one line lighting it up. I've read concerns about inconsistency in the Pioneers play for a good portion of the season so I'm going to assume that this latest performance falls into that category. I think there's little question that DU suffered from inconsistent play (if you can call two losses "inconsistent") against CC. They played badly the first night and pretty well the second ... no? I'm not so sure that inconsistency though is the problem. Just like most other teams in the WCHA; DU has a lot of new players in the lineup this year. I think that the Pios just haven't established a solid identity; it's a team ... but like a nice Flan, it ain't ready til it's set and has some extra caramel on top. They seemed to be coming along in November with a stellar record and I don't think that losing twice to a bitter rival and then struggling (a bit) against Chuck Wepner University is any reason to doubt. Getting swept by UAA shouldn't be a cause of great consternation in Pio-land either. The Pio's are dead-on in the middle of a mix of teams that will be fighting for home-ice WCHA games. Start worrying after January. They can't be far off from cementing "who they are" together. Til then ... just let the Flan set and keep the caramel close by.

The Seawolves had a distinctly different experience at CC this past weekend. And by distinctly different I mean Mike Hunt (ooops ... its Marco) piling on penalties in OT periods. From what the coach said UAA seemed to play two pretty good games. Listening on the radio I got a somewhat different feel. It seemed the squad had some major portions of time where they were badly dominated by CC. But that could just be an impression I gained by sitting through 17 CC power plays. So yes ... we've seen plenty of the inconsistency symptoms as well. It takes time to develop an identity; but from Day 1 in Anchorage the story has been one of a complete turnaround in attitude. Upperclassmen say great things about the rookies. The rookies talk about the leadership of the upperclassmen. And the coach talks constantly about how close the team is. So (unlike my thoughts about the Pioneers), I'm fairly confident that UAA's players have indeed found their identity as a team over the past two weekends. First they lost inspirational Captain Charlie Kronschnabel when he suffered a broken leg against UMD. Then the loss in OT and the fight at CC. I think both of those will be the final catalysts for this squad to pull together even closer and eliminate their inconsistencies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now thats a good looking dessert...