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MTU-UAA Series Notes
November 3, 2008 - Brandon Veale
WCHA hockey returned to the MacInnes Student Ice Arena this weekend. I was fortunate enough to have time and opportunity to catch five of the six periods (had to leave early Friday night to get started on the paper). All in all, it wasn’t a disastrous weekend for the Huskies, but they probably would have been happier with more than two points.
A few observations:
• We focused a lot on Bryce Christianson’s performance in our recap, but I think the way UAA played defense had just as much to do with it. There weren’t a lot of shooting lanes, and relatively few odd-man rushes in Tech’s favor. There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth of Tech not shooting the puck enough on the power play (I’m a firm believer that you can always find the least-educated fan in the room by finding who yells “Shoot!” first on a power play), but the Seawolves did a terrific job of cutting off the Huskies’ effectiveness that way. Granted, you can beat that with deflections and garbage goals in front, but there are just some nights where the deflections go wide and the passes hop over sticks. They’re going to need a few points from the next few weeks to avoid digging a hole they can’t escape from, but this weekend was far from a total loss.
• I can’t believe I didn’t hear a Sarah Palin-related cheer or song all weekend. Anchorage played multiple preseason games in Wasilla, Ak! How was that missed?
• It wasn’t specifically mentioned during the game, but the Tech “goal” in the second period was disallowed because, according to the MTU SID report, “the player’s momentum propelled the puck into the goal.”
• Unless they clean things up, UAA’s not going anywhere. If they gave up multiple 5-on-3s in a period to a team that’s even average offensively in this league, they’d have lost this one 6-2.
• From the other perspective, they’re pretty excited about the early going in Anchorage, and they’ve got lots of reason to be. From the UAA Fan Blog (uaafan.blogspot.com):
“Shyiak and company deserve credit for a smart coaching job this weekend. They went to Houghton determined to play a tight defensive series and they accomplished that in spades. The backchecking was great. The defenseman did a stellar job clearing loose pucks out of their end. Neither Michigan Tech nor Duluth could manage a real 5-on-5 goal against the Seawolves (Duluth scored one 5 seconds after a penalty and MTU scored one 1 second after a penalty). That is an impressive accomplishment. Yes, it isn't an "official" accomplishment. So what? Unofficially not allowing two WCHA opponents over 4 games to score 5-on-5 is something to toot the horn about. It is stellar. Meanwhile 6 of UAA's 9 goals over the past two weekends have come 5-on-5. The Seawolves have straight up outplayed and outchanced both of their early WCHA foes in 5-on-5 hockey. There is no denying it.”
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