Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beck Gets 100th Point in Tight 2-1 Loss to Seawolves in Game 2

With Campbell out, I had assumed that Kaiser would be in to fill in but I didn't expect coach Ferguson to scratch J.D. Peterson in favor of Tateson, who has played just 2 games up to this point. But I think it worked out. Tateson and Kaiser are both more of stay at home defenders and they are strong on the backcheck. As a result, the 1st period was a little bit slower than we've seen in this series, but I think the Nanooks took it to the Seawolves late in the 1st after Quinn Sproule was flagged for interference.

Then with under 29 seconds on the clock, Parayko just ripped a shot from just inside the blue line as he caught the goaltender out of position to put the Nanooks up 1-0. Beck got the primary assist with the pass through the neutral zone, which ended up being his 100th career point, the 31st Nanook to do so. Big achievement there.

But in the second, the bounces just started going the other way. Every chance the 'Nooks had, the puck would be rolling just enough to miss the stick, or come off the toe of the blade just wrong enough to completely miss an open opportunity. Couple that with 2 quick goals for the Seawolves just 1:28 apart early in the 2nd gave the 'Pups some unnecessary confidence. But the 'Nooks didn't quit, and after the 2nd media timeout they came out firing. Despite the penalty, I thought Atkinson had a hell of a period. He handled the puck well and took defenders and contained to the outside. Very solid.

In the 3rd, much of the same, although a bit more even keel. Sean Cahill kept the 'Nooks in it, but the officials kept them out of it. Terrible offsides calls, terrible penalties both called and not. Was not called fairly. I don't criticize officiating often, even if its terrible as long as it goes both ways. Last night, not so much... Hard to win a game when you're playing more than just the other team.

A deciding game three is now on the books and if the 'Nooks hope to make it to Grand Rapids, they need a coordinated team effort top to bottom. Hard to believe that with one offensive cog missing from the gears, things just didn't roll the same way. Everything seemed a little off... If the 'Nooks want to win, they need to channel individual effort into a team strategy and not just have 20 skaters banging around uncoordinated. I would have much preferred to have most of the lines gelled like they have been, especially the Larson-Hochhausen-Huysmans line who had been creating havoc for defenses, but the only line that hasn't been shuffled is the top line with Beck-Kunyk-Basara. But as the game went on, Perry subbed in on the right wing to try and get things stirred up and eventually moved to center to try and help get Kunyk going.

Hard to say if the lines will be shuffled further for the final game. Time will tell.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Stat Guy - Statistical Edge After First Victory in Best of 3 Series

After the conclusion of last nights Nanooks victory, I was asked by a fellow fan, statistically how important is winning game 1 of a 3 game series? The answer is that it is critical. If the two teams are equally matched, the odds of course of a victory is a simple coin flip, or 50 percent. However after the victory in game one, the odds of prevailing rise dramatically to 75%. The odds of the loser of game one taking the series correspondingly drops to 25%.

The good news for Anchorage, if there is any, is that if they can prevail in game 2 the odds revert back to a coin toss.

This simple calculation of course does not factor in winning percentage, momentum, home ice or officiating. That's why--I am often reminded--they play the games.

Go Nooks, Math Rocks!

--The Stat Guy

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Captain Clutch Buries in OT as Nanooks Roll in OT

The first period was played very tightly. Both teams getting a number of scoring chances, but ultimately ended in a 0-0 deadlock. Much tighter than I expected to be honest. The 'Nooks played grittier, but didn't get a lot to show for it early. Also I don't know what happened, but Trevor Campbell left midway through the 1st and didn't return. He skated off quickly, like it was an equipment issue. When I saw it, I didn't think much of it, but apparently it was pretty serious. 

In the 2nd, the officials missed a terrible knee on knee penalty at the Nanooks blue line that sprung Dusyk on a 2 on 1 with Trupp. Justin Woods took the pass, but Dusyk got one over the glove to put the Seawolves up 1-0. 

The Nanooks avoided another turnover becoming disaster as a 3 on 1 for UAA was turned aside by Cahill by some strange Hockey Gods intervention. No idea how that stayed out
But the Nanooks got some jump in their step and answered with one of their own as Justin Woods corralled a rebound as he pinched in on the right wing to bury his first career collegiate goal!

Into the 3rd, the Seawolves got another off a lucky bounce created by Tatchell off a turnover at the blue line. Some power moves and throwing it to the goal and deflecting in off a skate. 

That didn't settle to well, and the Nanooks offense kept churning. Plays were happening but Gunderson was strong. But the Nanooks drew a penalty as Dylan Hubbs was caught giving Perry the business behind the goal. A roughing call got the 'Nooks pumped and set up for another power play and they took advantage to tie the game up 2-2. Great moves by the freshman to dangle through the D and bury. Collected his own rebound and got the second chance goal. 

The Nanooks would need extra time to try and get it done as 60 minutes just wasn't enough. 

But it didn't take long as Colton Beck went top shelf on Gunderson to win it. No idea how he sniped that, but that one is one for the ages. Video will be shared
later for sure. Just an unbelievable goal. 

The 'Nooks tomorrow need to come out and set the tone early. You can tell UAA is going to be ready, and the boys need to take it to 'em. 

Go 'Nooks!

Nanooks Earn Top WCHA Honors

Cody Kunyk caps his senior season off with the league's top honor, the 2014 Player of the Year and Scoring Champion. Colton Parayko added to that with the other top performing skating honor as the Defensive Player of the Year. Both players of course situated atop the All-WCHA First team.

Basara finished second in voting as Rookie of the Year despite tying LSSU's Alex Globke in scoring. I suppose you gotta give other teams a bone. But he did get himself on the All-WCHA Rookie Team

Also congratulations to Colton Beck and Tyler Morley for making the Second and Third team rosters, respectively.