Friday, October 25, 2013

Western Recap, Mercyhurst Preview - It's Hybrid Post Friday

So I didn't realize that I didn't post the wrap up right after the game on Saturday, so this will be an abridged wrapup of the Goal Rush, and a preview of the Mercyhurst series. My apologies for the oversight. Fortunately most of the Western game that's written below was saved from Saturday

Saturday night, the first period kept the same pace the Nanooks exerted Friday. Good, fast energy with good intensity. Getting the benefit of the early power play that the Nanooks would capitalize on as both teams would ultimately exchange power play goals throughout the first period. Kunyk with a wrister down low over Slubowski's glove. Huysmans made a nice play down low around the net to get the puck through the crease to Kunyk who was left alone. Oops. 1-0.

Hargrove for Western with a slapper from the top of the faceoff circle high over Jones' blocker to tie it 1-1. A hard shot even for a veteran goaltender to stop with that much traffic in front. But another goal on the power play for Western on the weekend.

The 2nd period had some more great hockey riddled with some unfortunate penalties that seemed to swing the momentum both directions. Quite honestly the officiating in all 4 games this weekend was questionable at best. Nonetheless the second period went scoreless, and Hargrove put another one past Jones on a costly turnover behind the net.

Now behind 2-1, the Nanooks would play call and answer for the remainder of the period as Nolan Huysmans knotted it back up just over 2 minutes later. This was one of those plays that you know, as a fan, that a goal is coming. You can just feel it. I was a little worried for a minute, but the 'Nooks had Western chasing their own tails as they couldn't stop the puck from moving. Michael Quinn got the puck from Kunyk on the point and he took a shot on net that Huysmans got a tip on just in front to tie it again.

Conveniently right as Huysmans scored the goal, CBS 13's Jaime Schwartzwald was conveniently standing next to Nolan's dad Harry in the stands. Right after the celebration starts, you'll see Jaime pan to him as he's applauding his son. Cool moment. Nice work Jaime. That's just before the 2 minute mark in this highlight video that Jaime put together.

I met Nolan's parents last season for the first time during the Governor's cup series, really nice family. I'm glad they were able to come watch their son bag a goal.

After Berschbach scored for Western again to go up 3-2, Tyler Morley's line with Perry who deked through the Western defense so fast, they didn't even see what was coming.  Perry got the initial shot that looked like it would have gone in anyway, but Morley added the insurance, tapped it home and probably owes Perry some form of liquid refreshment after that.

Both defenses played well in overtime. I thought Western had a couple of good chances that developed early in the extra frame, but Jones stayed solid. Parayko wristed the lone goal in the shootout for the Nanooks to win the tournament, as both Western and Alaska were tied at 1-0-1 records on the weekend. This marks the second year in a row that the Nanooks have won their own tournament, and have won four times out of the six total the Nanooks have hosted.

If you didn't hear the news, Air Force and Penn State will be next year's field for the Goal Rush tourney alongside Alaska and UAA. The Hockey Classic in Anchorage next season will feature Wisconsin and Maine facing off against both Alaska teams. But there's a lot of games between now and then.

Two of those games comes this weekend against Mercyhurst which will be hosted at the Patty Center due to the AFN convention in town, which has the Carlson Center AND the Big Dipper booked solid through Sunday. Should make things interesting as every advertisement I've seen has had "sold out" appended to it, as the Patty Center can't even accommodate all of the season ticket holders, let alone an actual student section.

Students will have the added benefit of the Nanooks Tailgater going on next door at the Student Recreation Center, where the game will be projected on a huge screen with food and drinks, but without the benefit of harassing the visiting goaltender. Life is about sacrifices, sometimes.

The Patty Ice Arena serves as the Nanooks' practice rink during the week, but that is where games were actually held full time until the Carlson Center opened in the early 90's. Between the seating and the standing room on the balcony, the Patty seats about 1,300 people at totally packed shoulder to shoulder maximum capacity. Which is less than half of the average attendance at the Carlson Center and not even the number of season ticket holders. So expect things to be a little... strange.

But the good news is, when that building is packed. It is LOUD. And since we won't have a goal horn, or much of a sound system, we need the crowd to be loud!

Since the guys are playing in the old building, I suppose it would be appropriate to wear throwback jerseys. And that's exactly what the boys are doing. Essentially the current  jersey with replaced decals in the old styling. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Should be a fun weekend of hockey. While I think the guys can sweep Mercyhurst, they shouldn't overlook them by any means. I just hope the walls of the Patty don't fall over in the process.


Anonymous said...

There's some seapuppy chirping on USCHO that WMU should have won the Goal Rush based on goal differential (how ironic, considering that logic is due to Western's 6-2 mudholing of their beloved UAA), that the shootout never should have happened, and Andy Murray was supposedly livid about the whole thing. Has anybody else heard the same story, or is this just more proof that UAF owns even more real estate in the collective noggin of their fanbase?

Britton said...

Seapups will chirp anywhere they have an outlet to do so. And since they don't have a blog anymore, they resort to more populated communities where people actually call them out on their ignorance.

I stopped watching USCHO a long time ago, simply because people rant about things that don't matter and a majority of the trolls knew little about the game.

If this particular troll wasn't too cheap to pay for a program to look at the official rules, he would know that in the event of a head-to-head tie, the first tie-breaker for the game would be a shootout. The goal differential only comes in to play if it would be between Denver/Western, or ACC/Alaska. In NCAA, WMU/UA were 1-0-1 on the weekend. By the shootout, the 'Nooks were 2-0, the Broncos were 1-1. No ties for the tournament due to the shootout.