Series Preview - Alaska Anchorage

Overview:

The University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves are recovering from a dissapointing weekend series against Minnesota State.  The Seawolves were swept all the way back to Alaska being outscored 6-1 on the weekend, allowing a shutout for the Mavericks on Saturday night.  UAA is currently last in the WCHA with a conference record of 1-6-3.

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are also trying to work out some kinks they suffered when they fell to Bemidji State last Saturday night after a Friday night win.  UMD is currently tied for 8th in the WCHA with a conference record of 3-6-3.

(Photo: Dave Harwig - viewthroughmylens.com)

Offense:

The Seawolves are led by freshman Blake Tatchell with 10 points and sophomore Scott Allen with 7 goals.  UAA has scored 30 goals in their 14 games thus far, averaging 2.14 goals per game.  On the defensive side of scoring, Quinn Sproule and Scott Warner lead the team with 1 goal and 4 points each.

The Bulldogs are led by senior Mike Seidel with 10 goals and 18 points.  Freshman Austin Farley (7 goals and 16 points) and Tony Cameranesi (6 goals and 15 points) are not to far behind, though.  Defenseman Wade Bergman leads the blue line defenders with 12 points, but Andy Welinski is not to far back with 10 point.  UMD has scored 45 goals in their 16 games, averaging 2.81 goals per game.

Defense:

The Seawolves have allowed 42 goals in their 14 conference games thus averaging 3 goals per game.  The goals are pretty evenly allowed as far as periods go, giving up 12 in the first period, 15 in the second and 14 in the third with 1 lonely OT goal.

Juniors Rob Gunderson and Chris Kamal have both played a significant amount of time between the pipes so far this year, but Gunderson holds a slight advantage playing roughly 18 minutes more.  Gunderson has averaged 2.99 goals against and stopped 88.6% of the shots he has faced.  Kamal averages 2.86 goals per game and has stopped 91.2% of the shots hes been faced with.

The Bulldogs have allowed 48 goals in their 16 conference games thus far and also average 3 goals per game.  Minnesota Duluth's goals scored on by period is very even with 16 in the first, 16 in the seconds and 15 in the third with 1 lonely OT goal against them that came against North Dakota a couple weekends ago.

Freshman Matt McNeely and Junior Aaron Crandall have been splitting time pretty evenly so far this year.  The goalie that played the best in the series before usually ends up starting Friday night and depending on how he plays decides the starter for Saturday night.  McNeely has a 2 minute edge on Crandall so they've played the same amount of games.  McNeely allows 2.84 goals per game and has stopped 89.2% of the shots fire upon him while keeping a record of 3-4-1.  Crandall allows 3.1 goals per game and has stopped 88.4% of the shots hes been faced with while keeping a record of 2-4-2.  Statistically they are both fairly similar and I would assume they will keep alternating until one goalie stands out.

Special Teams:

Alaska Anchorage has the worst ranked powerplay in the WCHA scoring only 5 times out of 48 attempts, averaging 10.4%.  Their penalty kill is also in last place as they've only been able to kill 43 of the 57 penalties they've taken, averaging 75.4%.  Although the numbers aren't great, they shouldn't have to worry about the kill that much as they only average 11.8 minutes in the box per game.

Minnesota Duluth has the best powerplay in the WCHA as they have been able to convert on 19 of 76 attempts, averaging exactly 25%.  The penalty kill is what the Dogs need to utilize to the best of their ability.  The dogs have recorded 74 total penalties this year, but have been able to kill off 61 of them, or 82.4%.  They lead the league in penalty minutes with 275, averaging 17.2 minutes in the naughty box.

UMD vs UAA 2011-2012 5-0 W

The Verdict:

On paper, Duluth is a better team.  But tell me the last time stats and paper predictions actually worked consecutively...  This is the arguably the best conference in college hockey and any team can beat any other team if they're having a good night.  If Anchorage allows the Dogs to use their powerplay I would assume the Dogs will take advantage against such a weak kill, but 5x5 skating should be very intense.  I could see 2 high scoring games this weekend in Anchorage.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Bulldogs can come back with 4 points in what is mostly likely going to be their last series in Anchorage ever again.  This team, when playing well, can skate with any time in the nation and anyone that has seen them play well knows this.  But at the same time, it's hard to predict a sweep with the consistency this team has been showing.  I have even witnessed a team out on the ice that UAA could easily sweep.  So how many points the Dogs take out of this series is going to completely depend on who shows up wearing maroon and gold.

Here is the infamous University of Alaska Anchorage Hockey pregame video used to amp up the crowd.  How awesome is this video??  :)



GO DOGS!!!

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