Last Saturday night, in a come-from-ahead
4-3 loss at Minnesota, rookie Alaska Anchorage coach Dave
Shyiak learned one of the perils of the WCHA’s new
instant replay system. Even when the call goes your way,
the review can be costly.
The upset-minded Seawolves were leading 3-1
with 10:08 to play in the game, and had killed a pair of
penalties early in the third to maintain their grasp on
the momentum. That’s when Minnesota’s Brent
Borgen centered the puck from behind the Seawolves net.
The pass hit Seawolves goaltender Nathan Lawson low, and
ricocheted toward the goalmouth, landing on the goal line.
With the Gophers’ largest home crowd of the season
roaring, the puck drifted along the red line for a few tantalizing
milliseconds, before Lawson smothered it.
Referee Don Adam correctly signaled “no
goal” then went to the video review system to check
his work. After a delay of a few minutes, the on-ice call
was upheld, and play resumed. But for the Seawolves, the
momentum was long gone.
“There was that long stoppage of play
for the replay, and that was the momentum-changer, obviously
to their advantage,” Shyiak said afterwards. “We
had them back on their heels, and I think we lost that edge
after (Minnesota’s) second goal.”
Just 26 seconds after the review, the Mariucci
crowd erupted again, but this time for real, when freshman
Phil Kessel cut to the Seawolves net, and Mike Howe tapped
in the rebound of Kessel’s shot. A mere 65 seconds
later the Gophers’ Ryan Potulny tied the game at 3-3
with his team-leading eighth goal of the season, and Evan
Kaufmann’s first goal of the year won it with 2:25
Minnesota coach Don Lucia acknowledged the
change in momentum after the game, but thinks it may have
had more to do with his words to the team after the second
period that motivated the Gophers.
“I told them there was ice reserved
at 7:15 on Sunday if they weren’t interested in skating
(Saturday),” he said. Indeed, rink manager Craig Flor
confirmed that after the Gophers managed just five shots
in the second period, team manager Harry Broadfoot was dispatched
by Lucia to inquire about available early morning Sunday
“Everyone in the locker room has heard
that one before,” said Kaufmann of the threat. “Still,
it’s not something anyone on the team wants to do.”
While most in the league have favored the
video review system for goals, the lengthy delay caused
by some reviews is one complaint heard since the system
was installed in all 10 of the league’s rinks prior
to the start of the 2005-06 season. Another point of concern
for some is that the official only looks at one angle, from
a camera above the net, and not all of the replays available
from whoever may be televising the game.
“We’ve talked about using whatever
cameras we’ve got on hand, and there’s debate
about whether its an advantage or a disadvantage in arenas
where they have more cameras,” WCHA commissioner Bruce
McLeod said, noting that the camera angles available at
places like Minnesota and Wisconsin, where most games are
televised, may be different than at places like Michigan
Tech or Alaska Anchorage. “We’ve gone ‘round
and ‘round about that.”
For now, McLeod says that the system, as is,
works, and he’s getting positive feedback.
“It couldn’t be more positive,”
he said. “The coaches I’ve talked to are absolutely
thrilled. It’s a really terrific tool. Our only concern
is that we don’t want to overuse it.”
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
Bad blood in Badgerland –
Just seconds remained in the weekend series between Wisconsin
and Colorado College when an incident happened that may
have bad feelings lingering for months. In the final seconds
of the Badgers’ 3-0 win over the previously top-ranked
Tigers last Saturday in Madison, CC forward Scott Thauwald’s
season came to an abrupt end after a hit by Wisconsin’s
Opinions vary on the hit, from Badgers’
coach Mike Eaves who told the Wisconsin State Journal
that Burish was protecting teammate Robbie Earl on
the play, to Tigers’ forward Brett Sterling, who told
the Capital Times of Madison that the hit was “a
total cheap shot.”
In any case, the fallout was swift, both on
the medical side and the side of league authority. At the
20:00 mark of the game, Burish was issued a five-minute
major for excessive roughness and given a game disqualification,
meaning he will sit out the Badgers’ Saturday home
game versus Minnesota State, Mankato.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Denver (Fri.-Sat.) With the Pioneers banged up, some might think
that the Gophers are facing the two-time defending
national champs at exactly the right time. Although
history tells us that what these teams do in October
and November bears little resemblance to what they
do in March and April. Last season, for example, Minnesota
looked unbeatable early, while the Pioneers started
slow. A few months later the Gophers were in a tailspin,
while the Pioneers went on a roll that didn’t
end until they were hoisting a national championship
trophy in April.
While You’re There: Faithful
INCH readers are used to us pointing out fun spots
to hit after the game, but if a long night of fraternizing
with the coeds leaves you hungry come sun-up, we suggest
one of the finest breakfasts available on the Front
Range. Just a block or so from Civic Center Park,
on the south side of downtown Denver, is Dozens (corner
of 13th and Cherokee) where the locals in the know
rave about the omelets, the waffles, the juices, the,
well, everything. Parking can be spotty, and a 30-minute
wait for a table is not uncommon, but to chase away
the next-morning blahs and fuel up for another run,
it’s worth the wait.
member of the Fighting Sioux returns to action, he
does so with a vengeance. North Dakota sophomore forward
Rastislav Spirko, who missed seven
games with an injury, returned last Friday at Minnesota
Duluth and needed just one game to get his scoring
touch back. On Saturday Spirko recorded his first
four points of the season with a goal and three helpers.
Not to discount
the effort by St. Cloud State goaltender Bobby Goepfert,
who earned his first WCHA shutout last Saturday, but
Michigan Tech managed just 14 shots
on goal in the 7-0 loss. If you’ve got guys
like Chris Conner and Taggart Desmet on your roster,
and you’re playing at home, you should be able
to make a visiting goalie work a little harder than
that to get a shutout.
Things are worse for Thauwald. On Tuesday,
school officials revealed that he had torn ligaments in
his left knee on the play, and will miss the rest of the
season. It’s a particularly cruel blow for Thauwald,
a junior wing from Rochester, Minn., after he missed half
of last season with the same injury.
After a review of the incident by McLeod and
WCHA supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd, it was determined
that Burish will not have to sit out any additional games.
He will, however, be required to write a letter of apology
to Thauwald and sit down with Eaves to review the disqualification
criteria. And Burish would be wise to expect a less-than-friendly
reaction from the fans when the Badgers visit Colorado College
on Jan. 13.
Things getting colder, better in Mankato
– Rarely do you hear Minnesotans talking
about brighter days ahead as the calendar moves from October
to November. It’s more normal for folks in the State
of Hockey to brace for the full onslaught of winter.
But it’s just the opposite at Minnesota
State, Mankato, where after a rough opening month, days
are getting shorter and colder, but things are looking brighter
for the Mavericks. Troy Jutting’s team closed the
month of October with a 0-6-0 mark, losing two games by
a combined total of 12-3 at home to Colorado College right
before Halloween. But the Mavericks travel to Wisconsin
this weekend on a 2-0-2 streak, which includes a 4-0 blanking
of Denver last weekend.
“October was an ugly month, so we definitely
were happy to put that behind us” said Mavericks forward
David Backes. “November’s been a lot kinder
Part of the reason for the pre-Thanksgiving
happiness at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center has been
the emergence of Dan Tormey as the team’s top goaltender.
A freshman who hails from Syracuse, N.Y., Tormey was named
the WCHA’s co-rookie of the week (along with Minnesota’s
Kessel) after shutting out the Pioneers. In doing so, Tormey
became the first Mavericks rookie to claim a shutout win
since Eric Pateman held Air Force and Niagara scoreless
during the 1998-99 season.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Last Friday’s
3-2 overtime win by Michigan Tech over St. Cloud State was
Tech coach Jamie Russell’s first versus the WCHA’s
other set of Huskies. Russell has now recorded a win versus
every league team except North Dakota. Russell’s next
crack at getting a win versus the Sioux comes on Dec. 2
when Drew Stafford and company visit Houghton.
Duluth sophomore forward Matt McKnight got a rare honor
at the start of the month. Senior defenseman Steve Czech
is serving as UMD’s team captain while senior center
Tim Stapleton has been entrusted with one of the alternate
team captain roles. The other will be chosen on month-by-month
basis. When McKnight donned the ‘A’ for November,
he became the first sophomore to fill any kind of team captaincy
role with the Bulldogs since Tom Milani wore the ‘A’
back in 1973-74.
• St. Cloud
State fans certainly hope this is a good omen: Last Saturday,
when the Huskies won 7-0 at Michigan Tech, it was their
most goals scored in a WCHA win since they beat Alaska Anchorage
by the same score on March 1, 2003. That season the Huskies
made the last of four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
A variety of sources
were utilized in the compilation of this report.