November 16, 2005
Upon Further Review ...

By Jess Myers

WCHA Notebook

Video review confirmed that Nathan Lawson stopped one puck before it crossed the goal line, but the Gophers had more where that came from.

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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 to play.

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 ice times.

“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.”


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 Adam Burish.

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.

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Minnesota 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.

Stick Salute

When one 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.

Bench Minor

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 so far.”

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.


• 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.

Minnesota 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.