November 29, 2007
Class Structure Drives Alaska Anchorage

By Jess Myers

Last year it was U.S. Immigration officials snooping around the Alaska Anchorage hockey program, briefly making a stink about the fact that Seawolves coach Dave Shyiak is a Canadian citizen with a work visa.

This year, if Shyiak is to face any outside trouble, it might be due to misguided accusations of age discrimination. Of course, faced with such charges, Shyiak would be likely to flash his devilish grin and say, “Sure.”

WCHA Notebook

Alaska Anchorage sophomore forward Kevin Clark leads the Seawolves with five goals, six assists, and 11 points through 10 games.

National TV Schedule

A glance at Alaska Anchorage’s most recent line chart shows clear divisions according to age, but at Sullivan Arena those divisions mean opportunity, not oppression. In his team’s last outing, the first forward line Shyiak sent over the boards to face Minnesota (Josh Lunden, Paul Crowder, and Kevin Clark) was all sophomores. The second line (Blair Tassone, Peter Cartwright, and Chris Tarkir) was all seniors. A trio of freshmen (Brad McCabe, Craig Parkinson, and Winston DayChief) comprised the third line.

Sadly, there were no juniors on the Seawolves fourth line to round out the symmetry. But those age divisions have led to some good-natured fun in the Seawolves’ locker room. Clark, who hails from Winnipeg, said his line chides the seniors-only second unit for its experience.

“We call them the ‘men’s league line,’ because they’ve got a lot of age combined among the three guys there,” said Clark, flashing a broad grin shortly after the Seawolves won 4-2 at Minnesota for their first WCHA victory. “I guess you could say we’re the young bucks.”

Cartwright, for his part, claims the seniors prefer to be called the “adult beer league line.” But all marvel at the youngsters and their habit of bringing a nice combination of size and speed to the team. They are the offensive keys to future success, according to their coach.

“They’re skill guys and they’re looked on to get some points. Your best players have to be scoring for you,” said Shyiak. “Those guys do have pretty good chemistry and cohesion, and when they’re on top of their game they’re pretty good for a sophomore class.”

The chemistry is easy to see when Crowder is centering Clark and Lunden. Clark currently leads the team with 11 points, and Lunden is right behind him with 10. They say that the age-based divisions end, but the chemistry continues, off the ice. Sophomores Clark and Lunden share lodging with seniors Tassone, Tarkir and captain Luke Beaverson in a now-infamous off-campus house. Their pad is morbidly nicknamed “The Morgue” due to a murder that took place during a domestic dispute there in April 2006. Several Seawolf players moved in a few months later, willing to overlook the home’s sordid past and focus instead on the dirt-cheap rent.

“Every shift is a blast,” said Clark of their on-ice time. “Josh and I played together last year and we live together, so we have good chemistry on and off the ice. Josh is a guy with good size who likes to play the body and Crowder is a playmaker. We just have a lot of speed and that adds to the energy on the line.”

In the win at Minnesota, a burst of Seawolf energy led to three goals in four minutes of the third period, turning a 2-1 Gopher lead into a two-goal deficit and draining any energy from the huge crowd at Mariucci Arena. Reminded that the win was the Seawolves second victory in their last four games in Minneapolis, the center of the “men’s league line” — whose first goal of the year started the rally — said that silence was golden.

“It’s not a bad place to play,” said Cartwright, glancing around Mariucci for what may have been his last time as a collegian. “It’s a pretty good feeling when 10,000 people aren’t talking.”

As anyone who’s visited a nursing home can tell you, the seniors like it quiet.


Landon on Two Skates: Desperate for insurance between the pipes after sophomore Anthony Grieco bolted Grand Forks a few weeks ago, Dave Hakstol handed a unique oppontunity to a freshman who enrolled at North Dakota without expectations of a hockey future.

Rookie Landon Snider was officially added to the Sioux roster earlier this week and is penciled in as the third-string goalie behind Jean-Philippe Lamoureux and Aaron Walski. Snider comes from the high school program in Brainerd, Minn., where he was a starter for two years and was coached by former Sioux netminder Toby Kvalevog.

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Colorado College at Alaska Anchorage (Fri.-Sat.)
It should be a clash of exciting young offense (for the Seawolves) versus exciting young defense (for the Tigers) at Sullivan Arena. UAA is trying to reach the upper half of the league standings, while CC aims to stay atop the WCHA’s 10-team pileup.

While You're There: There’s not much sunlight in Alaska this time of year. So if you’re going to be in the dark, what better way to pass the time than in the comfort of a theater seat with a tub of popcorn at your side? More than 150 "Films Worth Freezing For" will be screened at eight venues around the city as part of the Anchorage International Film Festival.

Stick Salute

Yes, that was WCHA referee Jon Campion’s home holiday decorations on display on the HGTV show "Decorating Cents" this week. After a trying year for the Campion family, in which Jon tragically said goodbye to his wife Kelley after a battle with cancer, some much-needed holiday cheer was a nice touch.

Bench Minor

How about a little conference pride, Minnesota and Wisconsin? For the first time since 2002, the WCHA failed to get a win in the College Hockey Showcase. The Badgers are now a less-than-impressive 8-20-2 all-time in Showcase games


• Michigan Tech returns to the scene of a few team milestones this weekend when the Huskies visit Mariucci Arena. In a 5-4 defeat of the Gophers in Minneapolis last March, Justin St. Louis recorded the team’s most recent hat trick, and their most recent shorthanded goal.

• The numerical key to North Dakota having success this weekend when the Sioux visit Denver is as simple as 1- 2-3. The 9-3-0 Pioneers have allowed two or fewer goals in all nine of their wins, and have allowed three goals or more in all three of their losses.

• Minnesota’s loss and tie last weekend at Michigan and Michigan State marked a rare spate of CCHA trouble for the Golden Gophers. Prior to their trip to East Lansing and Ann Arbor, they were 17-1-3 in their previous 21 games versus CCHA teams.

• Minnesota State is looking for another big series from defenseman Brian Kilburg this weekend when Minnesota Duluth visits Mankato. Kilburg has averaged nearly a point per game against the Bulldogs, but is still looking for his first goal, having notched five assists in six games versus UMD.

• Speaking of the Bulldogs, you might hear the song “Home for the Holidays” being sung on the team bus when they pull put of Mankato late Saturday night. The series with the Mavericks marks the end of a stretch in which the Bulldogs have been on the road for eight of 10 games.

• What do Michael Dukakis and St. Cloud State hockey have in common? They both suffered pretty big losses in November 1988. Last Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Clarkson marked the first time that the Huskies have fallen to the Golden Knights since Nov. 4, 1988 — just days before Dukakis was steamrolled (or was that tank-rolled?) by Bush the Elder in that year's presidential election.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Jess Myers can be reached at