So. | F | Victoria, British Columbia
Two's a Crowder: Paul Crowder's younger brother,
Tim, is a junior forward for defending national
champion Michigan State.
Key Statistics: Crowder's
24 points last season were the most by a Seawolf rookie
since 1992-93 (Alaska Anchorage's first go-round in
the WCHA) when the immortal Petri Tuomisto scored 26
What He Does: At 6-foot-3
and a hair over 200 pounds, Crowder uses his long reach
and bulk to protect the puck on the cycle, which gives
him the time and space to make plays in traffic, and
he's deceptively quick, giving him the ability to play
a finesse game. UAA coach Dave Shyiak threw Crowder
— who, as a 21-year-old last season was among
the country's oldest rookies — into a variety
of situations early in the year, and Crowder handled
the duties with aplomb.
The Bigger Picture: Despite
a 10th-place finish in the WCHA last year, the Seawolves
have plenty on which to build. UAA won the season-opening
Nye Frontier Classic, beat rival Alaska thrice to capture
the Governor's Cup, swept a series from eventual Frozen
Four participant North Dakota, and sat two games above
.500 on New Year's Day before losing 13 of its last
Crowder, naturally, will be crucial to
the Seawolves' continued growth. Specifically, Shyiak
would like to see the forward, who typically looks to
pass first and shoot second, to take the puck to the
net and fire away. He'll also encourage Crowder to use
his skating ability to gain more speed through the neutral
zone on the rush, forcing defensemen to make a hasty
decision — either step up and have Crowder run
you over or sidestep you, or drop back and give him
the time and space to create scoring chances.
Alaska Anchorage head coach Dave
Shyiak on Paul Crowder: "His greatest
attribute is consistency, and he's very, very coachable.
He's great on faceoffs, is a good penalty killer, has
solid defensive awareness and is an effective fore-checker.
He can play the finesse game, but he also likes to hit
[and] play a physical brand of hockey."