Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wild Weekend Ends With Brawl For The Ages

After a weekend that saw both teams come away with one overtime win, the Tigers and the Seawolves decided to settle things with a bench clearing brawl for the ages on Saturday night. The video has yet to be found, but if the pictures tell the story, it'll be an instant classic. What could lead to such an epic struggle? A great weekend of hard fought hockey, filled with late comebacks, plenty of penalties, and dramatic overtime wins. Adding to the obvious frustration that led to the brawl was the fact that both teams had their turn at dramatic third period comebacks, only to lose games in overtime. On Friday, it was the Tigers coming back from 4-0 down to tie it up before falling in overtime. On Saturday, the Seawolves rallied from a 3-1 deficit to send the game to extra time, before getting killed by penalties in the extra session.

Matt Zaba, who had been a rock in net for the past few weeks, was shaky from the start in Friday's game and was pulled after giving up four quick goals. Seawolves freshman Jon Olthuis, who was starting in goal after a terrible performance last week from regular starter Nathan Lawson, was able to finally lead Alaska-Anchorage to a long awaited victory in the World Arena. Lawson and Zaba were back in on Saturday, this time with Zaba coming out on top. Chad Rau and Scott McCulloch led the way offensively for CC, with Rau tallying a goal and two helpers on Saturday, and McCulloch putting in two. Brandon Polich set up two goals on Friday, and Andreas Vlassopoulos also netted his first career point with an assist.

All in all it wasn't a bad weekend for the Tigers, although it would have been nice to keep up the winning streak over UAA at home. The Seawolves have proven so far that they're for real this year in the WCHA, however, so the Friday night loss is not the end of the world. With St. Cloud State playing nonconference games against Colgate over the weekend, the Tigers have clawed their way into second place in the WCHA standings. They are followed in the standings by St. Cloud State, Denver, and Alaska-Anchorage.

The Tigers certainly seemed to have some early letdowns after an hard fought sweep of Denver last week. The Seawolves were able to come out on Friday and put in four goals in the first period. The Tigers seemed to settle in, however, and battle back nicely before dropping the contest in overtime. The Tigers could have sealed the win late in the third on Friday if it was not for a late goal being called back by the officials. CC players also hit a number of pipes throughout the game. On Saturday, it was CC who was able to come out on top after a late scare, with Scott McCulloch finding the back of the net in overtime to seal the win and secure a split for the Tigers.

The Tigers' next series will be at home against nonconference opponent Bemidji State. While the Beavers come from the CHA and may not help the Tigers tournament resume, they have proven themselves a worthy contender, recently sweeping a home and home series with Minnesota-Duluth. In fact, Bemidji State is 4-0-0 so far this year against WCHA competition, as they also swept Minnesota State earlier this year. All things considered, this could end up being a tough series for CC - especially since five players (DeBoer, Testwuide, Straub, L. Sweatt, Gannon) were handed game disqualifications as a result of the fracas in Saturday's game.


* Minnesota continues to pace the WCHA with a weekend sweep of Michigan Tech.

* Either Wisconsin is back on track, or North Dakota is heading into a tailspin. The Badgers swept this weekend in Grand Forks.

* This has already become obvious, but if you haven't been paying attention, Notre Dame is for real this year. This weekend they swept Michigan.

* The Tigers had a recruiting visit this weekend. Wish it could have been a week earlier!


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