Previewing the Seawolves hockey matchup

Junior Jordan Kwas scores the only point against the Wisconsin Badgers during Saturday night’s away game. The ‘Wolves were beat 2-1. They take on the Colorado?College Tigers this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics)

Junior Jordan Kwas scores the only point against the Wisconsin Badgers during Saturday night’s away game. The ‘Wolves were beat 2-1. They take on the Colorado
?College Tigers this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics)

The Seawolves will clash with the Colorado College Tigers Friday and Saturday night. This is an important set of games. They are opportunities for the green and gold to salvage what has turned into a disappointing season of hockey.

The club finished last season with a record of 10-25-2. This year’s team will have to turn it on if they’re going to at least match that win total.

A reason for the Seawolves’ rocky campaign could be how much youth is on the roster. The team added eight new freshmen over the offseason and had no intentions of letting them learn from the bench.

Before the year kicked off, head coach Dave Shyiak said that he thought the rookies would compete for starting jobs. The expectations were high for the incoming class.

If coach Shyiak was right about one guy, it was the left-handed forward from Saskatchewan, Blake Tatchell. Tatchell came into last weekend’s double dip against Wisconsin as the team’s lead point man, with four goals and nine assists. He certainly looks like a piece the program can build around.

Another one of the rookie investments showed some returns in the Seawolves’ Jan. 18 tie against Minnesota State. Freshman forward Bobby Murphy, who’s a hometown product, knocked in a clutch game-tying goal with less than three minutes to play in regulation.

The results haven’t been everything they hoped and planned for, but there’s a lot to be gained from young guns getting time on the ice. Developing these players now could lead to success in the future.

Despite the youth movement, this is still a team led mostly by upperclassmen. Junior forward Matt Bailey, and senior forwards Jordan Kwas and Alex Gellert are all top five in points for the ‘Wolves.

There have been holes in the Seawolves’ defense, but they’ve specialized in penalty killing. In that department, the team ranks ninth overall in the nation.

For the Seawolves to come out victorious this weekend, those holes in the defense will have to close. The Tigers’ boast a foursome of double-digit goal scorers.

Senior forwards Rylan Schwartz and William Rapuzzi – who have both topped the 30-point mark this season – spearhead the Tigers’ attack.

As great as those two have been, their Tigers are still hovering around the bottom half of the WCHA. Handling that Tigers offense will be a challenge, but the Seawolves are looking at two winnable games this weekend.

Next week the Seawolves will hit the road to Houghton, Michigan where they’ll take on the Michigan Tech Huskies. They are back home Feb. 15 and 16 in tilts against Nebraska Omaha. As always, those games are at the Sullivan Arena and the puck drops at 7:07 p.m.

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