College hockey holiday tournaments preview, Part 3

By DJ Powers

Badger Showdown (December 30th and 31st)

Host school: University of Wisconsin
Other participating schools: Northern Michigan University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University
Where: Kohl Center (on the campus of the University of Wisconsin)
Number of NHL Prospects to be showcased: 23
TV: WPT (Local Only)

In Madison, Wisconsin, the 17th annual Badger Showdown will be dropping the puck at the Kohl Center on December 30th. Host Wisconsin welcomes a trio of Michigan-based teams in Northern Michigan, Wayne State and Western Michigan. Ferris State has won the last two Showdowns and will not return to defend their tournament title.

Top-ranked Wisconsin will face off against Western Michigan to start the tournament. The Badgers will be without freshman forward Jack Skille (CHI), who is with Team USA at the WJC.

Wisconsin has gotten off to a spectacular start to their season. After stringing together a school record 14-game undefeated streak, the Badgers got a reality check from Michigan Tech on December 9th when the Huskies handed them just their second loss of the season. The Badgers exacted some revenge the following night with a 7-0 win in their most recent non-exhibition contest.

Junior goaltender Brian Elliott (OTT) has been nothing short of astounding in goal this season and ranks near the top in virtually every goaltending category. Coming into the Showdown, Elliot has posted a 14-2-2 record that includes three shutouts. His 1.43 goals against average, 1089:08 minutes played and .943 save percentage all rank third in the nation. His .833 winning percentage and three shutouts both rank tied for second. Elliott, a prime candidate for the Hobey Baker award, has allowed three or more goals in just two games this season.

Elliott is the backbone of one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. The Badgers have allowed an average of just one and a half goals per game, which leads the nation. The 27 goals allowed are tied for second in the nation. Only Miami-OH has allowed fewer goals thus far. They also bring the nation’s fifth best penalty killing team with a 89.1 percent efficiency rating into the Showdown as well.

As great as the Badgers’ defense is, their offense has been its equal. One of the more remarkable aspects about Wisconsin is the fact that the team has gotten goal scoring from virtually their entire roster. Among their regular starters, the Badgers have just four skaters – freshman forward Tom Gorowsky, junior defensemen Jeff Likens and Matt Olinger and sophomore defenseman David Drewicke, who have yet to notch a goal this season.

The Badgers sensational trio of sophomore Joe Pavelski (SJ), junior Robbie Earl (TOR) and senior Adam Burish (CHI) continues to be one of the most exciting and dangerous lines in all of college hockey. Pavelski leads the team in scoring with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists). He also leads the Badgers in goals (10) and power play goals (5). Earl is second on the team with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists). His 12 assists are tied for first on the team. Burish ranks tied for fourth on the team with 11 points (five goals, six assists). He leads the team in short-handed goals (2) and game-winning goals (4).

Wisconsin will face Western Michigan in their opening series. The two teams last met in the 1994 NCAA Tournament in Albany, NY.

The Broncos come into the Showdown looking to break out of a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) that includes being shut out in two of the three games. WMU’s season thus far has been an anomaly of sorts. In their first eight games, the Broncos have gone 2-6-0 and were outscored 18-37 in that period. In their next eight games, the Broncos have gone 2-3-2 and were outscored 19-23 in that stretch. The good news is they’ve allowed fewer goals against. The bad news is they’re still being outscored. WMU hopes to remedy that coming into the Showdown but going up against Wisconsin in their building may be a daunting task.

One area that seems to be going right for WMU is their power play. In their last eight games, they have scored nine goals with the man-advantage, including four in the November 18th series versus Michigan State.

The player leading in power play goals is also the one that leads the team in scoring – senior Brent Walton. The Elmira, Ontario native has been the Broncos go-to guy. He has notched 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) thus far.

The second game of the opening series of the Showdown features Northern Michigan facing off against Wayne State.

The Wildcats come into the tournament undefeated in their last three games (2-0-1) and without the services of head coach Walt Kyle, who is leading Team USA at the WJC in Vancouver.

After a strong start to the season followed by a tough stretch in the month of November, NMU looks to be getting back on track again. However one area that the Wildcats need to remedy coming into the Showdown is their slumping power play. NMU last scored a power play goal back on November 19th in their 4-8 loss to Bowling Green.

Defense has been a cornerstone of Northern Michigan hockey and this season looks to be no different. The Wildcats defense currently ranks 19th in the nation, allowing an average of 2.61 goals per game. NMU also has outstanding penalty killing. The team ranks seventh in the nation with an efficiency rating of 87.8 percent.

Offensively, NMU has been able to spread their scoring around but they are not a consistently high-scoring team. The trio of seniors in Andrew Contois, Jamie Milam and Dirk Southern (ANA) lead the Wildcats in scoring with 15 points apiece. Contois leads the team with six goals, while Milam and Southern co-lead the team with 10 assists each. Seniors Nathan Oystrick (ATL) and Geoff Waugh (DAL) anchor the NMU blue line. Oystrick leads all Wildcats defensemen in scoring with ten points (three goals, seven assists).

One player who has vastly improved his play and has become more of a presence this season is junior center Dusty Collins (TB). The Gilbert, AZ native has played in 16 of 18 games thus far season. Collins is on pace to have the most productive season of his collegiate career. He currently has six points (two goals, four assists) and leads the team in plus/minus (+5).

Facing NMU in their opening series is Wayne State. This is the first of three meetings between the two schools this season. The Warriors will pay a visit to the Wildcats up at the Berry Events Center in Marquette for a two-game, weekend series that begins on February 3rd.

WSU is coming off of a series sweep over Hockey East’s Merrimack back on December 10th. The sweep was the first time this season that WSU has won back-to-back (non-exhibition) games this season. They’ll be looking to extend their winning streak to three when they face NMU.

The Warriors are having a very good December thus far. In the four games played this month, WSU has a record of 3-1 with the lone loss coming against Air Force on December 3rd. The recent surge can be attributed to increased scoring and success of the power play. WSU has scored 19 goals in their last four games alone. The team has also tallied eight power play goals in their last six games, half of which came in the 7-6 overtime win over Merrimack on December 10th, tying a school record.

WSU is one of only two teams in the nation that have a defenseman leading the team in scoring (Quinnipiac is the other). Senior Steve Kovalchik has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) on the season coming into the Showdown. His lone goal of the season came on a power play in WSU’s 6-5 overtime win over Merrimack on December 10th. Junior Nate Higgins leads all Warriors forwards in scoring with 11 points (five goals, six assists). He also leads the team in power play goals (3).

Sheraton/TD Banknorth Holiday Tournament (December 30th and 31st)

Host school: University of Vermont
Other participating schools: Bemidji State University, Clarkson University, and Dartmouth College
Where: Gutterson Fieldhouse (on the campus of the University of Vermont)
Number of NHL Prospects to be showcased: 8
TV: Adelphia Local (December 30th only)

The 2005 Sheraton/TD Banknorth Holiday Tournament shifts to Burlington where the Vermont Catamounts will welcome former conference rivals Dartmouth and Clarkson along with reigning CHA champion Bemidji State to the Gutterson Fieldhouse on December 30th. Vermont will face off against reigning tournament champion Dartmouth in one of two games in the opening series of the tournament, while Clarkson will take on Bemidji State in the other.

#5 Vermont has had little trouble transitioning to and competing in Hockey East in their inaugural season. The Catamounts currently sit in fourth place in Hockey East. They have fared remarkably well in league play, going 5-3-1 thus far. Overall, UVM has put together an 11-4-1 record.

Vermont brings one of the nation’s best defensive teams into the tournament. In addition, the Catamounts have been excellent on special teams. Vermont is currently the only team in the nation that ranks in the top five in both power play and penalty killing.

Sophomore Joe Fallon (CHI) continues to be stellar between the pipes for Vermont this season. He sports a 9-4-1 record that includes two shutouts. His 1.85 goals against average currently ranks fifth in the nation. Fallon began the season with a perfect 6-0-0 record in the month of October, allowing a total of nine goals. While he has cooled down a bit since then, he continues to shine. He has allowed three or more goals in just three games since (not including the exhibition match versus the US U-18 team).

Sophomore Torrey Mitchell (SJ) leads the Catamounts in scoring with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists). The Greenfield Park, Quebec native recently had his seven-game point streak snapped after failing to tally a point in Vermont’s 2-1 loss to St. Lawrence last Saturday. He had his best performance of the season back on October 21st and 22nd versus Minnesota-Duluth. In the series, Mitchell racked up six assists to help the Catamounts to sweep the Bulldogs.

Vermont’s “feel good” story of the season is the return of senior forward Brady Leisenring. The Stowe, VT native played in just six games last season before a groin injury forced him to be medically redshirted for the rest of the season. Serving as one of the team’s three assistant captains this season, Leisenring has been both a leader and an inspiration to the team, contributing both offensively and defensively to the Catamounts cause. He ranks second on the team in scoring with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) playing in all 16 games coming into this tournament.

Vermont will meet reigning tournament champion Dartmouth in their opening series match.

The Big Green is coming off of a 5-1 win over Ivy League rival Harvard last Friday. After starting the 2005-06 season 0-4, Dartmouth has improved their record by going 5-3-0 since.

A big factor in their turnaround has been offensive production. Dartmouth brings the nation’s seventh best offense that is averaging just over three and a half goals per game into the tournament. Like their opponent, the Big Green also has a potent power play that is clicking at 23 percent, which ranks fifth in the nation.

Seniors Eric Przepiorka and Mike Ouellette, who anchor the Big Green’s top two lines, lead Dartmouth in scoring with 15 and 14 points respectively and both have seven goals on the season. The other four players that make up Dartmouth’s top two lines, all NHL prospects, rank third through sixth in scoring. Sophomores David Jones (COL) and Nick Johnson (PIT) each have 11 points apiece followed by sophomore J. T. Wyman (MON) with 10 and junior Tanner Glass (FLA) with nine.

As much as Dartmouth has been scoring goals, they have given up almost as many coming into the Sheraton/TD Banknorth Tournament. The Big Green has allowed three or more goals in eight of their 12 games thus far. Conversely, they have scored three or more goals in seven of their 12 games.

Sophomore Mike Devine and junior Sean Samuel have split games this season. Devine has fared better of the two young goaltenders. He has posted a 4-3-0 record with a respectable .904 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average. Samuel, who played very well as the backup to now-graduated Dan Yacey last season, has struggled in his starts this season, going 1-4-0. Samuel’s lone win of the season came in a 23-save shutout at Clarkson back on November 26th.

The other opening series match has #15 Clarkson facing off against Bemidji State.

Clarkson is coming off of a disappointing 2-1 loss at second-ranked Miami on December 10th. The game at Miami was just the Golden Knights sixth road game of the season through 16 games thus far. Beginning with this tournament, Clarkson will play ten of their next 12 games away from Cheel Arena.

The Golden Knights have made the hotly contested ECACHL race that much tighter this season thanks to offensive contributions from throughout the lineup, a much improved power play and some solid goaltending, particularly from junior Kyle McNulty. The Wakefield, RI native comes into the tournament with a 6-3-0 record. His 2.36 goals against average ranks 20th in the nation.

Clarkson brings the nation’s fourth-ranked offensive team into the tournament. It is an offense that is averaging 3.75 goals per game. Equally impressive is the team’s ninth ranked power play that has 21.6 efficiency rating. Last season, Clarkson’s power play efficiency rating was a dismal 15.6 percent. Sophomore Nick Dodge leads Clarkson with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists). Dodge, who is eligible for the 2006 NHL draft, has done most of his damage on special teams. Of his seven goals, three have come on the power play and two have come short-handed.

Freshman Shea Guthrie (NYI) has become one of the hottest rookies in the nation. He currently ranks tied for second on the team in scoring with 17 points (six goals, 11 assists). His 1.13 points per game also ranks fifth in the nation among rookies. Guthrie sat out Clarkson’s game versus Miami due to a game-disqualification he received the night before in the game versus Bowling Green.

Imposing junior Shawn Weller (OTT) is off to an outstanding start to the season. He leads Clarkson in goal scoring with 10 and has 14 points overall. He has become one of the Golden Knights “clutch” scorers. Weller has tallied three power play goals and three game-winners coming into the tournament. He also leads Clarkson with 43 penalty minutes.

As good as Weller’s season has been, he was not, to the surprise of many, selected to the USA squad for this season’s WJC.

Clarkson will meet Bemidji State in their opening series. The Beavers come into the Sheraton/TD Banknorth Tournament looking to snap out of a four-game winless streak (0-3-1). Bemidji State is coming off of a sweep at the hands of North Dakota in last weekend’s home-and-home series. After a successful start to the 2005-06 season, the Beavers have struggled to put together consecutive wins since mid-November.

One contributing factor is the decline in scoring. In their last eight games, Bemidji State has scored four or more goals in the two wins they have posted in that stretch. During the same period the Beavers scored two goals or less in all but one game and in the process posted five losses and a tie. Making matters worse is the slump that sophomore goaltender Matt Climie is going through. He has posted losses in his last four starts. Climie’s last win came back on November 11th at Wayne State.

While Climie has been mired in a slump, the situation is just the opposite for junior Layne Sedevie. Sedevie had his seven-game undefeated streak snapped last Saturday in the 5-1 loss to North Dakota. His 2.10 goals against average currently ranks tenth in the nation while his .925 save percentage is tied for tenth.

Junior Luke Erickson leads the team in scoring with 17 points (nine goals, eight assists). After a five-point (four goals, one assist) performance in Bemidji State’s 8-1 thumping of Niagara back on December 3rd, Erickson has not recorded since. He’ll be looking to notch his first point in five games when the Beavers face off against Clarkson.

Bemidji State’s third line has been the most productive of late. The line, which consists of juniors Rob Sirianni and Ryan Miller and sophomore Jake Bluhm, have combined for eight points (three goals, five assists) in the last four games. Overall on the season, the trio has combined to score 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists).

Wells Fargo Denver Cup (December 30th and 31st)

Host school: University of Denver
Other participating schools: Boston College, Ferris State University and Princeton University
Where: Magness Arena (on the campus of the University of Denver)
Number of NHL Prospects to be showcased: 15
TV: FOX Sports Net Rocky Mountain

Out west, the 14th annual Wells Fargo Denver Cup drops the puck at Magness Arena on December 30th. University of Denver will welcome Hockey East powerhouse Boston College, along with Ferris State and Princeton in what is shaping up to be a can’t-miss tournament.

#11/#13 Denver will look to successfully defend their Cup title when they face Princeton in one of the two games that open the tournament. After getting off to a less than stellar start to their 2005-06 campaign, the reigning national champions are warming up at just the right time. In the month of December, the Pioneers have gone 5-1-0 with their only loss coming at the hands of Alaska-Anchorage back on December 10th. They have outscored their opponents by a 25-11 margin in that time.

Coming into the Denver Cup, the Pioneers will be without freshman defenseman Chris Butler (BUF) and rugged sophomore forward Geoff Paukovich (EDM), both of whom are with Team USA at the WJC.

Junior defenseman Matt Carle (SJ) continues to be Denver’s most dominant force both offensively and defensively. The Anchorage, Alaska native is currently tied for first in the nation in scoring among defensemen with 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) and is considered an early top contender for the Hobey Baker award. In the weekend series versus archrival Colorado College back on December 2nd and 3rd, Carle tallied seven assists on nine of the Pioneers goals in the series. The performance also earned him the first of his two WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors for the month.

Sophomore Ryan Dingle has become Denver’s most improved player this season. He currently ranks third on the team in scoring with 22 points (14 goals, eight assists). Dingle’s 14 goals lead the team. His ability to score timely goals is evidence by the fact that his goals have come nearly every which way this season. Dingle leads the Pioneers in power play tallies (8), short-handed goals (2) and game-winners (5).

The declining number of goals allowed in recent games has been perhaps the single biggest reason behind the success of the surging Pioneers coming into the Denver Cup. The Pioneers have held the opposition to two goals or less in six of their last seven games. Equally important has been the marked improvement in the performances of the team’s superb goaltending tandem of junior Glenn Fisher (EDM) and sophomore Peter Mannino. Both have nearly identical numbers across the board, with Fisher having a slight edge in most of the categories.

The Pioneers will face Princeton in their opening series match. The Tigers will be making their second appearance in the Denver Cup. The last time Princeton was in this tournament was back in 1993 when they finished third.

The Tigers are coming off of a series split versus Alabama-Huntsville back on December 10th at Baker Rink. Princeton will be looking to put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season when they face off against Denver.

One area where Princeton has shown marked improvement this season is in penalty killing. The Tigers bring the nation’s sixth best penalty killing team into the Denver Cup. Princeton’s penalty killing has an 87.9 percent efficiency-rating coming into the tournament.

Senior Eric Leroux has been the backbone of the Tigers defense, giving his team a chance to win night in and night out. Leroux posted his second win and first shutout of the season on December 10th versus Alabama-Huntsville. While his 2-6-1 record may not be all that impressive, his .922 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average are. In his last four starts, Leroux has faced an averaged of 30.75 shots per game, including a season-high 41 shots in the 1-4 loss at Cornell back on December 2nd.

The area that has been a measuring stick for Princeton’s success (or lack thereof) this season has been the number of goals scored. In their four wins on the season, the Tigers have scored four or more goals in all of their wins except in the 3-0 victory over Dartmouth back on November 4th.

Princeton has had no trouble spreading their scoring around throughout their lineup, but has had some trouble getting it in big numbers. Junior Grant Goeckner-Zoeller leads the Tigers in scoring with ten points (six goals, five assists). His six goals also lead the team. Goeckner-Zoeller had one of his most memorable performances of the season back on October 28th in Princeton’s season-opening 5-3 win over Notre Dame. In that contest, he notched two goals to help lead the Tigers.

The second game of the opening series of the Denver Cup features #4 Boston College facing off against Ferris State. Like Princeton, both BC and FSU are making returning appearances to the Denver Cup. The Eagles will be making their third appearance while Ferris State will be making their second. The Eagles’ last appearance was in 1998 when they won the tournament. The Bulldogs were last in this tournament in 2000 and finished third.

Boston College will be without the services of three key players – sophomore goaltender Cory Schneider (VAN), sophomore forward Dan Bertram (CHI) and freshman forward Nathan Gerbe (BUF). All three players are participating in the WJC in Vancouver. Senior Stephen Gionta remains out of action with an ankle injury.

With Schneider out of the lineup, junior Joe Pearce (TB) may finally see some playing time. Pearce and freshman Adam Reasoner, the younger brother of former Eagle and current Edmonton Oiler Marty Reasoner, have yet to see action this season. Schneider has played all but four minutes this season.

The Eagles are coming off of a convincing, home-and-home sweep of UMass back on December 10th. In the two game series, BC outscored the Minutemen by a combined total of 11-1. The Eagles currently sit tied atop the Hockey East standings with an in-conference record of 8-2-1. BC has allowed two goals or less in all but two games thus far.

Senior Chris Collins is enjoying an outstanding season with Boston College. The Eagles alternate captain was stellar in the sweep over UMass last time out, notching a hat trick and four assists in the two games. He currently leads the team in several categories, including points (21), goals (12), power play goals (5), and short-handed goals (3). His 12 goals are a career-high. His three short-handed tallies ranks tied for second in the nation.

Towering junior Brian Boyle (LA) is currently third on the team in scoring with 14 points (four goals, ten assists). His ten assists co-lead the team. He also leads Boston College in plus/minus (+12). Of Boyle’s four goals this season, three have come on the power play. One of his most memorable performances came recently on December 9th when he notched four assists to help propel the Eagles to a 7-0 win over UMass.

Boston College faces Ferris State in their opening game of the Denver Cup.

The Bulldogs are coming off of a hard-fought split versus Northern Michigan at Ewigleben Arena on December 10th. After a successful November, Ferris State has struggled thus far in the month of December. In their four games this month, the Bulldogs are 1-3-0. The lone win came on December 9th versus NMU. Overall, Ferris State has a record of 8-6-4 with half of their wins coming against non-conference opponents. The Bulldogs currently sit tied for fifth in the CCHA.

The Bulldogs top line of senior Greg Rallo, junior Mark Bomersback and sophomore Matt Stefanishion have become one of the best lines coming of the CCHA thus far this season. The trio accounts for nearly 31 percent of the team’s scoring coming into the Denver Cup. Rallo leads the team with 22 points (ten goals, 12 assists). He has racked up 17 points in the last ten games for Ferris State. Bomersback ranks second on the team with 17 points (seven goals, ten assists). Stefanishion ranks seventh with 10 points (nine goals, one assist). His nine goals rank second on the team.

Imposing freshman defenseman Chris Zarb (PHI) has played in 15 of 18 games this season for Ferris State. He has tallied seven points (all assists). Five of his seven points have come in CCHA. He has notched a point in Ferris State’s last two games. Zarb had one of his best performances back on October 21st in FSU’s 4-4 tie at Lake Superior State, where he notched two points and was a +2.

One of the pleasant surprises for Ferris State this season has been the solid performance of freshman goaltender Mitch O’Keefe. O’Keefe has played in 11 games, posting a 4-3-4 record that includes one shutout. One of his best outings came back on November 8th versus Michigan State. In that contest, O’Keefe went the distant posting a 32-save tie for the Bulldogs.

Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup (December 30th and 31st)

Participating schools: University of Alaska-Fairbanks and University of Alaska-Anchorage
Where: Carlson Center (on the campus of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks)
Number of NHL Prospects to be showcased: 2

The Carlson Center will be rocking when the conclusion of the annual Governor’s Cup between Alaska-Fairbanks and Alaska-Anchorage shifts north to Fairbanks on December 30th. The Nanooks, who have won the last four Governor’s Cups, will look to make it five in a row over the Seawolves. The opening series of this always-intense rivalry ended in a split back on October 23rd in Anchorage. The Nanooks took the first game, winning 2-1 only to have the Seawolves tie the series with a 2-1 win the following night.

After a torrid start to their season back in October that included taking three of four points from WCHA powerhouse Minnesota at Mariucci Arena, the Nanooks have cooled down considerably. UAF comes into the Governor’s Cup final series looking to snap a five-game winless streak (0-4-1). The Nanooks are coming off of a disappointing loss and tie to Michigan State at Carlson back on December 10th.

A situation that UAF would like to get turned around going into the final two games of the Governor’s Cup is their play on special teams. The Nanooks have surrendered a combined seven power play goals against in their last four games, while managing to score five in the same span. In the most recent series versus Michigan State, UAF allowed the Spartans to tally four times with the man-advantage.

The freshman trio of Ryan McLeod, Kyle Greentree and Ryan Muspratt that worked so well together earlier in the season has since been reassembled with Kyle Jones as the most recent addition, taking the place of Muspratt. Jones, who is sixth on the team with seven points (all goals), is coming off his best weekend performance of the season. In UAF’s 4-4 tie versus Michigan State on December 9th, Jones tallied his first career hat trick on the Nanooks’ final three goals of the game.

McLeod leads the Nanooks in scoring with 14 points (two goals, 12 assists). He missed two games in mid-November when head coach Tavis MacMillan sat him down for violating team rules. McLeod had one of his best performances of the season back on November 4th in the Nanooks 4-2 win at Ferris State. In the contest, McLeod tallied four points (one goal, three assists) to help lead UAF.

McLeod’s linemate Greentree currently ranks second on the team with 13 points (five goals, eight assists). The imposing left wing from Victoria, BC had one of his best outings in UAF’s season opener back on October 14th. His three points (one goal, two assists), including his game-winner in overtime, gave UAF a stunning 4-3 upset win over host Minnesota.

Freshman defenseman Tyler Eckford (NJ), the Nanooks lone NHL prospect, has become an integral part of UAF’s defense, particularly in power play situations. He co-leads all Nanooks defensemen with nine points (two goals, nine assists).

While UAF has had their share of recent struggles, their counterparts from Anchorage haven’t fared much better. The Seawolves are coming off a series sweep at the hands of Colorado College this past weekend that includes a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss on Saturday. UAA enjoyed one of their best outings the previous weekend at Denver when sophomore Nathan Lawson went the distance to post a stunning 37-save shutout win in the Saturday game in arguably his best performance of the season thus far.

Coming into the final series of the Governor’s Cup, the Seawolves will be seeking their sixth and seventh wins of the season. Of UAA’s five wins on the season, four have come at Sullivan Arena. The win at Denver’s Magness Arena on December 10th was the Seawolves first, and thus far, only road win of the season.

In addition to their road woes, the Seawolves also need to find a way to generate more offense. UAA comes into the final Governor’s Cup series averaging a mere 1.89 goals per game, which ranks last in the WCHA. Compounding matters is the fact that junior defenseman Mark Smith is the lone player on the Seawolves roster that has tallied more than three goals thus far this season. Smith leads the team with four goals and is currently third on the team in scoring with eight points (four goals, four assists).

Two players who’ll be relied upon to pick up the offense are senior Ales Pares and junior Charlie Kronschnabel. Both co-lead the team with nine points apiece (three goals, six assists). In the six games UAA has played thus far, the two have combined for six points (three goals, three assists).

Rugged sophomore defenseman Luke Beaverson (FLA), the team’s lone NHL prospect, has made his presence felt on the ice. He has played in all 18 games thus far and has tallied one point. His lone point was an assist on junior Justin Borne’s game-winner versus Minnesota-Duluth back on November 19th. Beaverson is also tied for second on the team with 27 penalty minutes.

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