Some thoughts, sure, none particularly deep -- hey, let's all be honest and consider the source. Besides, no doubt the pretty-nice sized crowd -- The Blog is lousy at estimates, so we'll modestly guess the throng at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex at 13,312 -- included some armchair Gretzkys who will hit the chat rooms to talk up the boys and keep it real.
Anyhow, UAA under first-year coach Matt Thomas played two periods of scrimmage pucks today to furnish the first glimpse of this edition of the Seawolves -- Gold (actually wearing white sweaters) topped Green, 5-2, so bummer if you had eight goals as the over-under.
Let's start in goal, where it seems to The Blog the most interesting question is whether sophomore Michael Matyas will get a true shot at the job. He didn't play a sec last season, when current seniors Chris Kamal and Rob Gunderson split duties for the third straight season. Matyas looked sharp and in control, and made a particularly tough, lunging save to his right after he lost his stick in a goalmouth scramble. Thomas said Matyas will definitely get a shot at seizing the No. 1 job. (Kamal made a spectacular blocker save, it should be noted, on freshman winger Tanner Dusyk -- more on him in a moment -- after he took a 2-on-0 pass from junior Andrew Pettit.
Dusyk (5-8 and 173) bagged the first two goals of the game, banging home a rebound for his first strike and deftly deflecting defenseman Blake Leask's slapper from the right point for his second marker. (The game started at 11:30 a.m., and it was weird when the public address announcer, associate athletic director Tim McDiffett, called it Dusyk's "second on the morning.'').
Freshman Hudson Friesen bagged a couple goals, the first on a deflection, the second into an empty net. He's got some size (6-2, 196). Fellow rookie forward Dylan Hubbs is all of 5-9, 159, but he's got some jam in his game -- Seawolves fans might recall a recent small, feisty type in green and gold, and say Hubbs has some Kevin Clark in him. Hubbs had 255 penalty minutes last season in junior for Olds of the Alberta Junior Hockey League; Clark, who developed into a 23-goal scorer for UAA as a senior, racked 250 minutes his last season of junior for the Winnipeg South Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. In any event, The Blog has a soft spot for small guys who play with a boulder on their shoulder.
Senior center and captain Matt Bailey scored a goal off a Jordan Kwas feed. Bailey, it says here, is UAA's most complete player. He can skate, he has skill, he's super fit and he plays with an edge. OK, an edge that could stand to be tempered sometimes -- at least that was the case his first three seasons -- but it's part of the package, and used the right way -- look, guys with an edge occasionally cross the line, part of doing business -- is an asset.
One intriguing aspect of the scrimmage was again seeing winger Brett Cameron, who last season played only nine games before suffering a broken collarbone that required season-ending surgery. (UAA still is waiting to hear whether Cameron will receive a medical redshirt, so he's listed as a senior for now, but could revert to being listed as a junior). He delivered two goals, the first on a one-timer off the rush, courtesy of a splendid cross-ice feed from junior winger Scott Allen, the second in a goalmouth scramble. Cameron had four goals as a freshman and five as a sophomore -- always thought there was more in him than that, so we shall see.
On the back end, the Seawolves still lack a top-end D-man, whether that be an offensive force, or as an old blueliner The Blog trusts pointed out, a guy who is an every-shift hammer. Of course, it should be noted that a dominating offensive defenseman is the most elusive find in hockey -- "like unicorns,'' Thomas quipped.
By the way, classy touch on the guest-coaching front -- alums played bench bosses while Thomas and staff watched from the stands. That's called engaging the alums.
Former Seawolves defensemen Mark Filipenko and Matt Williams coached the Whites (which we believe would make them the Golds, in Green & Gold parlance -- man, hockey is so confusing!) to the victory over the Greens, coached by former blueliner Todd Bethard and former winger Jeff Edwards. Not sure what the takeaway is from that coaching showdown -- probably means the next "sodas'' are on Bethard and Edwards.