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Season Preview: Alaska-Anchorage

My choice for 10th in the WCHA is Alaska-Anchorage.

Projected Depth Chart:

LW Chris Tarkir C Charlie Kronschnabel RW Justin Bourne

LW Kevin Clark C Jay Beagle RW Josh Lunden
LW Nick Lowe C Blair Tassone RW Paul Crowder
LW *Deleted C Adam Corrin RW Peter Cartwright
LD Shane Lovdahl RD Mark Smith G Jon Olthuis
LD Chad Anderson RD Luke Beaverson G Nathan Lawson
LD Trevor Hunt RD Nils Backstrom

Strengths:
Nathan Lawson returns in goal. He’ll play well enough to give Anchorage the chance to win a few games this season. Though they lost top recruit Erik Felde to academic ineligibility, coach Dave Shyiak’s first recruiting class was a good one.

Weaknesses:

They return the weakest offense in the league. Last year they scored just 1.81 goals per game in WCHA play. Their leading scorer from last season returns, but that is defenseman Mark Smith, who only tallied 15 points. The talent-level at UAA still isn’t quite on par with the rest of the WCHA.

Overall:

It’s likely going to be another rough season for Alaska-Anchorage. When Dave Shyiak took over for coach John Hill, the cupboard was pretty much bare. It didn’t help that some of Hill’s better recruits left the program after last season. But Shyiak is bringing in some talented young players, and in a few years, he should have the program turned around and headed in the right direction.

Key Player:
Charlie Kronschnabel. Kronschnabel scored 9 goals in each of his first two seasons at Anchorage, before dropping down to four goals last season. If he could score 10-15 goals this season, he could help make Anchorage’s first line a legitimate threat. If defenseman Mark Smith leads the team in scoring again, the Seawolves are in big trouble.

Breakout Player: Luke Beaverson. Beaverson was more known for infamously being dropped by North Dakota coach Dean Blais and ending up at Anchorage. But last season, Beaverson showed flashes of why Blais recruited him in the first place. He’s a big defenseman that should see a lot of ice time this season, and deserves respect as one of the better defensive defenseman in the league.

Bellwether:
For a last place team, Anchorage’s defensive numbers weren’t that awful. It was the offensive numbers that were brutal. If they could average around 2.50 goals per game, they might not finish in last place.

Question Marks

Will Anchorage make improvements in coach Dave Shyiak’s second year on the job? Will losing players to transfer this offseason hurt the team, or will it help improve the attitude of the team?

Did You Know


The city of Anchorage ran into controversy last year when a local man tried to set up a nuclear cyclotron in his home. http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/rogueagent/timeline.html

The city of Anchorage makes up more than 40% of Alaska’s population

The Anchorage band 36 Crazyfists is the only band from Alaska that is currently signed to a recording contract.

If You Go There:

You Have to Eat At:
Again, I don’t know too much about the Anchorage area. It seems like there’s a lot of great seafood restaurants in the city, though, which to be honest, isn’t something you find a lot of in the middle of Minnesota.

You Have to Stop At: In the winter, there are a couple places around the town which offer dog-sledding, which again, you don’t see a lot of in the middle of Minnesota.

Bonus Travel Info/Hilarity:
This is from the city of Anchorage's FAQs
Do I need a passport to get to Alaska?
No. Alaska is in the United States of America. Alaska was the 49th state to enter the union, earning statehood in 1959. We use U.S. currency, and electrical outlets are the same as everywhere else in the U.S. (110 volts, 60 AC)