Incoming class set for Seawolf hockey
The class with be comprised of 8 individuals - four defensemen, three forwards and one goaltender - with four hailing from Canada, three from Anchorage and one from Pennsylvania. Joining the Seawolf squad are rookies Blake Leask, Ben Matthews, Michael Matyas, Bobby Murphy, Austin Sevalrud, Blake Tatchell, Hayden Trupp and Chris Williams.
"Overall, I think this class will give us good competition at every position," said Shyiak, "This year's freshmen class will give us a little more speed up front and we think our back end will be more mobile. It is always a big transition to college hockey in the WCHA and we think this group has an opportunity to help us at both ends of the rink."
Wearing No. 22 for the Seawolves as a defenseman will be Leask, a local of Edmonton, Alberta. Prior to coming to UAA, he dressed with the AJHL's Bonnyville Pontiacs for four seasons, receiving the league's Top Defenseman honor for the 2011-12 slate. Leask led the league's defensemen in scoring with 49 points and was second overall in team. Overall the 5-9, 170-pounder furnished 19 goals and 67 assists for 86 points in 172 games played.
"Blake is the type of defenseman that can make plays on the rush and was very good on the power play last year in Juniors," said Shyiak, "He skates very well and we think he can help us manufacture some offense from the backend."
One of three Anchorage natives to don the Green & Gold for the freshman class is No. 6 Matthews. At 6-3, 195 pounds, Matthews comes to UAA after dressing at captain for the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL in 2011-12, producing 6-17-23 totals in 60 games played. Prior to last season, Matthews, a defenseman, suited up with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL for two seasons from 2009-11, dressing in 107 games and registering 8-23-31 totals.
"Ben is a big strong defender who handles the puck very well," said Shyiak, "He has a good shot and will help stabilize the backend."
The lone netminder in the incoming class is Matyas, who will sport No. 31 in the crease. A 6-3, 190-pounder from Calgary, Alberta, Matyas joins the Seawolves after skating with the Calgary Canucks of the AJHL for one season. He suited up in 49 games, posting 3.06 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and a 17-27-3 record, earning him the team's MVP honor.
"Michael is a tall, lanky goaltender that is technically sounds," said Shyiak, "He has an excelled year in Calgary and he will provide good competition in net."
Staying in his home state is forward, No. 19 Murphy, after playing with the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL for two seasons from 2010-12. Murphy, standing at 5-10 and weighing 170, suited up in 102 games for Kenai, registering 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 points. Prior to suiting up with the Brown Bears, he played for the Topeka Roadrunners from 2008-10, dressing in seven games.
"Bobby is a forward that skates well and is a strong competitor," said Shyiak, "He has good play-making ability and will give us some depth up front."
Sporting No. 5 for UAA is Sevalrud, who hails from Calgary, Alberta. A 6-1, 205-pound defenseman, Sevalrud played for three teams in the AJHL from 2008-12. He most recently dressed with the Spruce Grove Saints in 2011-12, posting 3-19-22 totals in 43 regular season games and two assists in 11 playoff games. He also suited up for the Calgary Mustangs in 2010-11 and the Camrose Kodiaks 2008-10.
"Austin is a big, strong defender that has good defensive instincts," said Shyiak, "He keeps his game simple and makes a good first pass."
A local of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Tatchell will wear No. 9 for the Seawolves after competing for the SJHL's Battlefords North Stars from 2009-12. The 5-10, 185-pound forward dressed in 57 games in 2011-12, producing 42 goals and 44 helpers, while helping his team to the playoffs. Tatchell's numbers earned him the league's MVP after finishing second overall in scoring and he was a finalist for the RBC Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year Award.
"Blake has a great year in Juniors last season," said Shyiak, "He brings very good offensive capabilities and we are looking for him to help add some goal production to our lineup."
Another Anchorage native, Trupp will skate in front of his home crowd wearing No. 20 after spending 2011-12 with the Alexandria Blizzard of the NAHL. Trupp, a 5-9, 165-pound forward, dressed in 53 games with the Blizzard, posting seven goals and a team-high 30 assists, including two game-winning goals. Prior to joining the Blizzard, he played with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL in 2010-11 and for the Penticton Vees and Penticton Lakers in 2009-10.
"Hayden plays with a lot of energy and play hard every shift," said Shyiak, "He can be creative with the puck and will also provide some depth at the forward position."
Coming to UAA from Pottstown, Pa., is Williams, who will wear No. 37 on the blueline. Williams dressed for two seasons with the Powell River Kings of the BCHL from 2010-12 after playing for two seasons with the Hamilton Red Wings of the OJHL. Last season the 6-2, 210-pounder suited up in 115 games, producing 12 goals and 44 assists for 56 points.
"Chris is a strong defender that has excellent skating ability," said Shyiak, "He brings a physical element to the game and does very well on the penalty kill."
The incoming class will get to prove their worth starting on Sept. 24 for the opening day of practice, before the Seawolves lace up their skates for the exhibition game against the University of Regina at 7:07 p.m. on Oct. 6 in Eagle River. The regular season will commence on Oct. 12-13 with the annual Kendall Hockey Classic.
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