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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Alaska Anchorage Head Coach Dave Shyiak

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET, Alaska Anchorage Head Coach Dave Shyiak pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Seawolves face defending WCHA Champion and 2006 Frozen Four participant North Dakota this coming weekend.

Dave Shyiak

Dave Shyiak is entering his second season as head coach of the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey program in 2006-07.

Introduced as the fourth head coach in program history on June 14, 2005, Shyiak led the Seawolves to a 6-27-3 mark last season, including wins over two-time defending NCAA Champion Denver, 2006 Frozen Four participant North Dakota and instate rival Alaska Fairbanks.

Shyiak earned his first-ever head coaching victory with a 6-3 triumph at home over Rensselaer on Oct. 14, 2005. His first WCHA win also occurred on home ice with a 2-0 blanking of Minnesota Duluth on Nov. 19, 2005.

Under Shyiak's guidance the Seawolves placed 10 student-athletes on the 2005-06 WCHA Academic All-Conference Team.

Prior to coming to UAA, Shyiak was an assistant at his alma mater, Northern Michigan University, for 10 seasons, including three as associate head coach.

At NMU, Shyiak helped the Wildcats to seven 20-win seasons, six Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament berths and one NCAA tournament appearance. NMU was a member of the WCHA during his first three seasons as an assistant.

A co-captain on NMU's 1991 NCAA Championship team, Shyiak also claimed two WCHA Tournament titles (1989 and 1991) and one WCHA regular-season title (1991) as a player. He earned WCHA All-Academic Team accolades in 1988.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Dave won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 14th, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Hello, and welcome to the second of today's CSTV.com "Tuesday @ the Rink Chats." We're joined now by Alaska-Anchorage head coach Dave Shyiak.
Coach Shyiak: Thanks for having me on the "show."

Rob (Lake Bluff, Illinois): How do you think your team fits into the mix this year in the WCHA? With Wisconsin and some other big teams struggling, how do you think your team matches up in the division? And do you think that the WCHA will have another national champion crowned this year?
Coach Shyiak: Well, first of all, I think our team matches up well. I think over the course of the last ten games, we've played some very competitive hockey. I think our record right now indicates we're a .500 team at 4-4-2, but I think we're a win and tie better than that. We've played some quality opponents - Nebraska-Omaha was a team that played in the NCAAs last year - and we ended up tying and winning in a shootout to win the tournament, so I think that gave our team some confidence heading into the Fairbanks weekend. Then, obviously going up against our archrivals, Fairbanks, on the road and coming away with a win and tie is huge for our growth as a team, especially in that building, where we haven't had success in the past.

Dan (Houghton): Coach, you guys took quite a beating in that game at Michigan Tech a couple of weeks ago, but played MTU tougher the next night, and have gotten splits with some close losses in your last two weekends. What has been the key to keeping the team up after that disaster against Tech?
Coach Shyiak: Well, I think that game on Friday was a learning lesson for our team. I think with our success piror to that, we got caught up in our press clippings a little bit. They outplayed us, and certainly deserved that 9-0 win; everything they threw at the net went in. But I think our guys came back and competed and executed our systems the next night, and a bounce or two here or there, and that game could have went either way. But, you've got to give Michigan Tech credit: they're a much better team than they were a year ago, and they found a way to win, even though it was an evenly matched game. Then we had Wisconsin, the defending national champions, and we haven't had success in a lot of years with Wisconsin during the regular season up in Anchorage, and they came in and we played a couple of one-goal games. I thought we outchanced them both nights, and they found a way to win the first night, and we found a way to win the second night. I thought it was a great win against a quality opponent.

Brian (St. Peter, MN): Coach, obviously, you'd always like to come back with four points, but how would you rate this weekend's split at Mankato as far as splits in this league go?
Coach Shyiak: Again, a tough opponent to play on the road. Minneosta State's a team that plays hard and skates well. That building has not been kind to us in many years. The first night was pretty sloppy play by both teams, but what's different from our team a year ago is that we found a way to win in an ugly game like that. The next night, again, it was pretty evenly matched as far as scoring chances for and against. The difference in the outcome of the game was that they won the special teams. Had we been able to score a power-play goal, it would have been a different result: a tie, or possibly a win.

Jack (Anchorage): Having played six WCHA games now, what team have you been the most impressed with? Secondly, what are your thoughts on how the league will shake out as we move along this season? Thanks and good luck the rest of the way.
Coach Shyiak: I guess the team I'm most impressed with- or most improved, if you want to look at it that way - is Michigan Tech. They're a team that competes hard, plays well defensively, and plays 60 minutes with solid goaltending, and as it stands today, they've made their home building very difficult to play in. As far as the rest of the WCHA, it's too early to say, but obviously by their record, Minnesota is ahead of the pack.

James (Anchorage): What kind of goals does the team hope to achieve this season?
Coach Shyiak: I think it's first of all, winning our tournament, the Nye Classic - which we did - winning the Governor's Cup against our archrival, the University of Alaska-*FAIRBANKS*, and lastly, putting ourselves in position for home ice in the playoffs.

John from Anchorage: Coach, Really impressed with your freshmen class this season. Without mentioning names, cause you can not, how many players are you looking to bring in next season and what positions? Thanks and good luck against North Dakota.
Coach Shyiak: To this point, we've brought in a lot of freshmen that addressed some of our needs from a year ago. I think we've got a mixture of good size, skating and ability to generate offense. As far as next year's class, anywhere from five to seven.

Mark (Talkeetna, AK): How much momentum do you think you got from your early success in the Nye and the Governor's Cup games heading into the conference schedule? Do you think it has affected the way you've played in the WCHA so far?
Coach Shyiak: Yeah, I think it has. Whenever you have success, you start to have confidence and belief in what you're trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish. I think our guys are doing a good job with our team commitment. We've got good team cohesion and leadership, and I think that's what's helped us in winning some of these tight hockey games.

Dave: With all the offseason departures, is this a bigger year for teams that haven't had as much WCHA success before?
Coach Shyiak: I guess there's yes and no to that. I think the new NHL trend now is that you're going to see more top players leave after their freshman and sophomore years, but at the same time, those types of programs are preparing ahead of time for the loss of those players, so they're getting quality blue-chip recruits in place of them. But it may help the teams that haven't had previous success that do not lose players to early departures to possibly level the playing field somewhat.

Jack (Grand Forks): How do you think North Dakota's having had a week off will affect this weekend's matchup?
Coach Shyiak: I don't know. Some teams respond a little bit different to that. Sometimes it gives teams the opportunity to heal up and have their best roster available for the upcoming opponent, or it might take a period, period and a half to get the rust off their game. But, at the end of the day, I don't think it'll affect the outcome of the weekend.

Alex: Overall, what do you think the keys are to this weekend's series?
Coach Shyiak: I think we have to be good on special teams, and we have to find a way to contain their top players - obviously, Toews, Oshie and Duncan - and we have to counter back to continue to play our aggressive, physical game. Along with that, goaltending will be a key.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Shyiak today.
Coach Shyiak: Thanks for having me, and I enjoy being on here.
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Keep checking back for info on next week's guests.

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