In the first series of the long Alaskan road trip, the Huskies faced the Seawolves of Alaska – Anchorage at Sullivan Arena. Lopsided shot counts on both nights had the Seawolves relying on the steady presence of goalie Olivier Mantha (G, Sr. – UAA) to tie both nights. The extra WCHA points would also fall to the home team, with the Seawolves winning the long shootout on Friday and scoring in three-on-three double overtime on Saturday.

Friday Night

The action started quickly with a boarding call on Alex Jackstadt (F, Jr. – UAA) at 0:36. The Huskies would capitalize on the power play with a one-timer from Thomas Beretta (F, So.) going between Mantha’s legs to open the scoring up. A checking from behind call at 8:01 on Joel L’Esperance (F, Sr.) gave the Seawolves a five minute power play in addition to ending L’Esperance’s night, but the Tech penalty kill was able to hold them off. A bad turnover at the blue line lead to a Anchorage goal at 15:35 from Austin Azurdia (F, Sr. – UAA) as he beat Packy Munson (G, Jr.) low through the five-hole. A Jordan Xavier (F, Fr. – UAA) hold at 16:58 gave MTU another chance on the power play, but this time they failed to convert. Jarret Brown (D, Sr. – UAA) also ended his night early with a five minute checking from behind call at 19:43. Shots in the first were heavily tilted toward the Huskies at 14-4.

The Seawolves started the second period off by killing the remainder of the five minute major. A bad turnover at the 9:00 minute mark gave the Seawolves a open chance on the net, but Munson was able to keep the score even. Munson stood tall against another Seawolf flurry around 15:30 to hold the game tied. The second period of the Friday game was the only period on the weekend that the Seawolves lead in shots, going 8-5 in their favor.

Each team ended up with chances on the power play in the third, but neither was able to take advantage. An immediate change for the Huskies at 0:20 into the period after an Aaron McPheters (D, Fr. – UAA) slash gave the Huskies the first change. The Seawolves got a turn at 7:00 after a Justin Misiak (F, Fr.) boarding call. Azurida gave Tech another shot at 18:53 with a hold, but again, the Huskies would fail to score. Shots were absolutely dominated by Tech in the 3rd with Munson only seeing a single shot, a 15-1 advantage to the Huskies.

Tech would start the OT with 53 seconds of power play, but once again Mantha shut down any opportunity the Huskies had. The same would continue on to the three on three, Mantha couldn’t be beat and the game moved to the shootout to decide the final WCHA point. The fifth shooter for UAA, Corey Renwick (F, So. – UAA) would beat Munson high and the Huskies were not able to beat Mantha again giving the Seawolves the shoot out win.

With 37 shots faced, Mantha was once again able to stop the Huskies from taking three points in Anchorage. The penalty kill was solid, not giving up anything on two opportunites, but the power play once again was a bit of a let down at only 20 percent on the night. The Huskies simply need to convert more of the odd man chances, especially againist a goalie like Mantha.

Saturday Night

Robbie Beydoun started for his second time on Saturday and the Huskies wasted little time in giving him some goal support in the first. Alex Gillies (F, Sr.) found a way to beat Mantha with the redirect off a Mitch Reinke (D, So.) shot from the outside at at 2:44. Anchorage would quickly respond with Eric Sinclair (D, Fr. – UAA) beating Beydoun just after the end of four on four play. The Huskies would have two power play chances in the middle of the period, but once again couldn’t beat Mantha. The Seawolves scored again at 17:21 after a rebound found its way to Jonah Renouf after a scramble in front of the net. The period would end on a wicked slash from Zac Masson (F, Fr. – UAA) on Mitch Meek (D, Fr.) at 19:45 resulting in a five minute major that would carry into the second period. Shots were narrowly in Tech’s favor at 8-6.

Even with the major penalty, the Huskies wouldn’t score on Mantha again in the second. A second power play came at 5:42 following a Cam Amantea (F, Jr. – UAA) roughing call, but again Mantha stood tall. An Alex Smith (F, So.) cross check put the Seawolves up a man at 10:18, but the penalty kill was successful following a few great saves from Beydoun. His night would end early, however, following a rebound goal by Jeremiah Luedtke (F, Jr. – UAA) at 15:14. Munson would take over in net after the Huskies had given up two more power plays to end the second. Shots would end with the Huskies up 12-6.

After killing the remainder of the penalty to Greyson Reitmeier (F, Fr.) from the second, the Huskies would find themselves on the man advantage at 3:20 following an Azurdia boarding call. Dane Birks (D, Jr.) would beat Mantha from the top of the circles to bring the game to within one at the 5:00 minute mark. Tech would kill two more penalties in the middle of the period to L’Esperance and Beretta. At 16:10 Smith would bury a Jake Jackson (F, Jr.) cross ice pass to tie the game up. Shots were 15-11 to the Huskies in the third.

The Huskies would dominate the scoring chances in the overtime period with shots 5-1 in their favor, but Mantha would stop every one. The three-on-three double overtime period was mostly played in the Seawolves’ end, but Trey deGraaf (F, Fr. – UAA) would take advantage of a failed poke check by Munson to give the Seawolves the extra WCHA point.

Once again, the Huskies failed to take advantage of a five minute major, but Mantha stood on his head once again as Tech had the majority of the quality chances in the game. The penalty kill was a hundred percent with five kills, a welcome stat to see.

Weekend Three Stars

  1. Olivier Mantha – Save after save after save on the weekend. There’s no way UAA stays in either game without him.
  2. Dane Birks – One of the few to solve Mantha without a redirect on the weekend. Goal and an Assist
  3. Alex Smith – The other to beat Mantha cleanly – salvaged the point on Saturday with the late goal

Play of the Weekend.

Mantha’s glove save on Friday.

Around the WCHA

Bowling Green @ Minnesota State (5)

Mavericks dominate Friday 6-1 and the Falcons force a split 4-1 on Saturday

Northern Michigan (20) @ Alaska

Another split as the ‘Cats win Friday 5-3 and then drop Saturday 4-1 to the Nanooks.

Lake State @ Alamaba – Huntsville

Lakers start with a 3-1 win and the Chargers come back the win Saturday 5-3 for yet another split.

Ferris State home and home with Michigan State

Another Non-conference disappointment for the WCHA as the Bulldogs were swept on the weekend 3-2 and 3-1

Bemidji State was on a bye.

Feature Image courtesy of Bethlyn Cummings