ANCHORAGE – A two-goal game from Zen Knutson gave the Minnesota State Mavericks the series split with Alaska Anchorage, shutting out the Seawolves, 5-0, in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game on Saturday night.
The Seawolves (6-17-5, 5-12-5 WCHA) continue to struggle on Saturday’s, falling to 1-10-3, while they are 5-7-2 on Fridays after winning yesterday night, 4-3. With tonight’s loss, UAA falls to last in the WCHA after Northern Michigan picked up its second win against Bowling Green, sweeping the Falcons.
The Mavericks opened the scoring in the first stanza with a pair of goals. Picking up his first of the night was junior Zeb Knutson at 6:45 when he found himself on a breakaway down the left side before beating netminder Olivier Mantha with a backhander. Also coming off the rush, junior Brad McClure fired a wrister top-shelf at 15:34 to make it a 2-0 game.
Meanwhile, Knutson collected his second at 11:33 of the middle frame following the Seawolves buzzing around the Maverick zone. Senior Michael Huntebrinker created a UAA turnover and capitalized on it when he found Knutson backdoor. Huntebrinker also assisted on Knutson’s first tally of the night.
With 7:20 left in the third, bench boss Matt Thomas opted to pull Mantha for the extra attacker when the Seawolves’ were heading to the power play. The gamble didn’t pay off, giving the Maverick’s the empty-net, shorthanded strike, 30 seconds later. The Mavericks final tally came at 17:38, courtesy of Huntebrinker.
A night after making 40 saves, Mantha stopped 22 shots, while junior goaltender Aaron Nelson turned aside 13 shots and earned the shutout. MSU won the battle of the shots, 27-13.
With six regular-season games remaining, the Seawolves head to the road for back-to-back series at Lake Superior State (Feb. 10-11) and Ferris State (Feb. 17-18). UAA will then return to host in-state rival Alaska Fairbanks, Feb. 24-25, in the final games of the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup. The weekend will double as ‘Scout Weekend’, giving all Boy’s and Girl’s Scouts free entry into the games with uniform on.