ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves' comeback came up short as the Wisconsin Badgers took Game 1 of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with a 5-3 win at the Sullivan Arena in front of 2,268 fans on Friday night.
The Badgers (5-7-5, 3-5-5 WCHA) opened the scoring with two goals in the first before the Seawolves (3-10-4, 1-9-3 WCHA) converted in the second period to cut the lead in half. Wisconsin took a 4-1 advantage in the third before UAA responded with two of their own. The Badgers ended the game with an empty-netter.
The Badgers, who sport the league's second-best defense, struck first and early with two even-strength tallies in the opening stanza. Captain John Ramage put UW on the board at the 2:56 mark when he capitalized on his own rebound after cutting in front of the net. Joseph LaBate extended the lead with a 2-on-1 pass from Michael Mersch at 8:17.
The Seawolves cut the deficit in half with a drop pass from senior Jordan Kwas to junior Matt Bailey, who then sent a wrister from the center of the zone for his third of the season. Sophomore Kory Roy collected the second assist on the play.
Wisconsin seemingly took control with back-to-back goals at 6:29 and 7:34 by Mersh and Tyler Barnes, respectively, for a 4-1 lead, but the Seawolves didn't give up, retaliating with two of their own - one on the power play and one at even strength.
Following a flurry in the net, Kwas produced his second of the season with help from freshman Blake Tatchell and sophomore Derek Docken at 11:04 - his team-leading third man-advantage strike. Kwas then brought UAA within one at 12:19, with the helpers going to Bailey and Roy. With the assist, Bailey has a team-high-tying 11 points, while the two helpers give Roy his first multi-point game.
With a minute remaining, UAA pulled netminder Chris Kamal for the extra attacker, but the Badgers broke away from the Seawolf defense for the empty-netter at 19:29.
Kamal, from Alpharetta, Ga., made 22 saves in the loss and dropped his season record to 2-7-0, while Landon Petersen (26 saves), a former goaltender for the Alaska Avalanche, improved to 3-2-2.
After being outshot, 12-7 in the first 20 minutes, the Seawolves won the battle of the shots in the second, 10-6 and third, 12-9, for a 29-27 advantage - just the third time UAA has outshot an opponent this season.
The teams will reunite tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. AST at the Sullivan Arena.