Upset bid at Minnesota falls short
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves were under six minutes away from defeating the No. 1-ranked Golden Gophers on the road when Minnesota responded with two power-play goals late in the third to wrest a 4-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association win on Friday evening.
After trailing 2-1 at the second intermission, the Seawolves used goals by senior Daniel Naslund and sophomore Scott Allen for a 3-2 advantage with 5:47 to go. The momentum was short-lived as senior Tyler Currier was whistled for a 5-minute major for checking from behind, bestowing the fourth-best power-play team in the country a 5-on-4 advantage for the remainder of the game, for which they exploited.
The game ended with momentum in the Gophers favor, but commenced the exact opposite.
Dressing in his seventh game as a forward, junior Quinn Sproule gave the Seawolves the opening tally with a wrap-around, five-hole attack at 5:17. Sproule broke free from the defenders behind the net following a shot from defenseman Austin Coldwell from the point and furnished UAA's first first-goal strike since Dec. 7 against Minnesota State.
The Seawolves, who outshot the Gophers 6-0 prior to the tally, kept the lead into the first intermission before Minnesota responded in the second. After outshooting UM, 12-8 in the first, the Gophers came back in the second with a 10-3 advantage.
Minnesota knotted the game with a deflected shot by sophomore Kyle Rau on the man advantage, before sophomore Christian Isackson capitalized on a UAA turnover in the offensive zone and found junior Nick Bjugstad for the one-goal lead headed into the locker room.
The Seawolves, who started the third period on the penalty kill and stopped Minnesota on 3-of-6 man advantages, received some qualify chances in the final frame before Naslund netted his third of the season with a one-timer from the left circle at 10:37.
Just three minutes and 36 seconds later, Allen broke his six-game goalless drought with a wrister from freshman Blake Tatchell, giving the Seawolves the 3-2 lead at 14:13.
Following the penalty on Currier, Bjugstad furnished his second of the game and team-leading 12th of the season at 16:49, before Ben Marshall was credited with the game-winning goal at 19:09.
After 60 minutes of play, the Gophers led the battle of the shots, 30-20, including a 12-5 edge in the third. Junior netminder Rob Gunderson (1-5-4) registered 26 saves in the loss, while Adam Wilcox (14-2-3) made 17 stops.
The win gives Minnesota a four-game winning streak, while the one-goal win tonight was the closest the Gophers have come to losing in that span.
The Seawolves and the Gophers will reunite tomorrow evening with the game scheduled to commence at 4:07 p.m. AST. The game can be viewed live on GCI Channel 1, Fox Sports North or heard live on KTZN 550 AM.