There has been no shortage of questions surrounding this years’ Seawolves since they first took the ice last month.
Will they rebound from last season? How quickly will the freshmen mesh with the rest of the team? Can the Seawolves score consistently? Will Oliver Mantha be everything he was last season, i.e., a brick wall?
Following the Seawolves (5-2-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) 4-2 upset over No. 12 Bowling Green (3-2-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) Saturday, it seems a number of those questions could be put to rest. Freshmen Cam Amantea, Mason Mitchell, Jeremiah Luedtke, and Nicolas Erb-Ekholm all had points in the home win. As for Mantha, the sophomore goaltender had 22 saves, 15 of which came in the first two periods with the Falcons trying to claw away at the Seawolves lead.
The scorekeeper was put to work with only 1:34 gone in the first period. That’s when Seawolf forward Blake Tatchell, skating to his right at the top of the Falcon’s zone, shot a difficult puck across his body. The biscuit whisked by several defenders before tucking just inside the right goal post. It was the only shot on goal the Seawolves could generate until the later stages of the period. The Falcons would even the score at 17:25 in the first. The visitors cycled the puck up to defenseman Chris Pohlkamp whose shot deflected off a player and into the net. UAA would answer right back. After a Falcon turnover caused by the nifty stick work of Tatchell, Amantea skated in on a breakaway. Falcon goalie Tommy Burke stopped Amantea’s first shot, but the rebound hung in the air just long enough for Amantea to hit his rebound into the net. It was the Calgary-native’s first goal in a Seawolf uniform.
The Seawolves picked up where they left off to start the second period. Two Falcon interference penalties, just 1:22 apart from each other, gave the Seawolves nearly four minutes on the power play. Seconds after the Falcon’s got their first player out the penalty box at 6:23, Chase Van Allen beat Burke stick-side from the top of the slot to make it a 3-1 hockey game. UAA’s Tad Kozun added another goal at 18:16 of the period off a 2-on-1 rush with a nice assist by his line mate Austin Azurdia.
The third period saw the Falcons slowly lose steam and its hopes of a comeback. It was also the first time Bowling Green’s back-up goalie Chris Nell would see time in net. The final goal of the game came in the closing minutes of the game as Falcon defenseman Sean Walker scored his first goal of the season.
The following day Falcon’s goaltender Chris Nell would get the start in net. It was a smart decision by Bowling Green’s coaching staff – Nell would go on to shut out the Seawolves, who after falling down two goals midway through the game, could not recover. With the loss, the Seawolves move into a three team tie for third place in the WCHA standings. UAA is currently in a bye week and will return to the Sullivan Arena on November 13-14 to face Ferris State.