With two seniors scratched from the Saturday’s lineup sheet, the Seawolves turned to what remained of its senior class — the Blake’s — to lead them against the University of Alabama Huntsville.
Blake Tatchell scored, Blake Leask and his fellow defensemen played lights-out defense and UAA defeated UAH 4-3 to remain in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff hunt.
“To lose the way we lost last night was a real heartbreaker for our guys,” said UAA bench boss Matt Thomas of Friday’s game. “I don’t even know if it should have been a one goal game to be honest with you, but it’s good to learn how to win one goal games.”
Similar to the night before, it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Chargers Regan Soquila fired a shot past the blocker of Olivier Mantha to give the Chargers an early lead at 7:07 of the first period.
However, unlike the night before, the Seawolves wasted no time in putting a goal up themselves.
Freshman Sean MacTavish hit an open Brad Duwe with a puck near the Chargers left faceoff dot. UAH goalie Matt Larose appeared to square up to Duwe, but the junior’s wrist shot found the twine anyway.
“To be honest, our line should have scored probably five or six more goals, but that’s how it goes on any given night,” said forward Anthony Conti, who also assisted on Duwe’s goal.
Fans would get out their seats once more before as UAA mounted a two-goal lead with less than two minutes left in the period.
This time, Tad Kozun, UAA’s most consistent goal-scorer this season, shot a puck through the wickets of Larose.
The Seawolves came out in the second period hungry for more goals. Tatchell temporarily satisfied that hunger when he scored on his own rebound in front of a sprawling Larose.
The Chargers did not quit fighting though, and Tyler Paulsen’s quick stick at 12:36 of the second period beat Mantha, bringing his team within a goal. Max McHugh’s backhand pass deflected off the left skate of team mate Jetlan Houcher that went straight to Paulsen.
Jarrett Brown scored for the Seawolves in the third period to help UAA regain a two-goal lead. Once again, the Chargers answered in the same period. Soquila redirected a shot in the slot off a shot from defenseman Kurt Gosselin, giving him his second goal of the night.
The Chargers had a couple more opportunities to knot the game at four, but Olivier Mantha blocked them all allowing the Seawolves to win 4-3. The standout sophomore was only forced to make nine saves total in the game.
The teams traded shoves and a few punches after the final whistle of the third period but shook hands moments later at center ice as is the custom for the end of Saturday games.
“It’s two teams that are fighting to stay in the playoff picture,” Thomas said. “Both teams know how much it matters.”
The Seawolves enter the final month of the regular season with next weekend’s games in Marquette, Michigan against the Northern Michigan Wildcats. The Seawolves are tied for sixth place in the WCHA with Lake Superior State. Ahead of the Seawolves and Lakers in a tie for fifth place, with 18 points, are the Wildcats and Bemidji State. Only the top-8 teams qualify for postseason play in the WCHA.