Christmas came early for Seawolf hockey fans. Three weeks early to be exact.
The Seawolves swept the No. 17 Michigan Tech Huskies last Friday and Saturday in Houghton, Michigan, winning 3-2 on both nights. UAA now improves to 5-4-1 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play heading into Part I of the Governor’s Cup this weekend at home. The wins were easily the biggest surprise of week nine of the WCHA season, a weekend in which all 10 teams were in action; that’s because the two clubs’ seasons were going in opposite directions as of late. The Seawolves hadn’t won a game in the last two weeks, whereas the Huskies hadn’t lost in that amount of time.
“Tonight feels even better,” UAA coach Matt Thomas said after Saturday’s win.
Thomas knew a higher level of play was needed Saturday if they expected the same outcome from the night before. That’s just what he got. After putting only 18 shots on Michigan Tech’s Jamie Phillips Friday, UAA placed 27 on net Saturday against backup net minder Matt Wintjes.
“We needed to be faster team off the rush and did that,” Thomas said.
The Seawolves fell down by a goal Saturday when Husky left wing Brett Boeing scored his first on the season just six minutes into the game. The home team maintained its one goal advantage through the rest of the first period. Seawolf Jarrett Brown evened up the score in the second, after a scrum formed around Wintjes who coughed up a rebound that Brown cashed in on. The Seawolves dodged a bullet later in the period — killing off a short 5-on-3 Husky power play after Matt Anholt was called for delay of game while on the penalty kill himself.
The Seawolves revisited the penalty box later in the period, and this time the Huskies used the most of the opportunity to take the lead. Tyler Heinonen was in the right place at the right time to put Michigan Tech up. Alex Petan’s shot bounced off Mantha’s leg pad within reach of Heinonen who stood off the right post.
The Seawolves came out firing in the third period — first, it was defenseman Chase Van Allen’s turn. Next, it was Brad Duwe’s, who stripped the puck from a Husky player deep in their own before firing one over Wintjes shoulder and all but sealing the come-from-behind win.