UAA hockey splits first conference games

Austin Azurdia shoots the puck at UAF goaltender Sean Cahill during the 2014-15 season. Photo credit: Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics

After previously competing in four games for the regular season, the UAA hockey team made their conference debut last weekend, Nov. 3-4. UAA traveled to Michigan for back-to-back games against Lake Superior State.

Prior to the weekend duel, both teams had a total of five loses for the season, with Lake Superior State only leading the Seawolves by one win. However, Lake Superior got a head start with their Western Collegiate Hockey Association games, with one more than UAA.

Post-games, both the Seawolves and Lake Superior sit near the bottom of the standings of WCHA standings at eighth and seventh, respectively. At the top of the standings is Bowling Green State University, with three conference wins and one conference loss. Right behind them is Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.

The Seawolves got off to an exceptionally slow start on Friday. The first period resulted in no points made by either team. It wasn’t until the last 30 seconds of the second period that UAA took over. Junior forward Nicolas Erb-Ekholm used a power play to score the first UAA goal of the night and his second goal of the season.

Erb-Ekholm’s goal wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Nathan and Jonah Renouf assisting the play.

The Seawolves maintained their lead for the majority of the second period until Lake Superior’s Anthony Nellis scored at nearly 17 minutes in the second period, bringing the game to a tie. Not long after, a power-play goal took Lake Superior into the lead, early in the third period.

UAA’s freshman defenseman Cameron Trott scored late in the third period, with the power-play score tying it up for the rest of the third.

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Lake Superior’s Max Humitz scored at 3:38 in the first overtime to overtake the Seawolves, and win the game 3-2.

UAA came back Saturday to seek redemption. After the Game 1 loss, the Seawolves made a comeback with a win of 4-1.

The start of the game resulted in senior forward Tad Kozun being the first to score for the night, barely a minute into the game. His goal served as a rebound from the attempted shot by junior forward Cam Amantea. Tanner Johnson also assisted on the goal.

Similar to the first period of the Friday night game, the second period of Saturday’s game stood at a stand still, without either team making a point.

It wasn’t until just two minutes into the third period that the Seawolves came back strong. Senior forward Austin Azurdia managed to get his first goal of the night that put UAA up 2-0, assisted by defensemen Eric Sinclair and goaltender Olivier Mantha.

For another four minutes, the Seawolves kept their defense up and maintained the 2-0 lead. Six minutes later, Lake Superior’s Jake Hand managed a power play that put the game a 2-1.

Quickly after, junior forward Jeremiah Luedtke and Kozun initiated a set-up for Azurdia to successfully make his second goal of the night. The Seawolves regained their two point lead, and had less than 10 minutes in the game.

Luedtke still managed to put in one more goal before the end of the night to close out the game win with just two minutes remaining.

The win couldn’t have happened without the 34 saves accumulated by senior goaltender Mantha.

With one win and one loss for the weekend, the Seawolves currently sit at a tie for eighth in the conference. UAA hockey will be back in action on Nov. 10 and 11 with away games against Alabama-Huntsville. The following weekend the Seawolves will return home to the Sullivan arena to host back-to-back home games versus Michigan Tech.