UAA struggles return with pair of home losses to North Dakota

The UAA Seawolves ran into a band saw this past weekend and it has left them reeling once again searching for answers.

North Dakota used a pair of three-goal wins over the Seawolves at the Sullivan Arena to continue their recent return to winning form. While their winning streak grew to four straight and propelled them into a tie for fourth place in the WCHA, the host Seawolves remain in a tie for eleventh place with Minnesota State at five points in 12 league games.

The Fighting Sioux handed UAA a 5-2 defeat on Dec. 2 on the wings of strong special teams play. UND went 3 for 6 on the power play while only allowing UAA to convert on one of their seven opportunities in the game.

“We just didn’t have a good enough start,” said senior defenseman Brad Gorham. “The last few games, last few weeks, we’ve had some bad starts and it has cost us games.”

UND did their damage in the first 10 minutes of the game, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead. UAA Head Coach Dave Shyiak used a timeout and pulled sophomore goalie Rob Gunderson in favor of sophomore Chris Kamal. Gunderson, who didn’t get much help in front of him, stopped six of the nine shots he faced.

“We didn’t come out the way we should’ve and we didn’t help Gundy back there it all,” said UAA senior forward Curtis Leinweber. “He made some big saves in the ten or so minutes he was in there for us.”

UAA was able to get onto the board with a put back goal from Scott Warner at 12:45 to make it a 3-1 game. The junior defenseman was able to sneak down low in the zone and deposit a rebound past UND senior goalie Brad Eidsness on the power play.

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The Sioux regained the three-goal advantage on a power play of their own in the second. The goal was looked at for over five minutes by the referees to see if the puck was kicked into the net. The call on the ice would stand as a goal however.

UND’s leading scorer, Brock Nelson, scored his second power play goal on the night at 10:12 of the third period to put the game out of reach.

The ‘Wolves got a bit of consolation when senior Curtis Leinweber was able to score his fourth goal in three games off consecutive slick passes from Gorham and freshman Eric Scheid.

“I just think I’m getting lucky with being in the right place at the right time. All I did was pick up the trash on that one,” Leinweber said. “I’m not looking too much into it other than if we can get some greasy goals, we’ll take it.”

In the rematch on Dec. 3, the team did get off to a better start and used a power-play equalizer from freshman forward Sam Mellor off a feed from fellow freshman forward, Scott Allen. Also assisting on the goal was sophomore junior Jordan Kwas.

However, it was another letdown, this time coming in the second period, that would deliver the final blow to the ‘Wolves.

UND senior defenseman Ben Blood, junior forward Danny Kristo and Nelson all pumped in goals in the second period to go up 4-1.

“It happens at any level: if we give them time, they’ll hurt us.” Leinweber said. “It’s the same thing if anyone gives us time, the same thing will happen to them.”

Nelson, a sophomore forward, would finish the weekend with four goals and an assist on the weekend to serve as the main source of Sioux offense.

The pair of home losses comes on the heels of UAA going 2-1-1 in their prior four games.

“We just need to get back to the basics,” Gorham said. “We need to stick to the gameplan the whole game and can’t come out and have those bad starts.

“It is going to kill us every time.”