Coach Hill can't complain about a lack of effort anymore. Well, almost.
The University of Alaska Anchorage men's hockey team turned the momentum of a 2-2 tie Nov. 2 into a 5-4 overtime win Nov. 3.
Although the hard play evidenced in the first and second periods against the University of Minnesota Duluth in the first game weren't there in the rematch, the Seawolves made up for it in the third period of the series-closing game. They climbed back from a 4-2 deficit to force O.T. and win it on Petr Chytka's second goal of the game 3:46 into the extra frame.
UAA trailed 1-0 in the first before Chytka's first goal 15:34 into the frame. Erik Lawson and Vladimir Novak assisted on the tally, which saw UAA capitalize on the power play for the first time in 28 chances.
The Bulldogs came back with bite to start the second, stoning UAA's offense early and fighting off two penalties before retaking the lead 10:56 in. Tom Nelson's goal beat UAA goalie Kevin Reiter in front of the net, just the second shot on goal for Duluth in the period.
UAA's power play came alive again as Neil Pertuic's slashing minor allowed John Hopson to wrist it past Adam Coole to force a 2-2 tie heading into the third.
Duluth opened the third period scoring 4:48 in, getting a power play goal from Mark Carlson to push the Seawolves into a scramble. 1:26 later, Andy Reierson scored off a UAA turnover to push the `Wolves in a 4-2 hole.
That's when the action picked up.
“We were down two goals… we kept working hard, had a few more opportunities and the guys stepped up and performed,” said UAA winger Morgan Roach.
Cory Hessler, already with an assist on Cygan's goal, was the hero after taking a questionable penalty in the third period of the teams 2-2 tie. Hessler jammed the puck in with 10 seconds left as UAA crashed the net, to tie it and send it to extra time.
In the overtime, Chytka's game-winner gave UAA it's first win since beating Northeastern to open the Nye Frontier Classic Oct. 12.
The Seawolves record rose to 2-4-1 overall with the victory, 1-2-1 in the WCHA with three points.
Reiter, getting his first collegiate victory, had a hard time putting the win into words.
“It's the best way to get it, I was waiting for my time to come, it did and I came out and performed,” he said.
UAA opened the series Nov. 2 with a lackluster effort for the fifth straight game. They outshot the Bulldogs32-17 but took 11 penalties for 22 minutes while going 0-3 on the power play.
All things that Coach John Hill looked to correct.
“We were quite lucky to get a tie out of the game frankly,” he said. “we had good scoring opportunities, but when you have to sit guys for taking penalties it hurts the team and our scoring ability.”
His decision to start Reiter despite only 15 saves in the first game turned out to be oddly prescient, as the junior netminder stopped 20 Bulldogs shots, including all three shots in the overtime.
UAA has the week off before saying hello to the WCHA leading Saint Cloud State University Bulldogs Nov. 16-17 at the Sullivan arena.