Seawolves face off with WCHA top seed

The Seawolves extended their losing streak to four over the Jan. 26-27 weekend at the Sullivan Arena. The team has not won since their home game versus Alabama-Huntsville on Jan. 13.
Jonah Renouf calls to teammates for the puck during Jan. 27’s game against Northern Michigan. Jonah Renouf assisted in Nathan Renouf’s second period goal. Photo credit: Christian Cielo

The Seawolves put up a fight on Jan. 26, managing to accumulate two points, half that of Northern Michigan’s final score. On Jan. 27, the teams finished with a final score of 3-5.

The team and Head Coach Matt Thomas knew it wasn’t going to be an easy weekend but took it as a way to challenge themselves.

“I think we had a good challenge coming in here, with an opportunity to play against a team that is obviously finding ways to win,” Thomas said.

These final scores are a much recognized improvement from last years matchup against Northern Michigan, where the Seawolves lost 1-6 and 0-4 to the Wildcats.

In one game this year, the Seawolves scored more than they did in last year’s meets., Senior forward and new edition Alec Butcher scored both goals on Friday night.

The Seawolves, all together, made drastic improvements, as noted by assistant coach Louis Mass.

“[Attitude] is the thing, especially with having a lot of young guys on the team; it’s a big step for them, learning how to be resilient in the situation they’re in and learning how to power through it,” Mass said.

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However, Butcher’s goals were not accumulated until late in the game when Northern Michigan already had a 2 point lead over the Seawolves. NMU scored quick, only a minute and a half into the first period with a goal from Luke Votlin.

They scored again toward the end of the second period, by Zach Diamantoni.

Their final two points were staggered between UAA’s point accumulations in the third period, with credit going to Troy Loggins and Adam Rockwood. Rockwood scored with only one second remaining in the game on an empty UAA net.

The Seawolves attempted fewer shots, in attempt to keep their defense up to battle NMU’s aggressive offense. UAA managed to accumulate 7, 6 and 7 shots for each period, respectively, finishing with a total of 20 shots on goal.

Brandon Switzer fights for the puck with Northern Michigan’s Robert Fosdick. Photo credit: Christian Cielo

Northern Michigan out-shot the Seawolves with a total of 30 shots by the end of the game.

While NMU focused on their offense, UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha had to be at the top of his game, finishing with 26 saves.

“[In order to keep the morale up] I think you just have to keep working, we have to keep working and working. That’s the only way to get a win. That’s the only way you get those chances,” Mantha said.

The Seawolves initially suffered Saturday evening, with NMU attacking early to pick up a 3-0 lead in the first period. Northern Michigan was able to utilize the Seawolves losses, when freshmen defensemen Aaron McPheters earned a five minute major penalty for interference a minute and a half into the game.

It wasn’t until half-way through the second period that UAA’s offence gained momentum, with 3 goals credited to junior forward Nicolas Erb-Ekholm, sophomore forward Nathan Renouf and Butcher.

“We are trying to find the right set of guys that will have the right attitude going into the night each and every time, we have to have the attitude that they are in our way and we have to play harder than the other team,” Thomas said.

Erb-Ekholm was the first to score at 7:33 in the second period, with an assist from Butcher and Jarrett Brown, to kick off the points for the Seawolves.

Less than five minutes later, the Renouf twins came through. With an assist from Jonah Renouf and Trey deGraaf, Nathan Renouf was able to score around the NMU defense.

Nathan Renouf’s goal was his second goal of the season.

Mantha accumulated a total of 22 saves, ending the night with a 0.818 save percentage.

The Seawolves are heading out of state to play Minnesota State Mankato Feb. 2-3 and will quickly return to the Sullivan Arena to face Lake Superior State Feb. 9-10.