In a game both teams were counting on to break WCHA winless streaks, it was Michigan Tech that started the new year right by convincingly defeating Alaska-Anchorage 4-0 Friday night.
After a scoreless first period, the Huskies tallied two early power-play goals in the second and cushioned the lead on two full-strength goals in the third.
The first goal came at 2:03 of the second period, from Tech captain Brett Engelhardt off of a rebound from the post during a pileup in front of the netminder Kevin Reiter. The second came at 6:26 when Frank Werner deflected a long blueline slap from Justin Brown.
Third-period goals for the Huskies were scored by Colin Murphy and Bryan Perez. With assists on both power-play goals, Perez recorded a three-point evening.
UAA, in the meantime, struggled to break out of its own zone and put shots on net, helping Tech netminder Cam Ellsworth to an easy shutout.
Ellsworth faced few quality shots from the Seawolves but, in a save worthy of any highlight film, turned away a point-blank shot from UAA’s Curtis Glencross in the second period on his way to the shutout.
After describing the Huskies as “hungrier” and more “enthusiastic”, UAA coach John Hill stated that the game “was our poorest performance at home this season.”
In the face of the Seawolves’ 16-game winless streak, said Hill, “we need to find passion for the game of hockey again.”
In addition to on-ice issues, Hill mentioned that the rolling suspension of 13 UAA players announced Friday — for secondary NCAA infractions involving scholarship money and books not required for coursework — resulted in unexpected mixing of lines and disrupted the “chemistry and cohesiveness” of the team.
The teams meet again Saturday night in Anchorage.