Alaska-Anchorage and Wisconsin skated to a 1-1 overtime tie Saturday night. After their 2-2 tie Friday night both teams leave the weekend with two points and extended streaks. For the Seawolves, winless in the last 19 collegiate games, this marks their team record seventh tie of the season and their fourth in the last five games. For the Badgers, winless in their last 8 WCHA games, this marks their fourth overtime game and third tie in the last two weekends.
In the battle of two of the WCHA’s struggling teams, the Seawolves got on the board first at 12:43 of the opening period when freshman stand-out Curtis Glencross took a tipped pass from defenseman Matt Hanson and sent a wrister off the top post and past the Badger goalie Bernd Bruckler.
In what proved to be a key play on the evening, the Badgers nearly drew even near the 18-minute mark of the first when they broke in three-on-one on Seawolf goaltender Chris King and sent their own shot off the top post. Many fans and players thought the puck was in and play briefly came to a near stop before the players realized there was no signal from the referee.
The Badger’s frustration with the missed opportunity led to a rough last two minutes and a hard-hitting and penalty laden second period when they were whistled for the bulk of their 39 minutes of penalties.
The play also led to what Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves referred to as a riddle.
“Games are riddles,” he said. “They say games have turning points and that was a turning point.
“We could have packed it up but we didn’t. After the ‘no-goal,’ I said, ‘It’s only 0-1, take a deep breath’ and we gathered our composure.”
And their composure in the third period netted them a goal just 36 seconds in when Rene Bourque gathered a rebound to the left of King and lofted a quick shot high over the stick side.
The rest of the game looked like a matchup between two hungry aggressive teams and two hot goalies, and despite several high quality chances for both sides neither team could break the weekend’s deadlock.
In the aftermath of another close game, and alluding to the Seawolves’ winless streak dating back to their non-conference opener in October, Alaska-Anchorage coach John Hill said, “Unless you walk out of here tonight with a win it’s very hard to take.”
With that said Hill added he was very happy with the Seawolf effort on the evening, particularly crediting goaltender Chris King for his performance in just his first appearance since December 7.
“King made many, many great saves and deserves a lot of credit,” said Hill.
Hill also mentioned that the rolling suspension of 13 Seawolf players for secondary NCAA infractions continues to be a “big factor” for Alaska-Anchorage as it disrupts the “chemistry and cohesiveness” of the team.
While giving credit to Wisconsin for doing an “excellent job killing penalties,” Hill said that because of the suspensions, “We looked a little confused and disorganized out there sometimes.”
This was evident as the Seawolves went just 1-9 on the power play for the evening, and failed to score during a five minute opportunity when an emotional Ryan MacMurchy was boxed for abusing the official.