Kevin Clark continued to be a big difference maker for the Seawolves in tonight's 3-2 win over UMD. Clark potted his 20th and 21st goal of the season in the win while becoming the #2 all time leader in career penalty minutes. He will not catch Jeff Batters however for #1. Freshman Tyler Currier's hustling play and energetic shifts were rewarded tonight with his 1st collegiate goal sandwiched between Clark's duo.
The Seawolves got a strong performance from Jon Olthuis combined with somewhat more responsible play on the backend then we've seen of late.
The Bulldogs looked sharp opening the game with strong periods of possession throughout the first ten minutes. The Seawolves were often hemmed in by the aggressive forechecking. Clark's tally to make the game 1-0 came on the Seawolves 1st official shot of the game at 9:21.
The second half of the 1st period was much more evenly played with UAA having the better of the opportunities for the duration. But just 44 seconds into their 1st power play of the night, Oleksuk tipped in a Lamb shot to tie the game up. The Seawolves killed another penalty with just under a two minutes to go into the period for a 1-1 tie going into the break.
The 2nd period saw no scoring as both teams played things more closely to the vest in their own ends. The Seawolves had 3 power plays in the period that they were unable to convert and the 1-1 score held going into the 3rd.
With 2:44 past in the 3rd period Tyler Currier banged home a 3rd chance rebound from the slot into a gaping wide net to make the score 2-1. He was in the perfect place at the perfect time and couldn't have had a simpler finish. He deserved the goal for the energy he's been providing during his less than regular playing time this season.
The rest of the third period was dictacted by penalty calls. UAA took 4 and UMD took 3. With the teams skating 4 a side after Clark and Fulton get sent off for shenanigans, the Seawolves seemed to be playing to protect the win. They were dumping the puck deep and not aggressively forechecking but Josh Lunden worked the puck to the top of the slot and fired a backhander that beat Hjelle. The referee immediately waved it off and made the same arm gesture after a really quick review. I haven't seen a replay but it looked to me like a goal. Not sure what the problem was. Fittingly at one point a couple of fans tossed water bottles onto the ice so referees Adam and Walsh could hopefully get refreshed and pull their heads out of their asses.
Clark's game winning goal is still sorta blowing my mind. Luka Vidmar fired a shot from the right side of the slot about hip level and Kevin tipped it in with his back to the net and a UMD defender draped on his shoulders. It was a great tip.
Any game winning goal with 22 seconds left in the game is a good one. But that one had some cachet, some flair and/or style. You take your pick. It was especially sweet.
While Clark was the difference maker the result wouldn't have been attained without solid play throughout the lineup. Craig Parkinson had a nice game. Jade Portwood and Nick Haddad were strong on special teams and contributed excellent momentum changing shifts in each period.
Tonight was an important result. It maintained UAA's 8th place in league standings as Mankato beat St. Cloud. Another two points tomorrow night will do the trick. If I'm not mistaken tomorrow represents the 1st chance for the Seawolves to bag a sweep on home ice this season as this was the first Friday night win at home.
Good luck to the guys on Saturday. The Bulldogs will definitely come at them harder tomorrow. I suspect there will be times where their defensive resolve will be challenged. Thankfully, they're a bunch of guys that does seem to know how to step it up on Saturday nights eh? Once more fellas ... once more.