MADISON, Wis. — Getting goals from five different skaters, Alaska-Anchorage notched its first WCHA win of the season Friday with a 5-3 upset victory over No. 6 Wisconsin.
The Seawolves (3-3-1, 1-1-1) scored four uncontested goals between the first and second periods and survived a late rally by the Badgers (7-4-0 overall, 4-3-0 WCHA) to pull out the win.
“We are not starting the way we should,” Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer said. “We have got to be ready to play when we come to the rink, and we are not.
“That team outworked us, outplayed us in the first two periods. … You give any team that many goals and it is tough to come back.”
With Wisconsin leading 1-0 after an early first-period goal, the Seawolves evened the score at the 9:50 mark in the first period, when wing Dan Gilkerson chipped center Pete Talafous’ centering feed past Melanson, just inside the post to the blocker side.
After a turnover by Wisconsin wing Matt Hussey in the neutral zone with less than seven minutes remaining in the period, Alaska-Anchorage wing Mike Scott had a breakaway opportunity against Melanson. The Badger goaltender, though, was true to the challenge, keeping the game tied.
The Seawolves went up 2-1 at the 17:58 mark on a nifty move by center Dallas Steward. On the play, the Alaska-Anchorage forward was able to get around Wisconsin defenseman Jon Krall below the circle and cut in front of Melanson, who could not get his blocker down in time to stop Steward’s shot.
At the 4:50 mark in the second period the Seawolves took a 3-1 lead when wing Morgan Roach tipped wing Dan Wilkerson’s shot past Melanson.
Less than a minute and a half later, Alaska-Anchorage’s Scott finished off the string of goals, beating Melanson five-hole with a shot from the slot off of a three-on-two odd-man rush to give the Seawolves a 4-1 lead. Defenseman Matt Shasby assisted on the goal with a nice pass from just below the faceoff dot to set up Scott.
What was a mildly chippy game became very tense before the third period started. As the teams were skating during the tail end of the intermission, Wisconsin defenseman Jeff Dessner skated into Alaska-Anchorage’s side of the rink. The Seawolves’ Gilkerson exchanged words and then punches with Dessner before reinforcements arrived from each team. Dessner and Gilkerson each received double minor penalties for the exchange, and Badger wing Matt Doman and Roach were given minors for unsportsmanlike conduct for their roles in the altercation.
“I saw that the [ice on the] side of the net was wet, so I went down to get something to clean it up,” Dessner said.
“From what I understand Jeff Dessner was going to the Zamboni trying to get the squeegee to do the rink,” Sauer said. “I don’t know if there is a protocol for that situation.”
Midway through the third period Wisconsin rallied to make the game competitive. Badger wing Kent Davyduke drew Wisconsin within 4-2 at the 11:35 mark in the third period on a rifle of a wrist shot from just within the blue line.
Just 31 seconds later the margin shrank to 4-3 when Erik Jensen fought through the Seawolves’ defense and buried a shot past King off a faceoff victory by center Matt Murray.
At the 13:28 mark, Wisconsin went on the power play after Shasby was called for holding the stick as Doman was attempting to pounce on a loose puck in front of the net.
The Badgers, though, could not convert on the opportunity, falling to zero-for-four on the power play for the evening and one-for-23 in their last four games.
“If our power play was anything at all …” Sauer said. “I mean, it’s 1-0 tonight and we get a power play and we don’t score. We get back in the game, it’s 4-3 and we get another power play and we don’t score. We are not doing the things we did in the beginning of the year in terms of letting the puck do the work for us.”
Wisconsin’s rally was put to rest at the 18:26 mark. Seawolf wing Gregg Zaporzan skated in on Wisconsin defenseman Alex Brooks, stickhandled around the Badger defenseman and finished by going top-shelf on Melanson to put Alaska-Anchorage ahead 5-3.
The Badgers got on the board first in the game when David Hukalo scored less than a minute into the game.
“The big thing is that what this team needs is a win right now,” Sauer said.