ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Denver slipped past Alaska-Anchorage, 3-1, on Saturday to claim three out of four points on the weekend. The fourth-ranked Pioneers extended their unbeaten streak to five games while the Seawolves’ offensive struggles continued and they remain winless in conference play.
“I can’t fault our guys for their work effort” said UAA coach John Hill. “We battled hard … but when you can’t score more than two goals per game you’re not going to win a lot of games in this league.”
Despite the Seawolves’ offensive woes Hill primarily credited Denver for the Saturday win pointing out that “there is a reason Denver was WCHA tournament champions. They played with a lot of heart and beat us tonight in the battles for the puck.”
And Hill credited UAA netminder Kevin Reiter for the game ending as closely as it did.
“Kevin has been outstanding all year and he gave us a chance again tonight.”
Denver managed 29 shots on the Seawolf netminder Reiter, while in support Reiter’s teammates mustered a lethargic 10 shots on Pioneer goalie Adam Berkhoel. Reiter’s work last weekend earned him WCHA defensive player of the week and he continued this weekend giving up four goals on 59 shots for the weekend.
Reiter’s only sign of mortality Saturday night came on DU’s first shot just 41 seconds into the game. After finding the puck off a faceoff win, Denver freshman Gabe Gauthier pushed an unlikely shot from the right circle that rattled between Reiter’s skate and the post to stake the Pioneer’s to an early a 1-0 lead.
UAA evened the game 1-1 at 12:41 of the second period on a Martin Stuchlik goal. Capping what turned out to be UAA’s most sustained offensive possession of the evening, Stuchlik deflected a corner blueline slap shot from Matt Shasby past Berkhoel.
Denver got the game winner just four minutes later on the power play. The Pioneers worked the puck crisply around the perimeter several times before Denver captain Aaron MacKenzie skated in from the right circle, collapsed the defense, and then slipped a quick pass across to waiting assistant captain Kevin Doell. Doell buried a wrister that Reiter had no chance to get.
Denver ended an otherwise scoreless third period with an empty netter to complete the win.
Denver heads into a pair of non-conference games next weekend against Mercyhurst and Air Force, while Alaska-Anchorage continues WCHA play on the road at Minnesota-Duluth.