MANKATO, Minn. — With fewer than 11 minutes remaining in the third period of Fridays matchup at the Alltel Center, Josh Lunden had a chance to break the tie and put Alaska-Anchorage up one over Minnesota State on a 2-on-1 advantage. Lunden one-timed a pass from the right circle but broke his stick as the puck harmlessly dribbled into the corner.
Luckily for Lunden, he got a new stick and another chance in the periods final minutes, and scored the game-winning goal at 16:22 of the third period to lead the Seawolves over the Mavericks in a 4-2 WCHA victory.
I was a little mad after that play where my stick broke, said Lunden, who also scored the Seawolves first goal in the first period, but we got another chance and capitalized on it.
Nick Haddad centered the puck from the right-side boards and after a Kevin Clark tip, all Lunden had to do was guide it in. Tommy Grant added his 14th goal of the season minutes later on an empty net.
The victory was the Seawolves first since they topped Colorado College, 4-2, back in late November.
We always havent been rewarded for our efforts even though I thought we deserved some points in some of the past games, said Seawolves coach Dave Shyiak. Tonight was a good road win for our guys. It wasnt pretty, but it was a hard-fought win.
Lunden opened the scoring at 8:47 of the first when he skated in from the left circle and backhanded the puck past Mavericks netminder Dan Tormey, who was making his third start of the season.
The Mavericks, however, tied the game in the final minute of the period when Mike Louwerse batted the puck in from the doorstep on a power play.
Its a bit of a momentum killer, Lunden said of the late goal. But we were coming out for a new period and fresh start. We knew we had to stick to our systems and capitalize on our chances and thats what we did.
Trevor Bruess gave the Mavericks their only lead of the game early in the second, on a play started by junior forward James Gaulrapp. Gaulrapp went into the corner and fought the puck away from a Seawolves defender and to Mick Berge behind the net. Berge skated out and found Bruess streaking down the slot for an easy one-timer at 4:23.
Trevor Hunt had the game-tying goal on a 4-on-3 at 8:32 of the second, one-timing a shot pass Tormey from the right circle.
We told our guys we wanted to be patient with what we were doing, Shyiak said. We wanted to limit our mistakes and turnovers and make sure we had numbers coming back.
Before Lundens game winner both teams struggled to get quality looks in the third period, a period where no penalties were called. When the Seawolves finally capitalized on a chance, it seemed the Mavericks were in an even deeper hole with how the period was being played.
We missed some opportunities earlier in the game that cost us, said Mavericks coach Troy Jutting. Heading into the third we didnt come out with the sense of urgency we needed to.
Seawolves goaltender Jon Olthuis made 22 saves in his fifth win of the season, but stood out making a couple big saves during a Seawolves penalty kill in the second period. Tormey (1-2-0) made 18 saves. Both teams netted a power-play goal and the Mavericks outshot the Seawolves 19-12 through two periods but finished with a 24-22 edge. Clark finished with two assists.
Its been a while, but it definitely feels good, Lunden said. Especially to get two points on the road, the guys worked hard and we deserved it.
The Mavericks (10-11-3, 6-9-2 WCHA) host the Seawolves (7-10-2, 5-8-2) for game two of the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Alltel Center.