COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After holding a lead throughout most of the third period, the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves didn’t want to let a win slip through their gloves.
After the Colorado College Tigers scored a late goal to force overtime, the Seawolves pounced on the Tigers in the extra frame, scoring just a minute in to beat CC, 3-2, and earn the series split.
“We didn’t sag after they tied it up with 33 seconds,” said Seawolves’ coach Dave Shyiak. “We continued to pressure and it was nice to see our guys rewarded for two points for just a great, great team effort over the course of 60 minutes.”
“They played extremely well, they played hard, they were hard to play against [and] it was hard to get to their net,” said CC coach Scott Owens.
The first period was a quiet, back and forth affair, with CC getting the best chance of the frame with 4:30 remaining, hitting the post behind UAA goaltender Jon Olthius during a flurry. However, the puck was knocked away by Seawolf Tyler Currier.
The Tigers broke the scoreless tie on a Nate Prosser power-play goal at 7:38 of the second period. William Rapuzzi sent a pass from behind the net to Prosser, who slammed the puck past Olthuis (26 saves).
Though UAA had 1:17 of a five-on-three advantage with five minutes left in the period to try and tie it up, the Tigers kept the Seawolves off the board. However, with 32.8 seconds remaining in the period, Sean Wiles knotted the score at one on a fluky goal off a controversial play.
The Tigers won a neutral zone faceoff to Stephen Schultz. UAA’s Jared Tuton came up behind him and, from what it appeared on the replay, nudged Schultz with his elbow, causing the Tiger to fall down, freeing the puck, which went to Seawolf Trevor Hunt and unleashing a rain of boos from the crowd. Hunt dished the puck to Mickey Spencer, who broke into the zone and passed the puck across the ice to Sean Wiles, who let a shot fly from the far hashmarks that got redirected off of CC’s Nick Dineen behind teammate Joe Howe (32 saves).
“You know it’s going to be a low scoring game,” said Owens. “We do a great job on the five-on-three kill and you just hate to give up goals in the last minute any time, but especially at home with a 1-0 lead and that gave them a ton of momentum.”
UAA carried that momentum over to the third period, where they took a 2-1 lead 1:23 into the frame on Wiles’ second tally of the night. Spencer fed Wiles in front of the net, who in turn beat Howe low stick-side.
The Tigers got 1:44 of a five-on-three advantage of their own halfway through the third, but, just like UAA, CC couldn’t capitalize.
Owens pulled Howe with 45 seconds remaining to try and get the equalizer, and the gamble paid off, thanks to Schultz. Prosser took a shot from the point that went wide and bounced off of one of the many bodies in front of the net. Schultz picked up the puck and jammed it home past Olthius to tie the game at two and force overtime.
Just like much of the third period, the Seawolves controlled the play in overtime, scoring the game-winning goal exactly 60 seconds in when a crashing Daniel Naslund knocked in a Tommy Grant rebound past Howe for the victory.
“We get that [tying goal] and you think generally that’s enough momentum to carry you through,” said Owens. “But they have some big boys that go hard to the net. We got through the first shift [of overtime] just fine and the second shift they stormed the net on us and it was difficult for us.”
“I thought it was a real gutsy overall team performance by everybody,” said Shyiak. “We just talked about being resilient and coming back after a big loss on Friday and I give total credit to our leadership group and we kept everyone in line and I thought we got total contributions from everybody.”
The Tigers next face the University of Denver in a home-and-home series while the Seawolves head home for a two-game series with St. Cloud State.