Alaska Anchorage limped into Houghton, Mich., last weekend.
The Seawolves, losers of three of their past four coming into the series with Michigan Tech, were outscored 8-2 by Minnesota State the previous weekend in Mankato, Minn.
And instead of returning to Anchorage, UAA remained in the Midwest, giving them some extra time to think about it as a team.
As it turns out, that extra time in the Lower 48 did the Seawolves some good.
Alaska Anchorage waltzed into MacInnes Student Ice Arena and took two games from No. 17 Michigan Tech. Both games were 3-2 wins and in both games, UAA trailed at the second intermission and scored two goals in the third period.
Sean McTavish scored two goals and Tad Kozun had the game-winner Friday, while Jarrett Brown, Chase Van Allen and Brad Duwe all scored Saturday. Goaltender Olivier Mantha, who has made 12 straight starts, stopped 62 of 66 shots.
The road sweep was UAA’s first outside of the state of Alaska since 2011, and the wins should rejuvinate the Seawolves, now 8-6-2 overall and 5-4-1 in the league, as they return to Anchorage this weekend for their instate Governor’s Cup grudge match with Alaska.
That anticipated matchup between conference frontrunners Bowling Green and Minnesota State didn’t decide much.
In fact, as is becoming somewhat of a routine for the WCHA this season, the teams skated to a pair of 2-2 draws both Friday and Saturday.
That’s not to say each game wasn’t without drama. In Friday night’s game, the Falcons scored twice in the final five minutes — including Ben Murphy’s wrist-shot with seven seconds remaining.
On Saturday, it was Minnesota State who tied it in the third period, on Zeb Knutson’s power-play goal.
So where does that leave us? Well, Minnesota State began last week tied with Michigan Tech for first in the league. But by the end of the weekend, the Mavericks leapfrogged the Huskies with the two points earned to go into first place, while the Falcons pulled into a tie for second place.
If last weekend was any indication, the rematch series in February is going to go a long way towards who ultimately wins the MacNaughton Cup.
Superior in Alaska
Don’t look now, but Lake Superior State has itself a three-game win streak.
The Lakers, who split with Ferris State the weekend previous, traveled to Alaska last weekend and gutted out a pair of 4-2, 2-0 wins against the host Nanooks. The sweep has the Lakers within striking distance of fourth place in the conference — they’re currently tied for sixth place with a 4-3-3 overall league record and 11 points.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is how they’re achieving their modest success so far. The Lakers are unbeaten on the road in league play (3-0-3) but have just one league win in Sault Ste. Marie.
They host UP rivals Michigan Tech this weekend – will they finally be able to earn some more wins at home?