Alaska-Anchorage surprises Colorado College coach

by Michael Rand

Last week, Colorado College coach Don Lucia said Alaska-Anchorage is a team that could give an upper-division WCHA finisher fits in the first round of the league playoffs.
Then the Seawolves got swept by then-last place Michigan Tech during the weekend, vaulting the Huskies out of the WCHA cellar for the first time since Nov. 23.
Um, coach. Might want to rethink that one.
A closer look at UAA, however, reveals a few points that add credibility to Lucia’s statement.
ù The Seawolves (9-18-3, 7-18-3 in the WCHA) have had 21 of their 30 games decided by two goals or less.
ù Goaltending is always a key in the playoffs, and UAA netminder Doug Teskey has been solid most of the season. He ranks fourth in the league in goals against average and fifth in save percentage.
ù The team is 0-4-3 in overtime — a signal that they’ve been on the verge of winning more games than they actually have.
“We’re making progress, but it’s not always showing up on the scoreboard,” Alaska-Anchorage’s first-year coach Dean Talafous said. “We aren’t doing a very good job of winning games, but we’re keeping them all close.”
Talafous said the series against Michigan Tech was a good example of his team’s unlucky season.
Teskey allowed nine goals on just 31 shots in the series. And in Friday night’s game, the Seawolves led 3-2 before allowing the game-tying goal with nine seconds left in regulation. Michigan Tech won the game 29 seconds into overtime.
UND avoids disaster
Adding a new twist to an old phrase, league-leading North Dakota has been lucky and good this season.
Most WCHA teams conceded the league title to the Sioux after North Dakota swept Minnesota two-and-a-half weeks ago. The logic was simple: UND had a three-point lead with six games against the bottom three teams in the league remaining on its schedule.
The Sioux swept Michigan Tech two weekends ago, but Minnesota remained three points behind when it swept Northern Michigan. But the Wildcats almost added some spice to the WCHA race over the weekend.
The Sioux lost at NMU 2-1 on Friday and trailed 2-0 entering the third period of Saturday’s game. But UND rallied for a 5-3 win, and escaped the weekend with its three-point lead intact because the Gophers dropped a game to Minnesota-Duluth.
Hobey No. 2
A speech by 1981 Hobey Baker award winner and former Gophers standout Neal Broten helped inspire Minnesota to a 7-1 Saturday win over UMD.
Tuesday’s encore was a visit from Brian Bonin, who won the Hobey Baker with Minnesota last season.
Bonin, who has 11 goals and 14 assists for the International Hockey League’s Cleveland Lumberjacks (a Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate), has a few days off during the IHL all-star break and decided to drop in on his former teammates at practice.
“I miss the camaraderie here,” Bonin said. “It was 20 guys pulling toward the same goal. In the pros, I’m just playing for myself.”
ù The time of the Gophers game on Saturday, March 1, against Wisconsin has been changed from 7:05 to 7:35.
ù The WCHA named St. Cloud State wing Mark Parrish offensive player of the week and NMU goalie Dieter Kochan defensive player of the week.