Anchorage — Alex Gellert began his UAA career as a man in the middle, alternately centering a scoring line or a checking line, but he has since moved around the lineup as efficiently as a computer mouse maneuvers a cursor.
He spent time at right wing before he eventually moved back into the pivot. Last season, when injuries mounted, he played some defense. This season, he has been a fixture at right wing, and he also plays on a power-play unit and kills penalties.
Basically, he is coach Dave Shyiak's Swiss Army knife.
And this season the senior is off to the best start of his career. Through 10 games, Gellert has racked a career-high five goals and two assists, and furnished a team-best plus-minus rating of plus-5.
Gellert has played every game on a line with freshman center Blake Tatchell and seems to have found a home. With a point in seven of UAA's 10 games, he leads the club in that category.
"It's been an experience playing all those positions,'' Gellert said, "and now I feel like I've found my spot, especially with a great centerman.
"Offensively, I feel better. I feel like I've matured some and now I get to the better (scoring) areas, get a little greasier. But I'm also getting some bounces and getting puck luck.
"I just want to help the team however I can, as cliched as that sounds.''
UAA's lack of depth on the wing prompted Shyiak to move Gellert to the right side, and the coach figured Gellert could help mentor Tatchell (3-5--8 in 10 games), the team's co-leading scorer.
"He's got experience and he works hard, and he's helped Tatchell adjust to the college game,'' Shyiak said. "I think they're developing some chemistry.''
In the last five games, Shyiak has placed left wing Scott Allen (6-2--8 in 10 games) on the line with Tatchell and Gellert, and the trio has been the Seawolves' most effective scoring line.
Gellert said he entered the season having no idea where he would fit in the lineup, but he likes where he's landed.
"I haven't put up the best points the last couple seasons, so I'm up for whatever will help the team,'' he said. "I'm not the most natural goal scorer out there, or the best checker, so I think my attributes are all about equal. I'll just do whatever it takes.''
And that's why Gellert, who expects to graduate in the spring with a double major in management and marketing, is always a candidate to hop-scotch around the lineup to fill a need.
"There are times in seasons when you're dealing with injuries and you kind of piece together a lineup where a guy can bring value,'' Shyiak said. "Alex has been able to play several places for us and bring effectiveness.''
The only positions Gellert hasn't played at UAA -- yet -- are left wing and goaltender, though junior goalie Rob Gunderson did tape Gellert's stick before practice Thursday. Gellert, the senior, joked he was invoking his seniority.
"Seniors, huh,'' Gellert laughed. "Geez.''
UAA junior winger Brett Cameron underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the broken left collarbone he suffered in last Friday's 2-2 tie on the road against Bemidji State. Cameron said a plate and screws were inserted. He's wearing a sling and is out indefinitely.
The UAA hockey coaches luncheon is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday at the Cuddy Center on campus. Cost is $20. Parking is free.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
No. 14/15 St. Cloud State
7-5-0, 5-3-0 WCHA
2-4-4, 0-3-3 WCHA
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