Anchorage — Their effort was earnest, so another disappointing night at the rink for the Seawolves did not stem from lack of ambition.
Still, UAA ended the first half of the hockey season still mired in a funk, its losing streak pushed to four games by Saturday 2-1 loss to Minnesota-Duluth.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, seized their first series sweep this season — they won 5-1 Friday — and those four valuable points in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association make the long, scheduled trip home Sunday — starting with a 6 a.m. flight — easier to endure.
Mike Seidel notched his team-leading 11th goal off a Tony Cameranesi face-off win midway through the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Seidel’s quick snap shot from atop the right circle beat UAA goaltender Rob Gunderson (24 saves) low to the stick side.
UAA pulled Gunderson with one minute to go, but could not forge the equalizer. Winger Alex Gellert’s spinning bid from the slot slid wide right and defenseman Chris Williams’ shot from the right point sailed wide left.
And so the Seawolves hit the holiday break lugging a 3-9-4 overall record and a 1-8-3 mark in the WCHA, where they sit last among 12 teams.
“Obviously, guys are hurting,’’ said UAA senior center Daniel Naslund, who bagged the Seawolves’ only goal. “The effort was there. We wanted to bounce back after (Friday) night.
“We’re kind of in one of those ruts where we can’t get a bounce. You earn your bounces too. If we keep playing like that, it’s going to turn around.’’
The teams entered the third period tied 1-1 after trading first-period goals and skating through a scoreless second period before a season-low announced crowd of 2,170.
That UAA was tied heading to the third period proved an enviable position because it began the night short of forwards and lost leading goal scorer Scott Allen five minutes into the game when he was issued a major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind.
Minnesota-Duluth scored 20 seconds into that extended power play when defenseman Andy Welinski rocketed home a one-timer from atop the left circle. Yet UAA permitted the Bulldogs two shots on goal for the remainder of that five-minute man advantage.
Naslund evened the game at 1-1 at the 12:05 mark when he took a feed down low from Hayden Trupp, held off a defender and slipped a shot past Matt McNeely (16 saves).
UAA coach Dave Shyiak made senior winger Jordan Kwas, the team’s fifth-leading scorer, a healthy scratch. Ditto for sophomore wing Kory Roy. That left him with a lineup of 11 forwards, one fewer than customary, and one of those 11 was defenseman Quinn Sproule, who mostly played wing.
When Allen got the gate, the bench boss spent the rest of the game putting myriad line combinations on the ice. Unofficially, Shyiak used at least 13 different forward line combinations in the first period alone.
“Guys had to pay attention on the bench, and they were very good about being alert,’’ Shyiak said.
At one point in the third period, he put out a line of Naslund, Matt Bailey and Blake Tatchell, who are all centers.
“It’s an experience,’’ Naslund said. “I think I played with just about everyone.’’
Minnesota-Duluth improved to 7-8-3 overall and 5-6-3 in league, where it is in seventh place.
“Obviously, we’ve had our ups and downs this year, but this is definitely what we needed going into the break,’’ Seidel said. “It’s good for morale.’’
The Seawolves are off until they entertain Wisconsin in a WCHA series on Jan. 4-5.
“I had no complaints about our effort or compete level,’’ Shyiak said. “The guys are going through a tough patch, but mentally, we overcame (Friday) night.
“All told, a break here or there, and we win or tie.’’
Freshman defenseman Ben Matthews of Chugiak made his college debut for UAA, with two shots on goal and an even rating.
UAA went 0 for 3 on the power play and is 0 for 15 in the last five games.
The Seawolves, outshot 26-17 Saturday, have been outshot in six straight games. Naslund’s three shots led them Saturday.
Cameranesi assisted on both Bulldogs goals Saturday and in the series went 2-2—4, with a plus-3 rating and 11 shots.
After going without a point in his first 10 college games, Trupp has three points in the last six games.
UAA’s average of 2.00 goals per game ties it for 51st among 59 Division I teams and its 9.1-percent power-play efficiency ranks 53rd.
The Seawolves have been penalized for five major penalties this season, their opponents for two.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
UMD 1 0 1 -- 2
UAA 1 0 0 -- 1
First Period -- 1, UMD, Welinski 2 (Bergman, Cameranesi), 5:16 (pp); 2, UAA, Naslund 2 (Trupp), 12:05. Penalties -- Sproule, UAA (tripping), 1:44; Allen, UAA, major-game misconduct, served by Pettitt (checking from behind), 4:56; Williams, UAA (slashing), 18:24.
Second Period -- None. Penalties -- Casto, UMD (slashing), 6:40; Coldwell, UAA (holding), 8:36; Williams, UAA (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:12; Cameranesi, UMD (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:12; Cameranesi, UMD (tripping), 13:44; Bailey, UAA (high-sticking), 14:25.
Third Period -- 3, UMD, Seidel 11 (Cameranesi), 9:42. Penalties -- Bergman, UMD (hooking), 6:33.
Shots on goal -- UMD 9-10-7--26. UAA 5-5-7--17.
Power-play Opportunities -- UMD 1 of 6. UAA 0 of 3.
Goalies -- UMD, McNeely, 5-4-1 (17 shots-16 saves). UAA, Gunderson, 1-3-4 (26 shots-24 saves).
A -- 2,170 (6,251). T -- 2:05.
Referees -- Tom Sterns, Chris Perrault. Assistant referees -- Carl Saden, Travis Jackson.