ANCHORAGE — The sequence that delivered the only goal scored at Sullivan Arena on Saturday night furnished textbook illustrations of how to waste an odd-man rush and how to exploit such a glorious opportunity.
The score —Wisconsin 1, UAA 0 — reports which Western Collegiate Hockey Association club flourished in that critical situation and which club floundered.
In the third minute of the second period, UAA bolted into Wisconsin’s zone at top speed on a 4-on-2 rush, with freshman Evan Trupp carrying the puck on left wing. But Trupp’s cross-ice pass, which appeared intended for fellow rookie Bobby Murphy, was either just barely tipped by a Badger or just barely off the mark.
In any event, the turnover kick-started a 3-on-2 counter-attack for the visitors, with Joseph LaBate pushing the puck up the left wing. He improved that odd-man rush into a breakaway with a centering pass to spring linemate Derek Lee ahead of him.
“I started screaming at him, and he had some nice vision and got it up to me,’’ Lee said.
Lee, on the march well beyond any back-checking UAA player, enjoyed ample time to see where goaltender Rob Gunderson might be vulnerable.
“I saw a little hole on the left side and was lucky enough to get it in,’’ he said.
His wrist shot beat Gunderson low to the stick side.
Gunderson, who came out above his crease and then began back-skating as Lee approached, said in hindsight he wished he had challenged Lee more.
“I was backing in a little too fast,’’ Gunderson said. “It was a good shot, right over my pad.’’
And that, it turned out, was the game.
Wisconsin (6-7-5, 4-5-5 WCHA) bagged a sweep of the series — the Badgers won 5-3 on Friday — to push its winning streak to four games and its unbeaten streak to eight games (5-0-3). The Badgers also climbed into a tie for seventh place in the 12-team league.
UAA’s sixth straight loss kept the Seawolves (3-11-4, 1-10-3 WCHA), who have lost eight of their last nine and have won just once in the last 14 games, in last place in the league. They are four points behind 11th-place Michigan Tech.
The Seawolves barely mustered an attack. Their 12 shots on goal marked a season low by two, and they did not manage a shot in the final 10-plus minutes, not even after pulling Gunderson for a sixth attacker in the last 85 seconds.
That lack of ammunition helped Badgers sophomore Joel Rumpel bag his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his college career.
The closest UAA came to scoring was in the opening minute of the second period, when sophomore winger Scott Allen, the club’s leading goal scorer with seven, rang a shot from high in the right circle off the pipe.
“That’s honestly how it’s been for so long — that little break here or there,’’ Gunderson said. “The year we went to the (WCHA) Final Five’’ — in 2011, when he was a freshman — “we got all the breaks in the world. Now, we can’t seem to get one.’’
Gunderson, who made 21 saves, kept the Seawolves within striking distance in the late going.
He stifled Nick Kerdiles from point-blank range with a right-pad save late in the second period. He shifted left-to-right midway through the third period to get that pad on LaBate’s bid and smother the puck for a face-off. And he moved right-to-left across his crease to snuff Matt Paape’s shot from the bottom of the right circle with about six minutes to go.
All of that was to no avail, though. The Seawolves became shutout victims for the fourth time this season.
And things do not get an easier this week. UAA travels to Minneapolis for a WCHA set against Minnesota, ranked No. 1 in the nation.
UAA blocked 16 shots, 14 of them in the first two periods. Sophomore defenseman Austin Coldwell led the way with five blocks.
The Seawolves enjoyed just one power play, the fourth time in 18 games this season they have been given two or fewer power plays in a game. In 11 games this season, they have been limited to three or fewer power-play chances.
UAA killed all three Wisconsin power plays Saturday and all six in the series.
A scoring change from Friday’s game resulted in UAA senior winger Jordan Kwas being credited with an additional goal, giving him two goals and an assist for his first three-point game as a Seawolf. Kwas’ three power-play goals account for half the power-play goals the Seawolves have scored.
Find Doyle Woody’s blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Wisconsin 0 1 0 -- 1
UAA 0 0 0 -- 0
First Period --None. Penalties --Williams, UAA (cross-checking), 13:39; Bailey, UAA (charging), 17:09.
Second Period --1, UW, Lee 3 (LaBate), 2:56. Penalties --Crowell, UAA (roughing), 8:44; Woods, UW (roughing), 8:44; Allen, UAA (high-sticking), 16:02.
Third Period --None. Penalties --Wittchow, UW (cross-checking), 7:33.
Shots on goal --UW 9-6-7--22. UAA 2-4-6--12.
Power-play Opportunities --UW 0 of 3. UAA 0 of 1.
Goalies --UW, Rumpel, 3-5-3 (12 shots-12 saves). UAA, Gunderson, 1-4-4 (22 shots-21 saves).
A --2,379 (6,251). T --2:05.
Referees --Todd Anderson, Brad Shepherd. Assistant referees --Brett Johnson, Carl Saden.