Matt Bailey is making a habit of making Saturday nights turn special for the Seawolves.
One week after he scored the game-winning goal with 3.4 seconds left in regulation for UAA's comeback win against Air Force, the senior delivered the one-timed overtime dagger that capped Saturday's 3-2 come-from-behind victory over No. 12-ranked Denver in Fairbanks.
Bailey, who scored both UAA goals in its 6-2 loss to Western Michigan to open the Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament Friday at the Carlson Center, has scored all of his team-high four goals and six points in the last three games.
UAA freshman winger Dylan Hubbs, who set up Scott Allen's game-tying goal midway through the third period, put a pass into Bailey's wheelhouse in extra time. The center hammered home his 31st career goal, tops among active Seawolves.
Bailey's contributions have helped the Seawolves start 3-1-0 under first-year bench boss Matt Thomas. That's no small accomplishment -- UAA won just four of its 36 games last season.
Denver, meanwhile, came north after consecutive shutouts of Merrimack and suffered piercing losses both nights in Fairbanks after leading both games. UAF beat Denver, 3-2, in the final minute of OT Friday.
One of the mysteries surrounding the Seawolves this season was who could score goals for a program that for several seasons has been compromised by modest offense. The answer: The usual suspects.
Of UAA's 12 goals this season, Bailey owns four, fellow senior Jordan Kwas has three (all in the win against Air Force) and Allen, a junior who last season led the team with 12 goals, has one. Those three skaters account for two-thirds of UAA's goals.
On UAA's goaltending front, advantage Michael Matyas in the Seawolves' search for a No. 1 masked man.
The freshman, who replaced senior Rob Gunderson early in the second period of Friday's defeat, started Saturday for the second time this season and stopped 26 of 28 shots. Among his best work against the Pioneers (2-2-0) were consecutive stops on Trevor Moore late in the second period when Moore came racing in off the right wing.
Matyas is 2-0-0 and owns a save percentage of .912. Three games is a tiny sample size, but a UAA goaltender has not achieved a save percentage of at least .900 in a full season since Nathan Lawson generated a .908 save percentage in 2005-06.
UAA jumped to a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into Saturday's game when freshman center Zack Rassell and freshman winger Tanner Dusyk attacked 2-on-1. Rassell, carrying the puck into the Pioneers zone on left wing, saw any path for a pass to Dusyk blocked, so he rifled a wrister through the five-hole of Denver freshman goalie Evan Cowley, who stopped 33 shots in his college debut.
Denver scored the next two goals, both of which came from defensemen with impressive scoring resumes. Senior David Makowski generated his 19th career goal seven minutes into the second period for a 1-1 tie and junior Joey LaLeggia gained the Pioneers a 2-1 lead early in the third period, when he roofed a laser from the point during a two-man advantage.
Makowski, who assisted on LaLeggia's goal, owns 72 points in 104 career games. LaLeggia, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick and former WCHA Rookie of the Year, has produced 24 career goals and 69 points in 86 games.
Allen forged a 2-2 tie midway through the third period when he banged home a rebound of a Hubbs shot.
The Seawolves are idle next weekend and then travel to Bowling Green for their first WCHA series of the season, Nov. 1-2.
Hubbs' three assists this season lead the club. He fired four shots Saturday.
Bailey led UAA with five shots on goal Saturday, when the Seawolves unleashed a season-high 36 shots. He leads the team with 15 shots through four games.
Sophomore defenseman Chris Williams logged the best plus-minus of all players in the game at plus-2.
Saturday marked the first game this season the Seawolves failed to score a power-play goal. They went 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
First Period -- 1, UAA, Rassell 1, 3:22. Penalties -- Moore, DU (slashing), :16; Coldwell, UAA (cross-checking), 14:30; Kwas, UAA (roughing), 15:31; Moore, DU (roughing), 15:31; Sproule, UAA (delay of game), 15:31; Loney, DU (slashing), 16:35; Friesen, UAA (slashing), 18:26; Marcinew, DU (hooking), 18:40.
Second Period -- 2, DU, Makowski 2 (Zajac, Moore), 7:22. Penalties -- Makowski, DU (contact to the head), 2:38; Cameron, UAA (slashing), 3:47.
Third Period -- 3, DU, LaLeggia 2 (Makowski, Zajac), 3:40 (pp); 4, UAA, Allen 1 (Hubbs), 11:40. Penalties -- Dusyk, UAA (interference), 2:21; Coldwell, UAA (cross-checking), 3:27; Dusyk, UAA (hooking), 12:35; Marcinew, DU (boarding), 17:08.
Overtime -- 5, UAA, Bailey 4 (Hubbs), 3:45. Penalties -- None.
Shots on goal -- DU 11-8-8-1--28. UAA 9-12-12-3--36.
Power-play Opportunities -- DU 1 of 7. UAA 0 of 5.
Goalies -- DU, Cowley, 0-1-0 (36 shots-33 saves). UAA, Matyas, 2-0-0 (28 shots-26 saves).
A -- 1,158 (4,595). T -- 2:37.
Referees -- Brett Kosowski, Tommy Albindia. Assistant referees -- Carl Saden, Travis Jackson.