The road has been rugged for UAA early this season, and it got a little bumpier Friday night.
Bemidji State quickly answered the Seawolves' opening goal, won the battle of special teams and kept UAA winless in hostile rinks with a 4-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association win at the Sanford Center in Minnesota.
UAA, which last weekend racked nine goals in a home-ice sweep of winless Alabama-Huntsville, has dropped all three of its WCHA road games and continued to struggle offensively away from Sullivan Arena.
UAA (5-4-0, 2-3-0 WCHA) has scored just two goals in its three league road games -- Bowling Green swept the Seawolves 6-1 and 1-0 in Ohio earlier this month.
One encouraging sign for the Seawolves was the play of sophomore center Blake Tatchell, their leading scorer last season.
Tatchell, who in last Saturday's 6-1 win over Huntsville generated two assists to snap his five-game point drought, scored UAA's lone goal Friday and was strong throughout the game. The goal was Tatchell's second of the season and first since opening night.
Still, special teams turned the game -- the Beavers (4-6-1, 4-3-0 WCHA) converted on 2 of 6 power-play chances and the Seawolves failed to score on four opportunities with the man advantage.
Tatchell opened the scoring 15 minutes into the game after UAA carried play in that stretch. He fired a shot off the rush that was parried by Beavers goaltender Andrew Walsh (26 saves). Tatchell collected the rebound on right wing, circled the net and stuffed in a backhand wraparound at the left post before Walsh could get fully across his crease.
The Beavers needed just 88 seconds to respond. Markus Gerbrandt won a battle in the left corner, skated to the top of Rob Gunderson's crease, fought off a slash from Chris Williams and lifted a backhander past Gunderson (29 saves). The goal was Gerbrandt's team-high eighth.
"We came out with lots of energy and we needed to find a way to capitalize on some of our chances,'' UAA coach Matt Thomas said by text. "In the end, we need to manage our momentum better on the road.''
Bemidji took its first lead on a power play seven minutes into the second period when defenseman Ruslan Pedan rushed the puck from his own zone. Ruslan gained the UAA line on right wing, cut to the inside and unleashed a high, glove-side wrister that seemed to handcuff Gunderson and gave the Beavers a 2-1 lead.
A crafty power-play goal nine minutes into the third period furnished Bemidji a 3-1 cushion. Defenseman Matt Prapavessis carried the puck below the goal line on right wing and snapped a pass to Danny Mattson, stationed on the goal line on left wing. Mattson quickly flicked a shot off Gunderson and in before Gunderson could seal off his left post.
Brendan Harms' empty-net goal inside the final minute secured the end of the Beavers' two-game losing streak.
UAA, which played without junior winger Brett Cameron (upper-body injury) and freshman winger Dylan Hubbs (mononucleosis), was seeking its first three-game winning streak in the WCHA since February 2011.
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First Period -- 1, UAA, Tatchell 2, 15:14; 2, Bemidji, Gerbrandt 8 (Robbins), 16:42. Penalties -- Pettitt, UAA (goaltender interference), 3:08; Jones, Bemidji (interference), 8:11; Pappavessis, Bemidji (holding), 12:08.
Second Period -- 3, Bemidji, Pedan 3, 7:17 (pp). Penalties -- Williams, UAA (holding), 2:53; Bailey, UAA (tripping), 6:38; Bemidji bench minor, served by Marinaccio (too many men), 16:15; Dusyk, UAA (tripping), 18:14.
Third Period -- 4, Bemidji, Mattson 2 (Prapavessis, Jubinville), 9:01 (pp); 5, Bemidji, Harms 2 (Ward, Rendle), 19:39 (en). Penalties -- Gerbrandt, Bemidji (tripping), 1:00; Williams, UAA (interference), 7:36; Leask, UAA (cross-checking), 10:40.
Shots on goal -- UAA 11-7-9--27. Bemidji 7-12-14--33.
Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 0 of 4. Bemidji 2 of 6.
Goalies -- UAA, Gunderson, 3-3-0 (32 shots-29 saves). Bemidji, Walsh, 4-6-1 (27 shots-26 saves).
A -- 3,627 (4,373). T -- 2:20.
Referees -- Brad Albers, Justin Brown. Assistant referees -- Andy Dokken, Matt Ulwelling.