Scott Allen played just three shifts Saturday night. He logged a mere 2 minutes, 15 seconds of ice time. And he wasn’t even residing in coach Matt Thomas’ doghouse — his limited duty was health-related.
Kory Roy had been a healthy scratch more often than he had secured a spot in the lineup this season.
And Hayden Trupp in 53 previous career games had never produced multiple points.
Yet, in UAA’s most meaningful game of the season, those three forwards delivered critical contributions in a 4-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over Northern Michigan at Sullivan Arena.
Allen had sat out the previous five games with an upper-body injury, and he’s still not fully recovered, so Thomas used the junior solely on the Seawolves’ stagnant power play. Allen responded with his team-leading fifth power-play strike.
Roy, who entered the night with one goal in 67 career games, dropped the first two-goal game of his career on the Wildcats.
And Trupp’s two assists marked his first career multiple-point game.
“Good teams have guys who get points in a lot of games,’’ Roy said. “But good teams can win without those guys getting a point. You need other guys stepping up and contributing.
“Tonight, I got a couple, and that was huge because I was the fourth-line center.’’
UAA’s victory, following the anguish of Friday’s 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan, allowed the Seawolves (13-10-3, 9-8-3 WCHA) to remain in fourth place in the 10-team league. Fourth place is a coveted spot because only the top four finishers in the regular season earn home ice for the first round of the playoffs.
Elsewhere in the league Saturday, events played out in UAA’s favor too. Four teams below it in the standings — Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and UAF — all lost.
At this time of the regular season, the home stretch, every point becomes pivotal. That was certainly the case for the Seawolves in Saturday’s game because of Friday’s result.
“It became huge,’’ Thomas said. “They always become bigger when you lose the night before late in the season. Every loss is devastating and every win is joyous, and, hopefully, something positive for down the road.’’
Thomas said assistant coach Josh Ciocco at the team’s game-day skate Saturday morning floated the idea of sticking Allen back in the lineup, but only for power-play duty. Allen was game.
On his second shift, 12 minutes into the first period, he roofed a man-advantage shot from atop the right circle past Wildcats goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom to furnish a 1-0 lead. After that, Allen played just one more shift — he skated one shift on each of UAA’s power plays for the evening, and otherwise hung out on the bench chatting with back-up goalie Rob Gunderson. Three times during media timeouts, Allen left the bench to take a short skate and loosen his legs, and his ice time on those skates probably equaled his ice time in the actual game.
“That was probably the most unique, weirdest game I’ve ever played,’’ Allen said. “But knowing going into the game that it was going to be like that helped.’’
Roy pushed UAA’s lead to 2-0 just 1:43 after Allen’s goal. Andrew Pettitt threw a shot on net, Trupp fired off the rebound and Roy cleaned up Trupp’s rebound.
The Wildcats pulled within a goal at 2-1 midway through the game when Dominik Shine tipped Mitch Jones’ power-play blast.
Yet Roy restored the Seawolves’ two-goal lead at 3-1 near the middle of the third period when UAA leading scorer Matt Bailey fed a pass into his wheelhouse with Roy atop the right circle. Roy’s one-timed bomb glanced in off the right post.
“I don’t think anyone has ever seen me take a ‘One-T’ in a game, so they were probably surprised,’’ Roy said.
Roy’s two goals snapped a six-game goal drought. Of course, that’s nothing, he said with a laugh — after all, he didn’t score his first college goal until earlier this season, against Alabama-Huntsville, in his 61st career game.
“Six games, that’s not so bad compared to the last one, huh?’’ Roy said. “Cake-walk.’’
Trailing 3-1, the Wildcats did not wilt. Just 84 seconds after Roy scored his second of the night, Reed Seckel punished UAA for its turnover in the defensive zone and trimmed UAA’s lead to 3-2. But UAA’s Jordan Kwas answered less than three minutes later, sweeping a rebound behind Dahlstrom after defenseman Blake Leask sent a wrister off the goalie’s chest.
UAA senior goalie Chris Kamal (21 saves) made that final lead last on a night the Seawolves never trailed. He and his penalty-killing crew got UAA off to a stellar start, considering the Seawolves had to kill of three Wildcats power plays — and that included two-man advantages of 29 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively — inside the opening 10 minutes. UAA, which blocked 11 shots in the first period, did not permit Northern Michigan a shot on goal on those three power plays.
The Seawolves now have an idle weekend. That gives them 13 days between games — they play at Lake Superior State on Feb. 7-8.
By then, Allen, whose 12 goals this season are second to senior center Matt Bailey’s 13, should be healthy enough to play regular shifts.
And count on him logging much more ice time than in Saturday’s guest-starring role.
Shuffling the deck
With two assists, Bailey remains the team’s leading scorer. He owns 13-11—24 totals in 26 games. The 13 goals are a career high, as are the 24 points. He’s one assist away from tying his career high.
Kwas’ one goal and one assist gives him 9-14—23 totals in 26 games, which places him first on the team in assists and second in points. His nine goals match his career high and his 23 points leave him one point shy of his career high.
Also, the race for the lead among active Seawolves scorers remains tight between the two seniors. Kwas owns 81 career points to Bailey’s 80.
Allen’s 12 goals in 21 games match his career high 12 goals in 36 games as a sophomore last season. His seven assists tie his career high, as does his 19 points.
Find Doyle Woody’s blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
NMU 0 1 1 — 2
UAA 2 0 2 — 4
First Period — 1, UAA, Allen 12 (Bailey, Kwas), 12:00 (pp); 2, UAA, Roy 2 (Trupp, Pettitt), 13:43. Penalties – Trenz, NMU (interference), 1:30; Sevalrud, UAA (tripping), 4:14; UAA bench minor, served by Rassell (too many men), 5:45; Sproule, UAA (slashing), 7:31; Baker, NMU (holding), 11:45.
Second Period — 3, NMU, Shine 2 (Jones, Seckel), 12:29 (pp). Penalties — Sproule, UAA (checking from behind), 6:36; Friesen, UAA (interference), 11:06; Nowick, NMU (holding), 12:34.
Third Period — 4, UAA, Roy 3 (Bailey, Trupp), 8:28; 5, NMU, Seckel 9 (Sooth, Shine), 9:52; 6, UAA, Kwas 9 (Leask, Cameron), 11:24. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — NMU 5-5-13—23. UAA 11-7-8—26.
Power-play Opportunities — NMU 1 of 5. UAA 1 of 3.
Goalies — NMU, Dahlstrom, 9-10-2 (26 shots-22 saves). UAA, Kamal, 6-3-1 (23 shots-21 saves).
A — 2,609 (6,251). T — 2:23.
Referees — Brett Klosowski, Mark Wilkins. Assistant referees — William Moran, John Conoy.