Two goals surrendered in a second-period span of 28 seconds, the quickest combination the Seawolves have absorbed this season, proved their undoing Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Lake Superior State used those strikes in a four-goal second period to blow open a close game on the way to a 5-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over UAA at Taffy Abel Arena.
Until that point, the Lakers led 2-1, and the Seawolves were in a decent spot considering they were deep into the second period on the road.
In a hockey heartbeat, though, UAA found itself on the ropes in a game it badly needed in its quest to finish in the top four of the 10-team league -- the top four finishers earn home ice for the playoffs. And Friday's defeat means Saturday's series finale becomes even more pivotal -- "a must win game,'' said coach Matt Thomas -- for UAA.
"Can't be swept down the stretch,'' Thomas texted. "Points are a must this time of year. We have been a good bounce-back team all year, so I expect us to rise up to the challenge.''
UAA (13-11-3, 9-9-3 WCHA) dropped one spot to fifth place.
Prior to that game-turning, second-period sequence, Lake Superior (13-13-1, 9-10-0 WCHA) owned a 2-1 lead on goals by Colin Campbell and Ian Miller, which offset a goal from UAA winger Andrew Pettitt, who opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game.
Lake Superior defenseman Zach Sternberg furnished a 3-1 lead with about four minutes left in the second period when his slap shot from the center point threaded through traffic and beat UAA starting goaltender Chris Kamal. On the next shift, defenseman Andrew Perrault got a shot from the right point through traffic and Andrew Dommett punched in the rebound for a 4-1 Lakers lead.
Thomas pulled Kamal (and replaced him with Michael Matyas - "We needed a spark,'' Thomas said.
The Seawolves got one two minutes later when freshman winger Brad Duwe banged home a Blake Tatchell rebound to cut the deficit to 4-2.
But Lake Superior's Dan Radke scored on the power play with just .3 seconds left in the period to mitigate Duwe's goal. That was one of two power-play strikes for the Lakers.
UAA defenseman Austin Sevalrud in the third period scored his first career goal in 58 games to trim Lake Superior's cushion to 5-3.
"Everyone needed to be better -- top to bottom,'' Thomas said.
Sevalrud and Lake Superior's Matt Johnson each received five-minute majors and game misconducts for contact to the head late in the third period. Because they did not get game disqualification penalties, both are eligible to play Saturday.
Duwe fired a game-high six shots on goal.
The career scoring race between senior center Matt Bailey and senior winger Jordan Kwas continued to be tight after each player furnished an assist. Kwas owns 82 career points to Bailey's 81.
Defenseman Chase Van Allen was whistled for four minor penalties.
The four second-period goals UAA surrendered matched the most it has given up in a period this season.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
UAA 1 1 1 -- 3
LSS 1 4 0 -- 5
First Period -- 1, UAA, Pettitt 2 (Rassell), 11:58; 2, LSS, Campbell 10 (Radke, Globke), 14:59 (pp). Penalties -- Radke, LSS (cross-checking), 9:46; Van Allen, UAA (boarding), 14:31; Hubbs, UAA (boarding), 18:53.
Second Period -- 3, LSS, Miller 4 (Nardi), 5:08; 4, LSS, Sternberg 5 (Campbell, Globke), 16:06; 5, LSS, Dommett 6 (Perrault, Schmitt), 16:34; 6, UAA, Duwe 2 (Tatchell, Kwas), 18:35; 7, Radke 5 (Globke, Drapluk), 19:59. Penalties -- Van Allen, UAA (slashing), 2:27; Kwas, UAA (hooking), 19:14.
Third Period -- 8, UAA, Sevalrud 1 (Bailey, Cameron), 5:59. Penalties -- Johnson, LSS (interference), 12:52; Van Allen, UAA (hooking), 13:52; Johnson, LSS (interference), 12:52; Van Allen, UAA (hooking), 13:52; Johnson, LSS, major-game misconduct (contact to head), 18:32; Sevalrud, UAA, major-game misconduct (contact to head), 18:32; Leask, UAA (roughing), 18:32; Van Allen, UAA (hooking), 19:26.
Shots on goal -- UAA 10-9-7--26. LSS 10-15-7--32.
Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 0 of 2. LSS 2 of 7.
Goalies -- UAA, Kamal, 6-4-1 (22 shots-18 saves), Matyas, enter 16:34 2nd period (10-9). LSS, Murdock, 6-8-0 (26 shots-23 saves).
A -- 2,039 (4,000). T -- 2:23.
Referees -- Kevin Langseth, Keith Sergott. Assistant referees -- Paul Tunison, Ryan Gordon.