UAA lost, 4-2, at Ferris State on Friday night.
Get in line -- there's a lot of that going on around the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this season.
The league-leading and nationally-ranked Bulldogs, unbeaten at home in league play, scored two first-period goals, one of them on the power play and courtesy of a baffling major penalty against the Seawolves, and were never threatened at Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
The Seawolves witnessed the depth and sound play that has earned the Bulldogs a No. 5 ranking in one national poll and a No. 6 slot in another, and propelled them to the WCHA lead in both offense (3.43 goals per game) and defense (2.09 goals per game) in conference games.
Nor does it hurt that Bulldogs junior goaltender C.J. Motte is a stingy sort -- he made 29 saves to improve to 21-5-3 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. Ferris State improved to 10-0-1 in WCHA home games.
"It's a very tough building to play in,'' UAA coach Matt Thomas said by cell phone. "I thought we played well. We just didn't get any bounces to go our way.''
They say you earn your bounces, and the Bulldogs did that. Their first three goals were rink ricochets -- Justin Buzzeo scored a goal off the skate of UAA defenseman Quinn Sproule, Kenny Babinski's goal went in off the butt of UAA defenseman Chris Williams and Brandon Anselmini's goal went off the glove of UAA defenseman Derek Docken.
Of course, the critical equation is how many goals a team scores, not how they score them.
"Ultimately, we need to score more,'' Thomas said.
UAA (15-12-4, 11-10-4 WCHA), which entered the evening tied for third place in the 10-team league, slipped into a third-place tie with Michigan Tech. Ferris State (22-7-3, 17-4-2 WCHA) moved into solo first place, breaking a tie with idle Minnesota State-Mankato.
The Bulldogs benefitted from a dubious major penalty for charging against UAA winger Brett Cameron in the first period. He was sentenced for making contact with Motte, which he indisputably did. But it was not hard contact, and charging is a penalty issued for violent contact.
Buzzeo scored on the ensuing power play, and Babinski's strike late in the period furnished Ferris State a 2-0 lead.
UAA cut its deficit to 2-1 three minutes into the second period on a two-man advantage when senior winger Jordan Kwas one-timed Sproule's cross-ice pass. Yet Anselmini answered less than two minutes later to restore the Bulldogs' two-goal cushion at 3-1.
Gerald Mayhew's goal late in the second period gave Ferris State a 4-1 lead. Andrew Pettitt responded for UAA just 26 seconds later.
UAA senior goaltender Chris Kamal made 33 saves.
The Seawolves entered the series with four WCHA games remaining, all on the road, and knowing they need points because even though their standing currently looks good, they haven't yet clinched a playoff spot. The top eight finishers in the regular season make the first round of the league playoffs.
UAA and Ferris State close the series Saturday night.
"It puts the pressure on us, and we've got to find a way to respond,'' Thomas said. "I'm confident we will.''
Kwas extended his point streak to six games. He owns 4-3--7 totals in that stretch.
Kwas' power-play goal was his fifth this season, tying Scott Allen for the team lead. Kwas either led UAA in power-play goals or tied for the lead in two of his first three seasons, and 15 of his 29 career goals have come with the man advantage.
Kwas owns 86 career points, one more than senior center Matt Bailey for the lead among active Seawolves. His 28 points this season are second to Bailey's 29.
Blake Tatchell's assist on Kwas' goal was his team-leading 17th, one more than Kwas.
Tatchell hasn't scored a goal in 11 games and Cameron hasn't scored a goal in 13.
UAA slipped to 2-7-2 in WCHA road games.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog
First Period -- 1, Ferris St., Buzzeo 11 (Binkley, Schempp), 11:37 (pp); 2, Ferris St., Babinksi 8, 17:55. Penalties -- Mayhew, Ferris St. (slashing), :04; Allen, UAA (slashing), :04; Kane, Ferris St. (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:24; Friesen, UAA (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:24; Czarnowczan, Ferris St. (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:19; Pettitt, UAA (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:19; Panetta, Ferris St,, double-minor (roughing), 6:19; Hubbs, UAA, double-minor (roughing), 6:19; Cameron, UAA, major (charging), 9:07; Thompson, Ferris St. (tripping), 12:22; Schempp, Ferris St. (roughing), 20:00; Coldwell, UAA (roughing), 20:00; Buzzeo, Ferris St. (roughing), 20:00; Cameron, UAA (roughing), 20:00.
Second Period -- 3, UAA, Kwas 12 (Sproule, Tatchell), 2:56 (pp); 4, Ferris St., Anselmini 5 (Panetta, Binkley), 4:47. Penalties -- Czarnowczan, Ferris St., double-minor (hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct), :24; Binkley, Ferris St. (hooking), 1:27; Czarnowczan, Ferris St. (tripping), 14:01; Sevalrud, UAA (hooking), 18:11.
Third Period -- 5, Ferris St., Mayhew 3 (Kane, Huff), 18:23; 6, UAA, Pettitt 4, 18:39. Penalties - McDonald, Ferris St. (high-sticking), 1:46; Tatchell, UAA (tripping), 2:40; Coldwell, UAA (interference), 10:06.
Shots on goal -- UAA 7-11-13--31. Ferris St. 12-10-15--37.
Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 1 of 5. Ferris St. 1 of 6.
Goalies -- UAA, Kamal, 6-5-1 (37 shots-33 saves). Ferris St., Motte, 21-5-3 (31 shots-29 saves).
A -- 2,065 (2,490). T -- 2:42.
Referees -- Peter Friesema, Butch Mousseaux. Assistant referees -- Pat Bracco, Matt Miller.