Derek Docken went from pain to the penalty box to pumped up in a matter of five minutes Friday, and by the end of the evening he and the rest of the Seawolves had reason to be more than pleased with the start of their hockey season.
Docken’s second career goal opened the scoring and junior goaltender Chris Kamal turned away 14 shots in UAA’s 2-0 win over Canisius in the Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena.
The Seawolves, the tournament’s defending champions, stretched their unbeaten streak in Classic openers to 12 (8-0-4). They last lost the first game of their tournament way back in October 2000 — a 5-4 loss to Michigan State.
UAA takes on Air Force on Saturday for a chance to win its seventh tournament title and it first back-to-back championships since the 2004-05 tournaments.
Docken had an eventful interlude midway through the second period that led to the game’s first goal.
A sophomore from Northfield, Minn., Docken hobbled his way back to the Seawolves bench after blocking Canisius winger Tyler Wiseman’s shot at 7 minutes, 14 seconds.
Less than two minutes later, he was whistled for tripping.
“It was a tough (shot) to take, but you have to do whatever you can to help the team,” Docken said of his defensive heroics. “Then I took kind of a dumb penalty.”
But 42 seconds after being freed from the box, Docken corralled a pass from Alex Gellert and moved from the right boards to the high slot just inside the blue line. His low, whistling shot made its way through traffic and past Canisius goalie Tony Capobianco at 11:23.
Blake Tatchell, one of four freshmen in UAA’s opening night lineup, also picked up an assist on the goal.
“After making a mistake, to get it back like that felt great,” Docken said. “It does any time you can contribute to a team win.”
Docken scored his only other UAA goal in January at Michigan Tech. Add in his 59 games at United States (Major Junior) Hockey League level, and it was just his third goal in 93 games.
Scott Allen capped the scoring at 8:49 of the third period when he converted Jordan Kwas’ crossing feed on a well-executed 2-on-1.
The Seawolves outshot Canisius 23-14. Kamal’s shutout was the fourth in his UAA career and his first since blanking Minnesota in March 2011.
In a scoreless first period, UAA held a 6-5 edge in shots, each team enjoyed one power-play chance and each team had one better-than-average scoring bid.
Canisius’ Taylor Law picked up a slow-moving puck in the slot, turned and rifled a shot at Kamal, who was up for the task at 14:26.
Almost four minutes later, UAA’s Daniel Naslund sped over the blue line and let go a blast from the top of the right circle. But the puck found Capobianco’s chest at 18:07.
In the tournament’s first game, Nik Yaremchuk scored two goals to help UAF forge a 3-3 tie with Air Force.
Chad Demers knotted the score with a goal 78 seconds into the third period and the teams played scoreless hockey for the remainder of the period plus the five-minute overtime period.
In the three-round shootout, held for the purpose of tournament standings, the Nanooks won 2-1 on goals by Colton Beck and Andy Taranto.
Canisius 0 0 0 – 0
UAA 0 1 1 – 2
First Period — None. Penalties — Canisius bench (too many men, served by Gibbons), 11:24; Cameron, UAA (holding the stick), 12:54.
Second Period — 1, UAA, Docken 1 (Gellert, Tatchell) 11:23. Penalties — Grazen, Canisius (slashing), 2:57; Docken, UAA (tripping), 8:41.
Third Period — 2, UAA, Allen 1 (Kwas, Coldwell), 8:49. Penalties — Bailey, UAA (slashing), 3:52; UAA bench (too many men, served by Pettitt), 10:20; Beck, Canisius (interference), 14:12.
Shots on goal — Canisius 5-6-3--14. UAA 6-11-6--23.
Power-play Opportunities — Canisius 0 of 4. UAA 0 of 3.
Goalies — Canisius, Capobianco, 0-1-0 (23 shots-21 saves). UAA, Kamal, 1-0-0 (14-14).
A —3,414 (6,251). T — 2:12.
Referee — Butch Mousseaux, Pete Friesema. Linesmen — Brent Johnson, Robert Keltie.
By MATT NEVALA
Daily News correspondent