UAA's strong start to the season was halted Friday night when undermanned North Dakota delivered a 5-0 nonconference victory at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament in Fairbanks.
No. 2-ranked North Dakota played its season opener with a severely depleted lineup because of suspensions and injuries. It lacked its top three returning scorers and all four captains and dressed a mere nine forwards instead of the usual 12, but no drop-off was evident.
North Dakota, which like UAA plays in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, dominated from the outset at the Carlson Center, racing to a 2-0 lead in the opening 13 minutes and never taking its collective foot off the gas.
UAF, the tournament host, downed Merrimack College 3-2 in the late game.
North Dakota's superiority stymied the Seawolves (1-1-1), who began the season with a win and tie that earned them the title at their Kendall Hockey Classic.
North Dakota junior goaltender Clarke Saunders, a transfer from Alabama-Huntsville, racked 21 saves for his first college shutout.
Meanwhile, North Dakota piled up the shots on UAA starter Chris Kamal, touching him for four goals in 29 shots in two periods. Fellow junior Rob Gunderson replaced Kamal for the third period and stopped three of four shots.
North Dakota outshot UAA 33-21 and cashed in on two of six power-play chances. The Seawolves came up empty on four power-play opportunities and are 0-11 this season with the man advantage heading in Saturday's game against Merrimack College of Hockey East.
Freshman forward Bryn Chyzyk got North Dakota going eight minutes into the game when he banged home a rebound of freshman defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues. Mark MacMillan raised the cushion to 2-0 on a backhander five minutes later.
MacMillan and highly touted freshman Rocco Grimaldi -- WCHA coaches predict he will be the circuit's Rookie of the Year -- scored 82 seconds apart midway through the second period to furnish a 4-0 lead. The dynamic Grimaldi, a second-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers, played just four games last season before undergoing knee surgery and declaring a red-shirt year.
Schmaltz scored his first college goal early in the third period.
UAA and North Dakota will play three times in a span of four games because the Seawolves travel to Grand Forks next week for their opening WCHA series of the season.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
North Dakota 2 2 1 --5
UAA 0 0 0 -- 0
First Period -- 1, North Dakota, Chyzyk 1 (Schmaltz), 8:21 (pp); 2, North Dakota, Mark MacMillan 1 (Forbort, Chyzyk), 13:10. Penalties - Chyzyk, North Dakota (boarding), 4:20; Gellert, UAA (roughing after the whistle), 7:17; Murphy, UAA (boarding), 15:01; Simpson, North Dakota (slashing), 16:10.
Second Period -- 3, North Dakota, Mark MacMillan 2 (Simpson, Gaarder), 11:31 (pp); 4, North Dakota, Grimaldi 1 (Gaarder), 12:53. Penalties - Naslund, UAA (holding), 1:05; Bailey, UAA (holding), 11:23; Kamal, UAA, served by Roy (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:27.
Third Period -- 5, North Dakota, Schmaltz 1 (Gaarder), 2:27. Penalties - Gleason, North Dakota (boarding), 10:52; Mark MacMillan, North Dakota (goaltender interference), 13:33; Currier, UAA (cross-checking), 17:21.
Shots on goal -- North Dakota 13-16-4--33. UAA 6-7-8--21.
Power-play Opportunities -- North Dakota 2 of 6. UAA 0 of 4.
Goalies -- North Dakota, Saunders, 1-0-0 (21 shots-21 saves). UAA, Kamal, 1-1-0 (29 shots-25 saves); Gunderson, enter 0:00 3rd (4-3).
A -- 2,007 (4,595). T -- 2:10.
Referees -- Kevin Hall, Colin Kronforst. Assistant referees -- Will Moran, Daniel Colliander.Woody on Hockey
By DOYLE WOODY