UAA hockey -- aka Team Tie -- forges yet another WCHA deadlock

Doyle Woody

The UAA hockey team -- aka Team Tie -- forged yet another deadlock Friday night, and this one was particularly prosperous, given the Seawolves were on the road and playing for just the second weekend in the last four.

Sophomore defenseman Austin Coldwell delivered the game-tying strike with less than five minutes to go in regulation and junior goaltender Rob Gunderson snuffed 30 shots in a 2-2 tie at Bemidji State (Minn.).

The tie, UAA's fourth in just nine games overall this season and its third in just five Western Collegiate Hockey Association matches, also marked the Seawolves' third tie in the last four games.

That deadlock in the opener of a series that wraps Saturday night left both the Seawolves (2-3-4, 0-2-3 WCHA) and Beavers (2-5-2, 1-4-2 WCHA) winless in their last five games. UAA is 0-2-3 in that stretch and Bemidji, which last weekend twice lost in OT to visiting Michigan Tech, is 0-4-1 in that span.

The Seawolves's play proved admirable on several fronts. They didn't show much rink rust despite playing just two games in the previous three weeks. They came back to tie after a pair of third-period strikes from Bemidji's Jeff Jubinville put them in a 2-1 third-period hole at the Sanford Center. And they did not allow the Beavers to enjoy a single power play -- the Seawolves took just one penalty and that third-period roughing by captain Chris Crowell was a matching minor because Bemidji's Cory Ward went to the box for the same infraction.

Also, Gunderson -- aka Kid Tie -- remained undefeated this season at 1-0-4. He has earned a tie in each of his last three starts. In that span, he has generated a 2.15 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Overall this season, Gunderson owns a 2.47 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

The Seawolves and Beavers nearly went scoreless through two periods, but UAA freshman center Blake Tatchell scored on his own rebound during a delayed penalty with less than three minutes left in the second period. Tatchell fired a shot from the right circle, collected his own rebound and roofed a short-side shot over the glove of Mathieu Dugas (30 saves) for this third goal of the season and a 1-0 edge.

The Beavers, though, rallied behind Jubinville, a left-handed shooter who scored twice in nine minutes, both times cutting right to left across the high slot. His first shot beat Gunderson through the five-hole and his second, which gave Bemidji its only lead at 2-1, went high to the glove side.

But the Seawolves answered four minutes later when junior center Matt Bailey carried the puck into the zone on left wing and left a drop pass for Kory Roy. Roy was unable to collect the puck as he cut down the high slot, but kept the play alive. Coldwell, joining the attack on right wing, flicked the loose puck inside the right post for a 2-2 tie.

UAA continued to struggle on the power play by going 0 for 5 with the man advantage -- granted, Tatchell scored on what amounted to a power play because the Seawolves got an extra attacker onto the ice. UAA has converted just twice on 31 power-play opportunities this season.

UAA junior winger Brett Cameron was injured in the second period and did not return, requiring Seawolves bench boss Dave Shyiak to juggle his lines.

Seawolves notes

The UAA record for most ties in a season is eight, by Shyiak's 2007-08 team (7-21-8).

Gunderson's fourth tie this season ties him for the fourth-most single-season ties by a goaltender in UAA history, and his eight career ties also puts him in a tie for fourth all-time among Seawolves masked men. The single season record for ties belongs to Jon Olthuis with eight (6-17-8 in 2007-08). Olthuis (23-47-12, 2006-10) also shares the UAA career record for most ties with Chris King (20-48-12, 2000-04).

Tatchell's goal was his sixth point this season and Bailey's assist marked his sixth point too. That moved them into a three-way tie with senior winger Alex Gellert for the team lead in points.

Junior defenseman Quinn Sproule returned to the lineup after missing three games with a shoulder injury.

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UAA 0 1 1 0 -- 2

Bemidji 0 0 2 0 -- 2

First Period -- None. Penalties -- Rendle, Bemidji (interference), 15:53.

Second Period -- 1, UAA, Tatchell 3 (Leask, Kwas), 17:25. Penalties -- Ward, Bemidji (cross-checking), 5:00; Wacker, Bemidji (cross-cheking), 13:12; Mattson, Bemidji (interference), 17:25; Rendle, Bemidji (interference), 18:52.

Third Period -- 2. Bemidji, Jubinville 2 (Boehm, George), 2:14; 3, Bemidji, Jubinville 3 (George, Rendle), 11:17; 4, UAA, Coldwell 1 (Roy, Bailey), 15:29. Penalties -- Ward, Bemidji (roughing), 12:08; Crowell, UAA (roughing), 12:08.

Overtime -- None. Penalties -- None.

Shots on goal -- UAA 5-14-9-4--32. Bemidji 7-13-11-1--32.

Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 0 of 5. Bemidji 0 of 0.

Goalies -- UAA, Gunderson, 1-0-4 (32 shots-30 saves). Bemidji, Dugas, 0-1-1 (32-32).

A -- 3,199 (4,373). T -- 2:23.

Referees -- Brad Shepherd, Todd Anderson. Assistant referees -- Nathan Freeman, Justin Hills.