UAA, Huntsville play to 1-1 hockey tie

Doyle Woody

When surging, fifth-place UAA met last-place Alabama-Huntsville in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association match-up Friday night, it seemed like a trap-game for the visiting Seawolves.

Consider the Seawolves captured -- well, sort of.

The Chargers parlayed a third-period goal into a 1-1 at the Von Braun Center, earning just their third point in the league standings and first on home ice while snapping their eight-game losing streak.

UAA managed to gain a point in the standings, no small accomplishment given they were short-handed for most of overtime. Still, the Seawolves remained winless (0-5-2) on the WCHA road.

The Seawolves have earned seven of eight possible points in their last four league games (3-0-1) and remain fifth in the 10-team league at 11-9-3 overall and 7-7-3 in conference.

Chris Kamal wasn't the problem for UAA. The senior goaltender stopped 17 shots, including four in overtime, in his sixth consecutive start. The reigning WCHA Defensive Player of the Week has regained his groove. In those six starts, he is 4-1-1 with a 1.48 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.

"Kamal played great again and gave us a chance to win,'' UAA coach Matt Thomas texted.

But UAA generated just 25 shots on goal despite enjoying six power plays, all fruitless.

The Seawolves cracked a scoreless game midway through when junior defenseman Austin Coldwell, the club's leading scorer among blueliners, racked his fourth goal of the season with a wrister off assists from Blake Tatchell and Jordan Kwas.

Coldwell's four goals in 23 games this season equal his goal total in 60 games as a freshman and sophomore.

But the Seawolves couldn't crack Matt Larose (24 saves) the rest of the way, and the Chargers (1-23-1, 1-13-1 WCHA) drew even six minutes into the third period.

Matt Salhany led the rush, pulled up in the left circle and threaded a pass into the low slot to the unchecked Brent Fletcher, who beat Kamal high to the glove side for his first college goal and a 1-1 tie. Kamal did not have much of a chance.

Fletcher's goal snapped the Chargers' goal drought at 122 minutes, 13 seconds. They've scored just 24 goals in 25 games and have endured scoreless stretches this season of 187:15, 160:27 and 145:48.

Thomas in the third period juggled his forward combinations to put together a power line of Tatchell, Kwas and center Matt Bailey, the team's leading scorer. That tactic has produced prosperity in previous games this season, but couldn't make a tangible difference Friday.

"We struggled to play a team game at times, but UAH played well and so did their goalie,'' Thomas texted.

In overtime, the Chargers went on the power play just 53 seconds in, when UAA defenseman Austin Sevalrud was penalized for cross-checking. The Seawolves nonetheless enjoyed a glorious chance, but Kwas threw his short-handed, breakaway backhander wide of the cage.

When UAA defenseman Chris Williams was booked for hauling down a Charger who split the defense on a power-play rush, the Seawolves had to fend off a two-man disadvantage that lasted 22 seconds.

The teams close their series Saturday night.

Seawolves notes

Tatchell's assist gives him points in 10 of the last 12 games, with 5-7--12 totals in that stretch.

UAA went 7 of 15 on the power play in sweeping the Chargers in Anchorage in November, but often looked out of sorts with the man advantage Friday and repeatedly forced passes.

Kwas' assist was his 77th career point, most among active Seawolves. Bailey has 76 career points.

Thomas leaned on Bailey hard, as he often does. On one third-period power play, Bailey played on both units and remained on the ice for 2:33 of consecutive time.

Among Kamal's best work was his first-period breakaway stop on Cody Marooney. He improved his season save percentage to .924. The UAA record for best single-season save percentage is .921 by Chris King of Anchorage in 2003-04. To qualify, a goalie must have at least 10 starts. Kamal has started six games.

Minnesota State-Mankato, swept by UAA at Sullivan Arena last week, handed league-leading Ferris State (Mich.) its first league loss of the season Friday -- the Mavericks won 6-2 in Minnesota.

Find Doyle Woody's blog at

UAA0 1 0 0 -- 1

Alabama-Huntsville0 0 1 0 -- 1

First Period -- None. Penalties -- Coldwell, UAA (boarding), 2:21; UAH bench minor, served by McKenna (too many men), 8:48; McKenna, UAH 9hooking), 11:04; Hubbs, UAA (tripping), 12:51; McKenna, UAH (elbowing), 19:18.

Second Period -- 1, UAA, Coldwell 4 (Tatchell, Kwas), 9:54. Penalties -- Soquila, UAH (tripping), 4:27; Marooney, UAH (charging), 12:38.

Third Period -- 2, UAH, Fletcher 1 (Salhany, Koshey), 6:01. Penalties -- UAH bench minor, served by Prince (too many men), 8:00.

Overtime -- None. Penalties -- Sevalrud, UAA (cross-checking), :53; Williams, UAH (hooking), 2:31.

Shots on goal -- UAA 8-9-8-0--25. UAH 6-4-4-4--18.

Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 0 of 6. UAH 0 of 4.

Goalies -- UAA, Kamal, 4-2-1 (18 shots-17 saves). UAH, Larose, 0-12-1 (25 shots-24 saves).

A -- 2,604 (6,600). T -- 2:17.

Referees -- Kevin Langseth, Keith Sergott. Assistant referees -- Doug Martinson, Ben Cobb.