In its most momentous game of the season, when losing and thus getting swept on the road would have bordered on disastrous, UAA didn't have to rely solely on its top-tier players to kick-start its offense.
The peripheral crew came through.
Buoyed by the first multi-point game of junior winger Andrew Pettitt's career, and multi-point performances from junior defenseman Derek Docken and freshman winger Dylan Hubbs, UAA thumped Lake Superior State (Mich.), 5-2, on Saturday night.
The Seawolves scored their most goals in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association road game this season and the most they have scored all season against a team not named Alabama-Huntsville (1-28-1).
Their four second-period goals, which included two in a span of 13 seconds and three in 3:45 at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, tied for the most goals they have scored in a period this season.
And their 39 shots on goal marked their most against a team other than Alabama-Huntsville.
All that offense was backstopped by senior goaltender Rob Gunderson, who had not started a game in two months but racked 26 saves.
UAA (14-11-3, 10-9-3 WCHA) moved up one spot in the standings, climbing into a tie for fourth place in the 10-team league. The Seawolves split the four-game season series with Lake Superior State (13-14-1, 9-11-0), which remained in ninth place.
Pettitt scored one goal -- he also scored in Friday's 5-3 loss to the Lakers -- and assisted on two others, all in that three-goal flurry in the second period. Remember, it took Pettitt until his 49th career game, earlier this season, to notch his first career goal, and now he has delivered 2-4--6 totals in the last four games.
"Nice to see Pettitt get rewarded,'' texted UAA coach Matt Thomas. "He's been a very good player for a month now.''
Pettitt, by text, said his confidence is growing.
"I've had games where I've been snake-bitten this season, so being able to help the team get two points we needed was a great feeling,'' Pettitt said.
Docken's first goal of the season and his assist generated his second multi-point game as a Seawolf. And Hubbs' goal and helper marked his second multi-point game.
Also, freshman winger Brad Duwe of Soldotna, a walk-on, opened the scoring to give him a goal in both games of the series and three goals in the last eight games.
"It's always important to have your depth contribute on the road, especially versus the match-up game (the home team gets last line change), so it was great to see," Thomas said.
Gunderson, starting after fellow senior Chris Kamal had made 10 straight starts, the most by a UAA goalie this season, showed no signs of rust.
"Gundy was great,'' Thomas said. "Really settled in and looked sharper as the game went on.''
After Duwe banged in his own rebound off the rush to give UAA a 1-0 lead that held through one period, Docken furnished a 2-0 lead five minutes into the second period. His wrist shot from the center point, with Pettitt screening at the edge of the crease, slipped past Kevin Murdock (34 saves).
Bryce Schmitt soon answered for the Lakers, but Pettitt countered when defenseman Austin Coldwell ripped a shot from the left wing off Murdock and the puck tumbled high above the ice. Pettitt drove the net and the puck bounced off him for a 3-1 lead.
"Coach's pre-game notes were to have a double-net drive entering the zone,'' Pettitt texted, "so I drove the net as hard as I could and the puck found my chest, arm or leg and went in.
"I don't even know what it hit but it felt just as good as any other goal.
Just 13 seconds later, Docken's blast from the point rebounded hard off the end boards, off the left skate of Hubbs, who was behind the goal line, and then off Murdock for a 4-1 lead.
"Huge bounce back for the boys tonight!'' Hubbs tweeted. "Now we're rollin!''
Later in the second period, UAA senior captain Matt Bailey one-timed Jordan Kwas' cross-ice, power-play pass top shelf for his team-leading 14th goal and a 5-1 cushion.
That rendered a third-period goal from Lake Superior's Stephen Perfetto mere accounting.
UAA returns home to entertain Bowling Green, the team with which it is tied for fourth place. That marks UAA's final home series of the season unless it secures home ice for the WCHA playoffs. The top four finishers in the regular-season earn home ice.
"Playoffs are approaching and you have to treat every night like a playoff situation coming down the final stretch,'' Pettitt said.
Pettitt fired a game-high six shots on goal and was plus-3.
Docken likewise went plus-3 and Hubbs went plus-2.
Bailey also fired six shots on goal.
Bailey's plus-12 for the season leads the Seawolves. The next best mark is Docken's plus-6
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
UAA 1 4 0 -- 5
LSS 0 1 1 -- 2
First Period -- 1, UAA, Duwe 3 (Sproule, Tatchell), 12:24. Penalties -- Perrault, LSS (roughing), :34; Williams, UAA (roughing), :34; Pettitt, UAA (interference), 15:13; Drapluk, LSS (roughing), 19:16; Coldwell, UAA (roughing), 19:16; Loesch, LSS (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:16.
Second Period -- 2, UAA, Docken 1 (Rassell, Pettitt), 5:37; 3, LSS, Schmitt 5 (Ciotti, Loesch), 7:58; 4, UAA, Pettitt 3 (Coldwell, Hubbs), 10:46; 5, UAA, Hubbs 4 (Docken, Pettitt), 10:59; 6, UAA, Bailey 14 (Kwas, Tatchell), 14:31 (pp). Penalties -- Loesch, LSS (roughing), 11:38; Bailey, UAA (roughing), 12:19; Czuczman, LSS, major-game misconduct (face-masking), 12:58; Docken, UAA, major-game misconduct (face-masking), 12:58; Globke, UAA (roughing), 12:58; Cameron, UAA (roughing), 12:58; Perfetto, LSS (roughing), 12:58; Bailey, UAA (boarding), 18:43.
Third Period -- 7, LSS, Perfetto 4 (Globke, Radke), :47. Penalties -- Hubbs, UAA (slashing), 2:13; Cameron, UAA (slashing), 14:31.
Shots on goal -- UAA 16-17-9--39. LSS 10-9-9--28.
Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 1 of 3. LSS 0 of 4.
Goalies -- UAA, Gunderson, 6-5-1 (28 shots-26 saves). LSS, Murdock, 6-9-0 (39 shots-34 saves).
A -- 2,058 (4,000). T -- 2:23.
Referees -- Kevin Langseth, Keith Sergott. Assistant referees -- Paul Tunison, Ryan Gordon.
By DOYLE WOODY