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Surging UAA short on time in hunt for WCHA playoff spot

  • Author: Doyle Woody
  • Updated: February 15, 2017
  • Published February 15, 2017

Of the bottom six teams in the 10-team Western Collegiate Hockey Association — and only the top four of those will make the playoffs — UAA is tied for the third-best record over its past 10 league games.

The Seawolves are 3-3-4 in that stretch and they are 6-6-4 in their last 16 league games. Plus, they're coming off a win and an overtime loss at Lake Superior State, which rates as a successful weekend.

But the Seawolves are running out of time as they head into a road series at Ferris State in Michigan. Four games remain on their schedule, they're four points out of a playoff position and they still sit in last place.

"We're doing our part, but so are other teams in the hunt,'' said UAA coach Matt Thomas.

UAA owns 26 points in 24 league games. UAF (30 points in 24 games) and Alabama-Huntsville (30 in 26) are tied for eighth. And Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State are tied for sixth, each with 31 points in 24 games. And fifth-place Ferris State owns 32 points in 24 games.

So, the bottom six teams are separated by six points and all, which the exception of Alabama-Huntsville, have 12 points remaining on the table.

UAA has earned 23 of a possible 48 points in its last 16 league games to bounce back after it earned three points of a possible 24 in its first eight league games.

The front end of the Seawolves' current four-game road trip went well. They trailed 2-1 in the second period Friday at Lake Superior State and rallied for a 3-2 win worth three points. They trailed three times Saturday — 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 — before gaining a tie and then falling in 3-on-3 overtime to secure on point.

"We played well, we battled back,'' Thomas said.

Also, the Seawolves' seven goals were their most in a series this season. And their three power-play goals, including two Saturday, were the most they've racked in a series.

Thomas said UAA needs more of the same against the Bulldogs. The Seawolves beat the Bulldogs and then lost to them in a shootout in Anchorage last month.

"We're going to need absolutely stud goaltending, which we always need,'' Thomas said. "We need Mason Mitchell to stay hot and we've got our power play going, and we need to keep it going.''

Mitchell, a sophomore winger, bagged three goals at Lake Superior State and eight of his team-high 10 goals have come in his last 11 games.

Seawolves notes

UAA will need to keep close watch on the Ferris State line of center Corey Mackin and wingers Gerald Mayhew and Jared VanWormer. Mackin (1-3—4), Mayhew (2-3—5) and VanWormer (3-2—5) have combined for 14 points in the last four games.

The Seawolves have received a commitment from forward Jordan Xavier of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Okotoks Oilers. He owns 23-27—50 totals in 49 games this season and is scheduled to join UAA in the fall. Xavier Tweeted his commitment.

UAA previously received a commitment from high-scoring defenseman Eric Sinclair of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Flin Flon Bombers. He owns 16-30—46 totals in 40 games and leads the league's blueliners in all three scoring categories.


7-17-6, 6-12-6 WCHA


Ferris State

10-17-4, 9-12-3 WCHA

Friday, Saturday, 3:07 p.m. AST

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