University of Alaska Anchorage hockey player Max Helgeson spent the 2021-22 season playing for Lindenwood University in Missouri.
So when Helgeson’s current team met his former team at Seawolf Sports Arena on Friday night, there was reason to believe his old teammates might be familiar with his game.
But that familiarity didn’t into translate into any advantage as the sophomore from Anchorage notched a hat trick in a shootout win for the Seawolves over Lindenwood. The game was officially recorded as a 7-7 tie for both teams, but UAA won the shootout 3-2 after a scoreless overtime period.
“I don’t think there’s necessarily an advantage or disadvantage,” said Helgeson, who transferred to UAA before the season. “I guess they know a little bit of my tendencies from playing with me. But come game time, everything moves so fast you can’t do much.”
Helgeson got the scoring started in the first period with an unassisted goal, helping UAA to a 2-1 lead after the first period. He added a goal in the second period with an assist from UAA goalie Joey Lamoreaux. The second period was a wild one with each team scoring four goals, leaving the score at 6-5 heading into the third period. In total, 11 UAA players notched a point in the game.
UAA’s Brandon Lajoie scored his second goal of the game with four minutes to play in the second period, finding the net after a face-off for a 6-3 Seawolves lead. But Lindenwood scored three straight goals, tying it up 6-6 late in the third.
“It was two teams that were very opportunistic tonight,” UAA head coach Matt Shasby said. “There weren’t a ton of chances back and forth, but both teams were executing on the chance they did get.”
Helgeson notched a go-ahead goal for a 7-6 UAA lead with 2:13 remaining to complete the hat trick.
“It was fun,” he said. “It’s always fun to play against your buddies but the battle to compete is always there and are no friends on the ice.”
But his former teammates weren’t ready to cede to the Seawolves and pulled the goalie, scoring the game-tying goal from Kyle Jeffers with 31 seconds left in the third period to force overtime.
Helgeson kept it going in the shootout, scoring on the team’s first attempt. UAA won the shootout on the fourth attempt, taking a 3-2 win.
With their season wrapping up this weekend, the Seawolves are playing a solid stretch of hockey that included recent wins against Long Island University and Arizona State. After trying to incorporate new players in their first season after full reinstatement, Helgeson said the team is finding an identity.
“You can’t get everybody pulling the same rope from the get-go,” he said. “I think since Christmas break, guys have built up a lot of confidence and figured out our style of play. When we play the way we want to, we can play with the best of them.”
Matt Johnson and Caleb Hite also scored goals for UAA, and Lamoreaux had 26 saves. Shasby said the team, which is 7-19-1, has made strides in many areas over the course of the return season.
“The development of the freshmen coming in, getting good goaltending and everybody kind of finding their role and dialing in special teams,” he said. “It’s the evolution of a hockey team, and I think that the success has come because of the development and all those different areas.”
UAA hosts Lindenwood at 7 p.m. Saturday at Seawolf Sports Complex in its final game of the season.