UAA Athletics

UAA men’s hockey uses most potent offensive outing in decades to sweep Stonehill

Less than a week after the University of Alaska Anchorage men’s hockey team had its four-game winning streak snapped in a shutout on the road, the Seawolves (13-16-2) bounced back in a major way on their home ice, with a 9-3 victory over visiting Stonehill on Friday night at the Avis Alaska Sports Complex.

“Anytime you get shut out, you want to have a good response and find the back of the net and hopefully get a couple guys going,” UAA head coach Matt Shasby said.

The result of the first in a two-game series marked the highest-scoring game in program history since March 6, 1993, when they defeated Alabama Huntsville 10-1. The Seawolves followed up that win with a 12-2 victory Saturday, recording their home sweep since Jan. 10-11, 2014.

“It was a little bit of a track meet but some guys were able to finish,” Shasby said following Friday’s game. “It was one of those games where the coach closes his eyes and waits until it’s over.”

On Friday, the Seawolves saw six players get in on the red-hot scoring action, but leading the charge was senior forward Ben Almquist, who pulled off the first hat trick of his collegiate career.

“You always want to score a hat trick when you’re in college before you graduate, and being able to do it with only a handful of games left was really special, and I’m glad I was able to check that off my collegiate list,” Almquist said.

He recorded a goal in each period with the first coming at the 14:39 mark in the opening period, the second at the 14:12 mark in the following period, and the third with just 3:03 left in the game.


“I’m very proud of him and how he is closing out his college hockey career,” Shasby said. “He has been great for us since he came up here. We’re very thankful that he joined us last year, he is having an excellent senior year, and we’re excited to see where hockey takes him.”

Almquist wants to play professional hockey after his collegiate career comes to an end but doesn’t know where that’ll be just yet.

“I’m going to keep my options open and go have an experience for a couple years,” he said.

Freshman forward Riley Thompson was the second leading goal scorer with a pair of goals. Fellow underclassman Aiden Westin of Anchorage also scored, marking his fourth time finding the back of the net in the team’s last eight games as he continues to have a strong second half of the season.

“He’s one of those guys where the first half of the year was a crash course in college hockey, and he has done a nice job settling in, and we’re going to look for big things in the future,” Shasby said.

Before the start of the new year, the Seawolves’ record was 6-13-1. Now, since returning from winter break, they’ve won eight of their last 12 games.

“We were just finding each other and making a lot of really nice passes and making sure that we were putting pucks in the net,” Almquist said. “I think that we’ve done a really good job in the second half (of the season) creating a lot of opportunities, but they haven’t really fallen a lot.”

He credits stronger chemistry within the team on and off the ice as the key to their growing success compared to the first half of the season.

“Every year, you hope the team gets better as the year goes along, and you see development in your younger guys and you see the leadership kind of take over the room,” Shasby said. “I felt like coming out of Christmas break, that was the goal, and our leadership has done an excellent job getting us to where we are right now.”

While the nine-goal output on Friday was bigger than any since 1993, the 12 goal explosion on Saturday forced historians to dig back even further into the record books.

The Seawolves hadn’t reached that total since they defeated Alabama Huntsville 15-4 on Dec. 13, 1992. Anchorage’s Max Helgeson scored three goals and added three assists. The six points were the most by a UAA player since Doug Spooner put up eight points (three goals, five assists) against Gustavus Adolphus on Feb. 4, 1988.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.