MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The MacNaughton Cup Champions and No. 4/5-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers ended the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves’ season with a 7-3 win in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association First Round Playoffs at Mariucci Arena on Saturday evening.
The Seawolves (9-25-2) used three power-play goals in the first half of the second for a 3-1 lead before allowing the Gophers (26-12-1) six unanswered goals – two in the second and four in the third – to end UAA’s 2011-12 campaign with the first round sweep.Sophomore forward Matt Bailey furnished UAA’s first tally of the night following a scuttle in front of the net, where he sent a wrist shot by a sliding Kent Patterson. Freshmen Scott Allen and Derek Docken, who missed four games with an ankle injury prior to this weekend, received the helpers on the play.
At 7:11 of the period, the Seawolves received a 2-minute, 5-on-3 power play opportunity. UAA settled into the Gopher zone where sophomore forward Jordan Kwas fired on net and Bailey tipped it in for the Seawovles’ first lead of the weekend and his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Just 23 seconds later, Allen gave UAA a two-goal lead on a 5-on-4 power play. Stationed in front of the net, Allen collected the puck just outside the crease and spun it through Patterson’s five hole for UAA’s third goal on just four shots of the period. The Gophers would take the momentum back, adding two of their own in the final 10 minutes of the period. Zach Budish picked up an even-strength tally at 11:16, before Nick Bjugstad capitalized on Minnesota’s seventh power-play opportunity with 45.1 seconds left in the frame. Minnesota would then add four more – including two by Erik Haula, who scored UM’s two goals on Friday night – in the final stanza for the First Round sweep and a ticket to the WCHA Final Five on March 15-17.
Sophomore goaltender Chris Kamal (4-13-0), who suited up on Friday night as well, posted a combined 63 saves over the weekend, while Patterson (26-12-1) made 32 saves. UAA managed just 19 shots on goal tonight compared to UM’s 38. The Seawolves were 3-for-4 on the man advantage, while the Gophers went 1-for-7.
Minnesota successfully revenged last season’s playoffs where the Seawolves handed the Gophers their first ever sweep in the First Round at Mariucci Arena to earn UAA’s second ever trip to the WCHA Final Five. The Seawolves will say goodbye to seniors Brad Gorham, Curtis Leinweber, Jade Portwood and Dusan Sidor.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Junior center Liam Gibcus had a career night off the bench Saturday but the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team could never overtake longtime rival Seattle Pacific as the Falcons earned an 80-67 victory over the Seawolves in the NCAA Div. II West Regional Men’s Basketball Championships semifinals at Carver Gymnasium. The nationally 16th-ranked and regionally 2nd-seeded Seawolves (23-7) also got a team-high 14 points off the bench from senior Lonnie Ridgeway in his final game in Green & Gold. The Falcons (23-7), meanwhile, got a game-high 21 points and four assists from sophomore point guard David Downs as they advanced to Monday’s regional final against the winner of Western Washington and Chico State.
“It was a great season,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne, who has guided his program to five of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. “I couldn’t be more proud of a bunch of guys. Our bench guys just got in there and battled their tails off to keep us in the game – Liam Gibcus, Marcus Jackson, Lonnie Ridgeway. We battled the whole time just like we have all year. I couldn’t have been more proud of them than if we had won the game.”
Facing the rubber match against SPU – both teams had won at home in the regular season – the Seawolves never got untracked, falling behind 11-3 at the outset and trying to crawl back the rest of the way.
The Seawolves caught a tough break when Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Daktronics West Region Player of the Year Taylor Rohde picked up his second foul with less than three minutes expired in the first half.
Gibcus came to the rescue, however, with eight points and five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, helping UAA trail just 33-30 at the half. The 6-10 junior from Australia finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, while adding three blocked shots.
But the Seawolves – who shot 60 percent in Friday’s first-round win over Montana State Billings – were held to just 37.3 percent (22 of 59) by the Falcons, including just 4 of 17 from three-point range.
Sophomore guard Travis Thompson scored 13 points, while fellow sophomore guard Kyle Fossman tossed in nine points. Rohde – who finishes No. 11 on UAA’s all-time scoring list after just two seasons – played just 11 minutes in his final contest, posting five points and four rebounds before fouling out.
“Taylor Rohde took us on a great ride,” Osborne said. “He had a lot of stuff thrown at him all year, and he kept living up to every challenge. We’re so glad he chose to come to our program and his contributions will be remembered for a long time.
“They (the Seawolves) were a tremendous group all year long, showing tremendous class and effort, win or lose. Now we’ll get to work and try to recruit a couple more impact players and get ready for next year.”
BIG SKY, Mont. – Propelled by three All-America finishes by the men’s and women’s Alpine teams in the slalom races Saturday, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves completed the 59th annual NCAA Skiing Championships in fifth place among the 21 participating teams. The Seawolves, who posted a combined six All-America honors throughout the four-day meet, finished with 519 points. No. 3-ranked Vermont took the team title with 832 points, while No. 1 Utah (671) edged the NCAA defending champion, Colorado (670) by one point. No. 4 Dartmouth finished fourth with 590 points. All six schools from the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association finished in the top eight.
On the final day, UAA was led by the men’s Alpine squad which posted a team-high 93 points by placing their three scorers in the top 15. The Seawolves were led by rookie Sean Alexander, who hails from Calgary, Alberta. Making his NCAA debut, Alexander collected his first All-America honor with an 8th-place showing at one minute, 51.30 seconds. UAA’s lone All-America honor from the Nordic side came from the capable hands of senior Jaime Bronga in the women’s freestyle race. Bronga posted the highest finish by a Seawolf at the meet, earning First-Team honors with a fifth-place showing. The six All-America honors are the most for UAA since the 2010 season, while the fifth-place team finish is the best since the Seawolves posted a program-best fourth in 2009. Vermont’s team championship broke a four-meet streak of RMISA schools taking the team title, while in the last 20 years, RMISA members have been crown victorious 17 times.