GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Alaska Anchorage netminder Chris Kamal made a career-high-tying 30 saves in net, but it wasn’t enough as No. 4-ranked North Dakota opened up Western Collegiate Hockey Association play with a 4-1 win in front of 11, 446 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Following a scoreless opening stanza, North Dakota (2-1-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) peppered the Seawolves (2-2-1, 0-1-0 WCHA) with three goals in the first half of the second, before senior forward Alex Gellert (Kelwona, B.C.) gave UAA its lone goal, just 22 seconds before UND netted its fourth.
After leading 14-2 for shots on goal in the first, North Dakota was able to capitalize in the first seven minutes of the second frame. Corbin Knight opened the scoring with his first of the season at 1:10 when he attempted to pass out from behind the net and hit freshman Blake Leask’s skate for the 1-0 lead.
At 4:46, UND’s Rocco Grimaldi set up a 2-on-1 and connected with Drake Caggiula, before Carter Rowney tipped Dillon Simpson’s shot from the point at 6:58 on the man advantage.
The Seawolves, who led UND in face-offs 28-21, saw a Grade A scoring chance at 14:27 when Gellert stripped the puck from the defense and entered the North Dakota zone on a partial breakaway. Zane Gothberg, making his first collegiate start, made the stop but Gellert would get his retribution later following a 2-on-2 man rush.
Rookie Blake Tatchell (North Battleford, Saskatchewan) patiently skated through the UND zone and got a shot off on Gothberg, who the made the initial save. With UND scrambling in front of the net and Gothberg low and out of position, Gellert fired high to end the shutout at 15:39. Sophomore Kory Roy also assisted on Gellert’s third of the season.
Just 22 seconds later, North Dakota responded at 16:01 with a sniper shot by Derek Forbort returning UND to its three-goal lead.
Kamal, from Alpharetta, Ga., tied his career-high from Jan. 29, 2011 against Minnesota with 30 stops, while Gothbert turned aside 17. UND outshot UAA, 34-18.
Both the Seawolves and North Dakota were whistled for five penalties, serving 10 minutes, with UND scoring the only power-play tally.
SEAWOLF NOTES: Alex Gellert, who has a team-high-tying three goals and a two-game goal streak, has already bypassed his goal total from the past two seasons combined and is currently tied with his rookie season in 2009-10.
Solid goaltending by Alaska Anchorage’s Rob Gunderson helped the Seawolves to a 3-3 tie with No. 4-ranked North Dakota in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game on Saturday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Seawolves (2-2-2, 0-1-1 WCHA), which led twice throughout the game and trailed once, registered their first league point of the season, while North Dakota (2-1-1, 1-0-1) remained undefeated in league play with three points.
It was the Seawolves who struck first with an even-strength tally by sophomore forward Scott Allen at 4:05. Rookie defenseman Austin Sevalrud picked up his first collegiate point after firing from the left point where Allen deflected the shot for his team-leading fourth of the season. Senior forward Alex Gellert was credited with the second assist.
At 13:39 of the first, Corbin Knight deadlocked it at 1-1 with a backhanded shot from Danny Kristo, before UND took the lead at 12:55 of the second with a rebound tally by Rocco Grimaldi.
Scoring his first of the season and first collegiate shorthanded goal was senior Tyler Currier at 3:19 of the third. A local of Anchorage, Currier capitalized on a turnover from freshman Jordan Schmaltz and beat netminder Clarke Saunders five-hole.
The Seawolves took the lead for the second time off a point shot from senior Jordan Kwas. Furnishing his second of the season, Kwas fired from inside the blueline, through traffic and beat a screened Saunders at 10:25. Sophomore forward Kory Roy and junior center Matt Bailey picked up the assists.
With Saunders on the bench for the extra attacker, Derek Forbort fired on net and found mesh with the game-tying goal at 18:52.
Gunderson came up huge for UAA, stopping many Grade A scoring chances from North Dakota throughout the game. Overall, Gunderson (Lethbridge, Alberta) made a season-high 30 saves and remains undefeated on the season at 1-0-2. Saunders, a transfer from Alabama-Huntsville, made 27 stops. The Seawolves posted a season-high 27 shots in regulation and 30 overall, while UND hit Gunderson with 33 shots.
Both teams were scoreless on two power-play opportunities.
The Seawolves will go on the first of two bye weekends in the month of November, before hosting ranked Minnesota on Nov. 9-10 for their WCHA home opener. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:07 p.m. both nights.
SEAWOLF NOTES: With the assist, Gellert is currently enjoying a career-high-tying three-game point streak (2-1-3), already tying last season’s point total. Allen (4-1-5) has bypassed the goal total from his rookie campaign. Currier’s shorty was his first career goal against North Dakota in what will be UAA’s and UND’s final meeting