FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Special teams proved to be the University of Maine men’s hockey team’s undoing Friday night.
The University of Alaska-Anchorage scored a pair of power-play goals, including sophomore center Craig Parkinson’s game-winner with 3:44 left in the second period, and the Seawolves killed off all eight Maine power plays to beat the Black Bears 3-1 in the Brice Alaska Goal Rush Tournament.
Alaska-Anchorage improved to 2-1 while Maine was playing its opener.
Maine will play Alaska-Fairbanks tonight at 11:35.
The Seawolves went 2-for-5 on the power play to improve to 7-for-25 on the season.
Included in the Seawolves’ penalty-killing success was a two-man disadvantage that spanned 1:27 midway through the first period with the score tied 1-1.
“There were a lot of things we liked as coaches, but what we didn’t do well is get the puck to the net. We didn’t get it to the third circle and they did and it cost us the game,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead, referring to an imaginary circle in front of each net between the two faceoff circles.
“We had good possession [in the offensive zone on the power play], but [UAA] did a tremendous job blocking our shots,” added Whitehead, who noted that his team attempted 62 shots but only had 29 of them get to the net.
UAA attempted 45 shots with 30 going on goal, he said.
“We were shooting into their players’ pads and bodies [especially on the power play],” said Maine senior defenseman and co-captain Simon Danis-Pepin. “We’ve got to be quicker getting our shots off. We’ve got to shoot the puck as soon as we get it. We don’t have time to dangle with the puck.”
Maine freshman right wing Gustav Nyquist opened the scoring 3:35 into the game, but Kevin Clark equalized on the power play 3:41 later.
Josh Lunden iced it with 45 seconds left in the third period.
Lunden pounced on a loose puck in the high slot following a Maine turnover, burst in alone on Maine goalie Dave Wilson and slid the puck between his pads.
Nyquist scored his first collegiate goal by gathering in a pass from Spencer Abbott and having his pass hit a UAA defenseman’s skate and deflect between UAA goalie Jon Olthuis’ skates.
Tanner House and Abbott picked up assists.
Clark tied it off a rebound.
Luka Vidmar’s wrister from the midpoint was saved by Wilson, but he couldn’t control it. It dropped to the ice where the alert Clark gathered it in, skated around Wilson and tucked it inside the far post.
Parkinson’s game-winner was initiated by a give-and-go involving Clark and Paul Crowder in the left circle.
Clark wound up taking the puck to net and backhanding it to the far post where the unattended Parkinson tapped it past the helpless Wilson.
Maine had a great chance to tie it with 5:35 remaining in the third period, but Abbott’s 20-footer off a Nyquist pass glanced off the post where the crossbar and post intersect.
“I tried to go high to the glove side, but I missed by an inch or two,” said Abbott. “I thought it went in [at first].”
He said the Bears tried to make “a few too many passes” on the power play instead of shooting the puck more.
Danis-Pepin said the Bears were “off a notch on every little thing,” but he felt the team played well defensively.
“That was a big part of our game plan,” said Danis-Pepin.
“We played well but not well enough,” said Whitehead, who was pleased with his team’s discipline.
Olthuis finished with 28 saves for the winners while Wilson stopped 27 shots.
Whitehead said he will make some lineup changes. Freshman Scott Darling will get the start in goal and senior right wing and co-captain Jeff Marshall will be in the lineup.
Winger Nick Payson and defenseman Mike Banwell are also likely to be included in the lineup, he indicated.
SEAWOLVES 3, BLACK BEARS 1
Maine (0-1) 1 0 0 – 1
Alaska-Anchorage (2-1) 1 1 1 – 3
First period – 1. Maine, Nyquist 1 (House, Abbott), 3:35; 2. UAA, Clark 1 (Vidmar, Bales), 7:16 (pp). Penalties: Maine, Nyquist, tripping, 6:50; UAA, Selby, hooking, 8:29; UAA, Parkinson, slashing, 9:02; Maine, Dimmen, cross-checking, 10:59; UAA, Parkinson, elbowing, 15:51.
Second period – 3. UAA, Parkinson 2 (Clark, Crowder), 16:16 (pp). Penalties: UAA, Lafranchise, hooking, :18; UAA, Selby, hitting from behind, 2:51; UAA, Portwood, tripping, 10:52; Maine, Hegarty, elbowing, 15:43; Maine, Nyquist, interference, 18:06; UAA, Grant, slashing, 19:53.
Third period – 4. UAA, Lunden 3 (unassisted), 19:15. Penalties: UAA, Wiles, interference, 6:44; Maine, Duffy, holding, 11:12; Maine, Abbott, roughing, 20:00; UAA, Hunt, roughing, 20:00.
Shots on goal: Maine 13-10-6-29; UAA 12-8-10-30
Goaltenders: Maine, Wilson (30 shots-27 saves); UAA, Olthuis (29-28)
Power-play opportunities: Maine 0 of 8, UAA 2 of 5