Will this be payback weekend in Anchorage? The Gophers (5-1-0, 2-0-0) will try to remain unbeaten in the WCHA while Alaska Anchorage (3-2-1. 0-2-0) will try to win its first conference game.
Last season UAA swept the Gophers in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, ending their seaosn. So the Gophers should be fired up for this series.
Scouting Alaska Anchorage ... here are UNO's edited game reports on its sweep over UAA in Omaha, Neb., last weekend ... with comments below each:
Nebraska Omaha 3, Alaska Anchorage 1
The Seawolves took the early advantage at CenturyLink Center. Off a turnover at the UNO blue line, Mitch Bruijsten got free and cut across the slot. His sharp-angle shot beat Mavericks goalie John Faulkner at three minutes, 21 seconds.
UNO responded less than three minutes later. Terry Broadhurst put a pin-point pass on the stick of Matt White who raced ahead with Alex Hudson on a two-on-one. White beat UAA goalie Chris Kamal with a wrist shot just inside the far post for a 1-1 tie.
The Mavericks took their first lead just past the halfway mark of the second period. Josh Archibald carried the puck down the right wing and dropped the puck to defenseman Andrej Sustr who scored his second goal in as many games.
Midway through the third, UNO went ahead 3-1. Ryan Walters chased down a loose puck in the UAA zone and fired a pass to the net. Jayson Megna fought off a defender and poked home the puck for his first collegiate goal.
Faulkner stopped 20 shots to improve to 3-2-0. Kamal turned aside 37 shots in falling to 2-1-0.
Comments: UAA scores its only goal off a turnover. ... Coach Don Lucia keeps saying the Seawolves like to stay back on defense and counter-attack. ... Chris Kamal is the goalie who beat the Gophers three times last season. Kamal, now a sophomore, had a 1-0 shutout win at Mariucci on Jan. 29 and beat them 4-3 and 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
In that first playoff game last March, UAA took a 3-0 lead before the Gophers rallied to tie the score at 3-3. ... Big memory from those games is blocked shots; UAA blocked 25 shots in each game. That's a ton.
Nebraska Omaha 4, Alaska Anchorage 1
UNO erupted for three goals in the third period to pull away from Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA opener for both teams.The Mavericks ended a three-game losing streak and avenged a loss to the Seawolves last weekend.
UNO held a 1-0 lead for more than two periods before finally getting some breathing room. Matt White carried the puck into the zone, drew the defense to him and then slid the puck to Terry Broadhurst who lifted a shot past goalie Rob Gunderson to make it 2-0.
Just 43 seconds later, the Mavs made it 3-0. Brock Montpetit created a turnover at center ice and off of it Zahn Raubenheimer scored off a shot from the right wing.
White scored into an empty net with 4:22 to play while the Mavs were shorthanded to make it 4-0 UNO. Mickey Spencer slid home a sharp-angle shot for his fifth goal of the year to make it 4-1 with 2:22 left.
The Mavericks opened the scoring just 2:05 into the first period. Johnnie Searfoss carried the puck deep into the zone and dumped the puck back to Andrej Sustr. The big defenseman fired a slapshot under Gunderson for his first goal of the season.
Faulkner earned his second win of the year with 18 saves while Gunderson made 23 in the loss.
Comments: Coach Dave Shyiak gambled early in this game. With his team down 3-0, he pulled his goalie for a six-on-four but got stung. ... He rotated his sophomore goalies this weekend. ... Both teams had trouble scoring on the power-play, UAA was zero for five, UNO zero for six. ... But the Seawolves still block shots; they had 22 in this game.
If the name Mickey Spencer sounds familiar, it should. He scored the first goal for UAA in its' 2-0 victory over the Gophers in the second game of their opening round WCHA playoff series. Spencer scored at 2:32 of the third period. It was the first goal of the season for the fourth-line player. Now he has five goals, so the Gophers need to watch him.
Weekend WCHA schedule
Colorado College at Rensselaer, 6 pm
Denver at Michigan Tech, 6 pm
Bemidji State at Minnesota Duluth, 7 pm
Nebraska Omaha at Wisconsin, 7 pm
St. Cloud State at North Dakota, 7:30 pm
Minnesota at Alaska Anchorage, 10 pm
Same pairings, same times except St. Cloud State at North Dakota, 7 pm