The power play is a strange beast. Sometimes, no matter what a team does, it can't score with a man advantage, i.e. UAA. At other times, the puck seems to find openings all the time, i.e., the Gophers.
Special teams were the main difference on Friday in Anchorage, where the Gophers stomped on the Seawolves 4-0, scoring four times on six power-play opportunties. UAA was 0-for-2 with an extra man. For the season, the Seawolves are 1-for-21 on the pp, a lowly 4.8 percent. That puts them last in the WCHA in that category.
The Gophers scored four power-play goals in a split with Minnesota State Mankato and now have eight in their last three games. They are 29.7 percent on e pp, first in the WCHA. Next is conference leader Denver at 21.2 percent.
It took the Gophers five seconds, 1:15, :44 and 2:11 (on a major penalty) to score once they got a man advantage.
Sophomore left winger Kyle Rau, an adept sniper, got the two quick power play goals. He is on the Gophers' top power-play unit as is center Nick Bjugstad, who also had a goal.
The fourth goal was scored by defenseman Ben Marshall.
Coach Don Lucia continues to lean on freshman goalie Adam Wicox, who could have read a book and sat in a rocking chair, snacking on milk and cookies in the opener of this series in the 49th state. he faced two shots in the first 20 minutes, five in the second period, seven in the third when he had a comfortable four-goal cushion.
The Don could certainly throw Wilcox back out there on Saturday night, but this might also be a good spot to play junior Mike Shibrowski. He has sat a while and it's not good if he becomes too rusty. Sure, the Seawolves will try to come up with a better effort, but the Gophers seem to be the better team.
* One strength of the Gophers this seaosn has been their ability to stay out of the penalty box. They lead the WCHA in fewest penalty minutes per game and played another clean game Friday: Four minor penalties for eight minutes. UAA had eight penalites for 27 minutes and that was their undoing.
* Third-line center Travis Boyd led the Gophers in shots on goal with six. Rau, Bjugstad and Erik Haula had four apiece.
* The Gophers (3-2-0) are tied for second place in the WCHA with Colorado College (3-0-0) and St. Cloud State (3-2-0). All have six points. Denver (4-1-0) is alone in first with eight.
* Junior Chris Kamal, who beat the Gophers three times as a freshman, had 27 saves for UAA. His saves: 6-8-13-27.
* Attendance at Sullivan Arena was not good, only 2,674 even though half-price tickets were being pushed on game day. Sullivan can hold 6,251. ... The game took two hours, 16 minutes.
* Center Erik Haula and defenseman Nate Schmidt each had two assists for the Gophers.