Seawolves get beaten for third

Posted: Sunday, March 21, 2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Duluth showed flashes of the offensive depth that helped them finish near the top of the WCHA, scoring four unanswered goals to beat surprising Alaska Anchorage 4-2 Saturday.

With the win, the Bulldogs (26-12-4) claimed third place in the WCHA Final Five for the second consecutive season.

''We didn't play a great game, but we did what we had to do to get a win and end the weekend on a positive note,'' said Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin. His team is a lock to get an invite to the NCAA tournament when the field of 16 is announced on Sunday. ''The guys found a way to get enough pucks past (Anchorage goaltender Kevin) Reiter and end on a positive note heading into next weekend.''

Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Duluth got power-play goals by Evan Schwabe and Junior Lessard, and a short-handed goal by Luke Stauffacher. Lessard's goal was his 28th of the season tops in the nation.

But Lessard suffered a leg injury later in the second period on a check by the Seawolves' Brandon Segal. He did not return to the game and will be evaluated when the team gets back to Duluth.

''Special teams did us in,'' said Seawolves coach John Hill. ''When you allow two power-play goals and a short-handed goal, you don't give yourself much of a chance.''

Alaska Anchorage (14-23-3) scored the game's first goal on a slap shot by Curtis Glencross in the first period. They were then held scoreless until the final seconds of the game. Reiter made 36 saves in his final collegiate game.

Bryan McGregor gave Minnesota Duluth a 4-1 lead in the third with his fourth goal of the season, but the Seawolves answered with 17.1 seconds remaining on a Vladimir Novak goal.

Bulldogs goalie Josh Johnson finished with 25 saves.

North Dakota 4, Alaska Anchorage 2

ST. PAUL, Minn. For the most part, North Dakota coach Dean Blais was happy with his team's 4-2 win over upstart Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA Final Five semifinals.

But the way Friday's game ended, with multiple roughing calls resulting in a standing-room penalty box, has him concerned about the Sioux's momentum going into Saturday's championship game against the Minnesota Gophers, who beat Minnesota Duluth 7-4 to advance.

''It was definitely not a good third period, when we lost our discipline,'' said Blais, whose Sioux won the WCHA regular season title.

''A lot of times, the way you play in the third period is the way you play the next night,'' he said. ''If that's an indication of the way we'll play, I don't care if it's Duluth or Minnesota, we'll get beat.''

Blais turned out to be right, as Minnesota topped the Sioux 5-4 Saturday for the WCHA title.

With less than five minutes remaining and the Sioux leading 4-1, a scrum broke out in the North Dakota defensive zone, resulting in two players from each side getting four-minute roughing penalties.

Less than a minute later, another pile-up near the benches sent even more to the penalty boxes.

Other than that, North Dakota did all it could to end Alaska's improbable post-season run.

The Sioux had a 45-24 edge in shots over the Seawolves, playing their fifth game in eight days after upsetting Wisconsin in a first-round series and doing the same to Colorado College in Thursday's play-in game.

''My goal when I took the job three years ago was to build a program that's competitive,'' said Anchorage coach John Hill. ''I think we are getting there. I've very proud of our guys' effort coming back on short rest.''

The Seawolves, who finished eighth in the regular season, beat Colorado College 4-1 Thursday night to advance to Friday's game against North Dakota.

The game turned late in the second period, with the Sioux ahead 3-1 and Alaska on the power play. North Dakota killed it off, and Ryan Hale reversed any momentum the Seawolves had by getting past the defense, faking Chris Hill out of the crease and backhanding the puck into the empty net.

''We were trying to get it in deep and all of a sudden, I was behind the defense,'' said Hale, who's scored twice in North Dakota's last four games.

The Sioux beat Minnesota three times in four meetings this season.

Brady Murray got North Dakota on the board late in the first period, taking a pass from Zach Parise after Brandon Bochenski pounced on a loose puck just inside the blue line.

Jordan Parise set the tone in the first period, denying Anchorage (14-22-3) twice on odd-man rushes in the game's first 8 minutes. Chris King also was sharp early on, stopping 15 first-period shots on his way to 41 saves. Less than 24 hours earlier, King stopped 44 shots in the Seawolves' win over Colorado College.

McMahon touched off North Dakota's three-goal outburst in the second period when he knocked in a rebound of a shot by Hale. Zach Parise poked the puck just inside the post midway through the second for a 3-0 North Dakota lead.

Curtis Glencross gave the Seawolves life with a power-play goal midway through the second period. But they couldn't score again until Lee Green's unassisted goal with less than three minutes remaining in the game.



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