Fri. Final: UW Hockey 3, Alaska-Anchorage 2
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak thought his team controlled the game at even strength. He got no argument from his Wisconsin counterpart, Mike Eaves.
Wisconsin held on for a 3-2 victory over No. 15 Alaska-Anchorage on Friday thanks to second-period power-play goals by Blake Geoffrion and Derek Stepan, but the Seawolves owned the shots on goal battle, 37-24.
"Look at the shots," Eaves said. "Look at the battles won. It's simple. You don't need to go any further than that."
Shane Connelly made 35 saves for the Badgers (8-7-2, 6-5-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association), who lost both Geoffrion and defenseman Jake Gardiner to injuries in the game.
It will be a game-day decision on whether Gardiner plays in Saturday's series finale after he absorbed a crushing, open-ice check from Seawolves captain Mat Robinson with about four minutes remaining in the first period.
Geoffrion's injury appeared more serious, and Eaves said it was doubtful that the center would be in the lineup Saturday. He needed help to get off the ice after his left leg folded underneath him after being checked by Alaska-Anchorage's Tyler Moir in the second period.
Wisconsin's athletic trainer and team doctor attended to Geoffrion as he rolled on the ice in pain.
The Badgers built a 3-0 lead when defenseman Cody Goloubef scored his first goal of the season 21 seconds after Stepan's power-play goal.
Beloit, Wis., native Sean Wiles scored a third-period goal for Alaska-Anchorage (7-6-2, 4-5-2), which fell to 4-12-1 in regular season games at the Kohl Center.
Trevor Hunt added a power-play goal to cut the Seawolves' deficit to 3-2, and they had a great chance to tie the game in the final minute, but Connelly stopped Josh Lunden on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break.
"When you go down, 2-0, 3-0, obviously it's hard to come back," Shyiak said. "But I thought our guys did a courageous job coming back in the third period, making it a game. We were within inches of tying it up and potentially winning it."
Seeing that Goloubef had Lunden's passing lane covered, Connelly took a step out to cut down on Lunden's shooting angle on the late 2-on-1 chance. The Seawolves winger fired into Connelly's chest with 52.8 seconds remaining.
"We've got to thank Shane for this one," Goloubef said.
Bryce Christianson made 21 saves for the Seawolves, but the goaltender allowed three goals on the first 13 shots he faced.
Wisconsin moved above .500 for the first time since starting last season's playoffs 15-14-7. Since starting the season 0-6-1, the Badgers are 8-1-1.
Their special teams came through in the second period, scoring twice and killing an extended Seawolves two-man advantage.
Michael Davies set up both power-play goals, feeding Geoffrion from the left corner on the first and Stepan on the left wing on the second.
In between, Wisconsin killed 1:52 of an Alaska-Anchorage 5-on-3 advantage following penalties to the Badgers' Brendan Smith and Aaron Bendickson.
The Seawolves got three shots on goal during the two-man power play and Wisconsin was credited with two shot blocks.
"It certainly gave them a little bit of a lift, but I thought we carried the game 5-on-5," Shyiak said. "I thought physically we were good. Obviously, we didn't give them a whole lot of shots. We probably doubled the scoring chances on them."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)