|Updated 11:40 p.m., Falcon hockey sweeps Anchorage (11-2-13)|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Saturday, 02 November 2013 21:37|
The Falcons — on a night they weren’t at their best — earned a 1-0 win over Alaska-Anchorage to complete a sweep of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. BOX SCORE
Tomas Sholl stopped 16 shots and Brent Tate scored in the first period off a terrific play by Dan DeSalvo for the Falcons, who are 2-0 in league play for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
The Falcons held a 25-16 edge in shots, but had to grind out a win to improve to 4-2-2 overall. UAA is 3-3, 0-2.
“Good teams find a way to win,” said Tate, who scored from the right side of the slot with 8:10 left in the period. “At times, we were struggling, but we found a way to win.”
The Falcons were fourth in the WCHA coaches poll, but believe they’ll contend with No. 16 Minnesota State and Ferris State for the league title.
BG’s next six games are against those two teams, including trips to both schools.
The Falcons finish November at No. 12 Lake Superior.
UAA was ninth in the coaches poll for the 10-team league.
“You don’t see a lot of sweeps, no matter what league you’re in,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “There are a lot of splits going on and when you take two on a weekend, you’re making up ground on people.”
“I know it’s early, but these games are going to matter at the end of the year,” Bergeron added. “The next six, eight games is the hardest stretch of our season.”
DeSalvo fed Tate after a 1-on-5 rush that began with Ralf Freibergs’ pass in the neutral zone. DeSalvo beat the Seawolves on the left side, continued to the area behind the net, skated back to the left side and fed a perfect pass to Tate.
Tate was unnoticed by UAA as he joined the play late on a line change. He fired the puck into the top right corner of the net.
DeSalvo has eight assists and 10 points in eight games.
“It was a big-time play,” Bergeron said.
BG played a strong first period after dominating Friday’s game en route to a 6-1 win.
But UAA competed hard and was significantly improved in Game 2 as BG wasn’t as sharp over the final 40 minutes.
“The second period, we just got way too loose,” Bergeron said. “I didn’t think our first period was bad. Our third wasn’t bad. We don’t want to be striving for it to be not bad. We want to be striving to be great every period. We didn’t play to that level tonight.”
Sholl and BG's solid team defense protected the lead. Sholl made a breakaway save on UAA’s Hudson Friesen 4:39 into the second period.
Friesen went to the backhand on the right side of the crease, but Sholl stayed with him and the freshman easily made the save.
The shutout was the second for Sholl, who has a 2.26 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in four games.
“I hadn’t seen a shot in a while, so I just had to make sure I was ready, challenging him,” Sholl said. “He got in close and pushed it right into me."
The Falcons were 5-of-5 on the penalty-kill, the last two coming in the third period.
The last came with 2:29 remaining after Jose Delgadillo was called for tripping to prevent a breakaway. The last 29 seconds of the power play were cut short by a UAA penalty.
UAA had just two shots in 6:57 with the man advantage.
“I liked the way we killed penalties,” Bergeron said. “We’re doing things with a purpose. We weren’t scrambling. We were under control. “
“We have a want factor,” Tate said of the penalty-killing. “We’re keeping it simple ... winning 1-on-1 battles ... and blocking shots.”
Bergeron had no word on the condition of BG’s Connor Kucera. The junior defenseman hit his head hard on the boards after he was hit by a UAA player with a minute left. He first got up, but fell back down and was helped off the ice.
“He seemed to be walking fine and talking to us,” Bergeron said, adding Kucera would undergo further examination over the next 24-48 hours.
Kucera later posted on Twitter Saturday night that he was “doing well.”
|Last Updated on Monday, 04 November 2013 10:23|
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