BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Alaska-Fairbanks had more than its fair share of chances to score, but Bulldog goaltender Mike Brown pulled off some amazing saves as he backstopped Ferris State to a 4-1 victory over the Nanooks.
“Brown played terrific tonight,” FSU head coach Bob Daniels said. “We were totally undisciplined, and when you play like that you have to have strong goaltending. Good penalty killing starts with excellent goaltending.”
Ferris State (5-4-1, 3-4-1 CCHA) played a very physical hockey game, which created chances for Alaska-Fairbanks (6-5-0, 2-5-0 CCHA).
In the first period, Fairbanks was awarded two power-play opportunities, and a five-on-three chance near the end of the first period. With Brown making the saves look easy through a 16-shot barrage, it was Ferris State who struck first shortly after killing the two-man UAF advantage.
On their first power play of the game, with less than two minutes left in the period, Derrick McIver deflected a shot just under the crossbar past Nanook goaltender Lance Mayes to make it 1-0 at 19:14.
Alaska-Fairbanks came out in the second period with more intensity, and the Bulldogs came out undisciplined again, giving the Nanooks what amounted to a three-minute power-play opportunity. Shortly after killing that penalty, Bulldog Chris Kunitz made the Nanooks pay at 12:49 of the second period. Nick Field passed the puck to Kunitz, who moved around a Nanook defenseman and roofed the puck over Mayes to make it 2-0.
The Nanooks got the bounce they needed in the third period, when Scott Farrell took a slapshot from the point that hit the top of Brown’s pads and bounced into the net at 5:37 to make it 2-1.
Ferris State did not give up. McIver took a shot from the point and Simon Mangos deflected the shot past Mayes to make it 3-1 at 11:55. Mangos put the icing on the cake with a shot from the point that handcuffed Mayes at 14:37 to make it 4-1.
“We just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” said Fairbanks head coach Guy Gadowsky. “You have to make your chances count out there, and we just couldn’t make it happen. We had a lot of shots, and when you are given six power play opportunities to score, you have to make the best of them.”
Daniels was impressed with the effort of his team. “We have to be more disciplined tomorrow,” he said. “I want to be more on the power-play side of things come tomorrow instead of killing penalties.”
Ferris State and Alaska-Fairbanks will play again on Saturday night.