ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks shutout the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves 4-0 on Saturday night at the George M. Sullivan Arena. The blanking of the Seawolves ties the teams at one game apiece in the annual Governor’s Cup — the four game non-conference series for Alaska’s college hockey crown.
Due in large part to the stellar play of UAF junior netminder Preston McKay, who stopped all 22 shots he faced, the Nanooks rebounded after falling Friday night 4-2 to the Seawolves. UAF coach Guy Gadowsky was proud of his teams pronounced Saturday victory saying “we played better and finished better tonight” and adding that his team was “a different hockey team tonight.”
In an opening period that saw UAF outshoot the Seawolves 11-6, the teams left the ice with the Nanook’s leading 1-0. The lone goal came from freshman Kelly Czuy at 15:47 when he tipped Scott Farrell’s drive from the right circle past the UAA netminder Chris King, who slowed the puck but could not gather it in before it trickled across the line.
The Seawolves mounted fierce pressure in the first half of the second frame but they could not solve McKay, and UAF went up 2-0 at 11:16 on a goal from Felipe Larranaga. Larranaga slid an off-speed shot left to right sneaking it just inside the right post.
The Nanooks built momentum through the reaminder of the second period and struck again before the close when Czuy got his second of the night at 18:16. Taking a feed from Alex Staudt, Czuy skated in on center, brought the lone defender to one knee with a faked pass, stepped around and sniped a wrister cleanly past King’s glove.
The teams went scoreless through the bulk of the third period with both teams finding offensive opportunity with physical play from underclassmen — UAA from freshman center Curtis Glencross, and UAF from their 6-foot-4-inch sophomore winger Aaron Voros.
After a UAA defenseman broke his stick trying to chip the puck out of the zone, freshman Russell Spence grabbed the puck and fed Jared Sylvestre who punctuated the Nanook win with the final goal of the game at 18:46.
Gadowsky was happy to even things up in the Governor’s Cup saying “you always want to win on Saturday in the Governor’s Cup” but he was equally pleased to find confidence for the Nanook’s CCHA opener next Friday against Ohio State.
UAA heads into another weekend of non-conference play when they host the Nye Frontier Classic in Anchorage. The Seawolves play Iona on Friday night and then face sixth-ranked Maine on Saturday.