KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Pat Dwyer scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals in the third period to propel Western Michigan to a 5-4 win over Alaska Fairbanks in the CCHA opener for both clubs.
Dwyer’s game-winner came with 2:39 left in the game on an assist from Mike Erickson. The scoring play capped a wild contest that saw 70 total shots. Dwyer was named Perani Cup No. 1 Star while teammate Brent Walton earned No. 3 honors with two goals.
The Nanooks had taken a 4-3 lead into the third period. UAF scored three times in a period of 2:59 midway through the second period to erase a 3-1 Bronco advantage. Sophomore center Curtis Fraser converted passes from sophomore defenseman Nate Fornataro and junior forward Kelly Czuy with UAF enjoying a two-man advantage at the 7:00 mark.
The same combination clicked 30 seconds later, as Fraser scored with a man advantage to tie the score. Freshman left wing Kyle Greentree scored his first goal as a Nanook just 2:29 later to give Alaska Fairbanks a 4-3 advantage midway through the second period.
Freshman left wing Adam Powell scored on a breakaway just 2:58 into the game to give UAF a 1-0 lead. The Broncos tied the score on a Brett Walton goal at the 6:36 mark. Jonathan Lupa and Walton scored 27 seconds apart early in the second period to give Western Michigan a 3-1 lead before the Nanooks struck back.
Dwyer’s first goal, at 7:14 of the third period, tied the game. Dwyer then converted a rebound on a two-on-one break, firing the puck past UAF senior goaltender Keith Bartusch with just 2:39 to play.
“I really liked our effort tonight and our persistence,” said coach Jim Culhane. “We battled back and Daniel (Bellissimo) played solid for us tonight.”
Bartusch stopped 25 shots for the Nanooks, and WMU goaltender Dan Belissimo made 30 saves.
UAF fell to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the CCHA with the defeat, while WMU improved to 1-0 overall and in league play.