BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Senior captain Curtis Fraser scored two power play goals in the third period for University of Alaska on Friday night which proved to be the difference as the Nanooks (8-13-4; 6-10-3 CCHA) beat the Bowling Green Falcons, 5-2, at the BG Ice Arena.
Fraser scored the game winners less than a minute apart in the opening moments of the third period to break a 2-2 tie.
The Nanook alternate captain scored from the left side of the crease at 4:23, then notched another goal 49 seconds later from the identical spot, this time off a goaltender rebound. The goals were Fraser’s 13th and 14th of the year.
The victory snapped a nine game losing skid by the Nanooks, dating back to December 8, when they beat the Falcons in Fairbanks by a 4-3 margin.
With the loss, the Falcons (5-22-1; 3-17-0 CCHA) have now dropped seven straight decisions, and 9 out of their last 10.
Alaska used a balanced scoring attack to get by Bowling Green. Ten different Nanooks picked up points on the night.
The UA power play was strong as well, connecting on three goals with the man advantage.
“Those guys moved the puck around,” said Nanook assistant coach Dallas Ferguson. “They came up huge for us tonight. The power play basically won us the game. They executed tonight.”
“We just took too many penalties in the third period,” said BG head coach Scott Paluch. “We had the game starting to come back a little bit in our favor. I thought we could have gained some tremendous momentum coming off the five on three, and we took another penalty. Penalties clearly hurt us tonight.”
The penalty that seemed to turn the tide in favor of Alaska was a roughing call to junior Ben Geelan. With the score still tied at two in the opening minutes of the third period, the forward was whistled behind the BG net after referee Mark Wilkins had stopped play.
Geelan’s penalty gave the Nanooks a five on three for ten seconds, just moments after BG had already killed off a five on three. The Nanooks did not waste their second opportunity. They scored eight seconds after the whistle, then added another power play goal moments later.
“We were really getting an energized bench there,” said Paluch about killing off the initial five on three. “Then, we just took a bad penalty, and it’s two quick goals. Any momentum we had, it went the other way. Give credit to [Alaska]. They capitalized and scored on their power play chances.”
The Nanooks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening period off a Trevor Hyatt tally from the crease. Captain Lucas Barnett drove a shot off of BG goaltender Jimmy Spratt that came out to the netminder’s left, where Hyatt was waiting. He backhanded the puck into the net for his 2nd goal of the year. Darcy Campbell added an assist on the play.
The Falcons would respond with a pair of nearly-identical early second period goals -just 33 seconds apart- to take a 2-1 lead.
Jonathan Matsumoto would notch his 10th goal of the year off a transition at neutral ice. He sped up the wing, getting by Nanook alternate captain Kyle Greentree, and drove a shot past Chad Johnson to tie the game. Derek Whitmore assisted.
Tommy Dee would strike just a few seconds later off another transition for his second tally of the season. The freshman winger banged a shot off the far post; it ricocheted into the net to put the Falcons on top, 2-1. Following the goal, Johnson was pulled in favor of junior goaltender Wylie Rogers.
Alaska would tie the game at 9:12 of the period with a power play goal. Braden Walls was the recipient of another rebound goal off the body of Spratt. The initial shot, coming courtesy of Adam Naglich, kicked out to Sprat’s left, where Walls wristed the shot into the net for his 5th goal of the year. Fraser added an assist.
After the Fraser goals, Nathan Fornataro closed out the Alaska scoring at 14:30 of the period on a drive from the point for his 4th goal of the year. Tyler Eckford and Brandon Knelsen assisted.
The Nanooks recorded a season-high 42 shots on goal, with BG’s Spratt making 37 saves.
Chad Johnson and Wylie Rogers combined for 16 stops on the night.
The Nanooks were 4 of 9 on the power play, while Bowling Green ended the night 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
The two teams will square off again tomorrow night. Game time is set for 7:05 pm.