ANCHORAGE — Alaska Fairbanks struck 35 seconds into the game, added two more goals before the first period ended, and ran away with a 5-0 victory over Connecticut in the third game of the Kendall Hockey Classic Saturday at the Sullivan Arena.
UAF senior right wing Braden Walls, the Kendall Toyota Player of the Game, slammed home a rebound of senior center Adam Naglich’s shot past UConn goalie Beau Erickson 35 seconds in as fans still filed into their seats.
The Nanooks kept things rolling, as sophomore right wing Ryan Hohl stole a pass in the Husky zone near the blue line and streaked down the ice.
Hohl got the puck to sophomore center Derek Klassen, who skated behind the UConn goal and tried a quick shot on the left side. The rebound slid to Hohl, who punched the puck past Erickson’s glove side with 15:15 left in the first.
UAF closed scoring in the first with a goal from Dustin Sather with 1:30 left. Junior center Dion Knelsen and freshman defenseman Aaron Gens picked up assists on the score.
After a scoreless second period, the Nanooks got on the board early in the third on a tally from Naglich with 19:23 left in the game. Sophomore left wing Kevin Petovello and Walls earned helpers on the play.
The Nanooks closed scoring when junior left wing Cody Rymut beat Erickson 8:37 into the third. Dion Knelsen and Naglich assisted on the score.
UAF, which won a shootout for tournament title purposes following a 2-2 tie with Northeastern on Friday night, improved its chances of its first ever Kendall Classic championship. The Nanooks were 0-4-0 in two previous Classic appearances in 1985 and 1986.
Nanooks’ freshman goalie Scott Greenham earned the shutout win, but was rarely tested, making 13 saves. The Nanooks outshot the Huskies 33-13. Erickson finished the game with 28 saves for UConn. The Huskies were scoreless in five power play chances but the Nanooks didn’t fare much better with a 1-for-5 effort on the man advantage.
Classic play continues tonight with the late game between Alaska Anchorage and Northeastern. The Seawolves, who won 6-2 over Connecticut on Friday night, can claim their sixth Classic title and fourth in the last six years with a victory over Northeastern.