ANCHORAGE - Goaltender Chris Kamal made 27 saves and Alaska Anchorage used a three-goal barrage in the second period to defeat Alaska Fairbanks, 3-2, in the Game 1 of the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup hockey series on Friday at Sullivan Arena.
The Seawolves (9-20-2) got goals from forwards Eric Scheid, Curtis Leinweber and Brett Cameron - all within a 9-minute span - as they remained unbeaten in five non-conference games this year and took the advantage in the two-game battle for the Cup.
The Nanooks (11-18-4) took an early lead on a first-period, power-play goal by Andy Taranto, but the visitors could not hold on despite a 29-17 advantage in shots on goal.
Scheid scored the equalizer just 2:33 into the second when he streaked into the zone and whistled the puck past UAF goalie Scott Greenham. Sophomore Jordan Kwas picked up his ninth assist on a pinpoint pass, while freshman defenseman Austin Coldwell collected his 10th helper.
UAA kept up the pressure and, just a minute later, fourth-line center Kory Roy found himself with a breakaway against Greenham. The freshman was pulled down from behind by a Nanook defender and awarded a penalty shot - the first by a Seawolf in three years - but failed to convert the chance, slamming the puck wide of the net. Luckily for the Seawolves, Roy's effort would still result in a score when Matt Bailey won the ensuing faceoff directly to Leinweber, who wristed the puck past Greenham for a 2-1 lead.
After several more good scoring chances, the Seawolves capitalized at the 10:57 mark on Cameron's fifth goal of the season. Jade Portwood cycled the puck in the Nanook zone to Warner, who gained control in the corner and fired a perfect pass to Cameron, who knocked it past Greenham at point-blank range.
UAF cut its deficit in half on a reviewed goal from Adam Henderson midway through the third, but Kamal stood strong and made several clutch saves to earn his fourth win of the year (4-9-0).
Greenham, who made 14 saves, took the loss to fall to 10-17-4.
The victory improves UAA to 8-3-1 against UAF in the last 12 outings. The Seawolves lead the all-time series 82-51-11.
The Seawolves and Nanooks will meet for the second and final game of the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup on Saturday night in Fairbanks. Face-off is set for 7:05 p.m. AST at the Carlson Center. A win or a tie would give UAA the Cup for the first time since winning it three straight years from 2007-09. Should UAA lose, there would be a postgame shootout to determine the Cup champion.