ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Scoring was not an issue in Alaska's season opener as three first-period scores gave way for the Nanooks to comfortably defeat Air Force 6-1 in game one of the 2013 Kendall Hockey Classic Friday evening at the Sullivan Arena.
Senior center Cody Kunyk (Sherwood Park, Alberta/Business Administration) was named Player of the Game after he collected a pair of goals, the 38th and 39th of his career, and finished with a plus-three rating.
Redshirt junior left wing Jared Larson (Apple Valley, Minn./Business Administration) notched one goal and one assist for the Nanooks (1-0-0) while sophomore defenseman Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alberta/Business Administration) added two helpers.
Alaska, which converted on 35.3 percent of its shots on the night (6 goals - 17 SOG), saw its three other goals come from sophomore right wing Nolan Huysmans (Ponoka, Alberta/Business Administration), junior left wing Garrick Perry (Apple Valley, Minn./Communication) and rookie right wing Marcus Basara (Port Moody, British Columbia/Business Administration).
Sophomore goaltender John Keeney (Twin Peaks, Calif./Business Administration) picked up the victory between the pipes as he made 20 saves for Alaska. The Nanooks were outshot 21-17 in the win but blocked twice as many shots, tallying 16 to Air Force's eight. Defensively, Alaska was unreal on the penalty kill, successfully denying AFA on each of its seven power-play opportunities, three of which were of the five-minute variety. The 'Nooks were 1-for-2 on the man advantage.
The Falcons (0-1-0) saw their lone goal come from George Michalke III and AFA used all three goalies in the defeat, led by Paul Moberg's six stops. Jason Torf, who started, was yanked 13:45 into the game after allowing his third score and Chris Truehl saw time after Moberg gave up Alaska's sixth goal of the night.
It didn't take long for the Nanooks to light the lamp as they took the puck right off the opening faceoff into the attacking zone, where Huysmans scored unassisted out in front to give the 'Nooks a 1-0 lead.
Later in the frame, Kunyk netted his first of the night at 12:17 after his first shot was saved and he got the puck back and put it away in the scrum. After taking a five-minute major penalty, the Nanooks extended the advantage to 3-0 at 13:45 when senior defenseman Michael Quinn (Surrey, British Columbia/Geography) fed the puck to an open Larson who took was all alone and beat Torf shorthanded for his first career goal.
Kunyk scored again 10:05 into the middle period when he redirected a Parayko shot from the top past Moberg, giving the Nanooks a 4-0 lead. The Falcons got on the board 22 seconds later when Michalke III tallied the Academy's only goal off a rebound when Keeney made the initial stop.
Alaska answered right back 17 seconds later at 10:44 of the second when Perry corralled the puck off a Moberg save and his wrist shot found the open net for the 5-1 lead. Into the third, and on a power play, the Nanooks worked the puck out in front and Basara scored in a crowd out front. That goal stood as Alaska's lone shot on goal for over 13 and a half minutes of the final stanza.
The Nanooks return to the ice Saturday at 4:07 p.m. against No. 10/13 Quinnipiac. The game will be video streamed live on WCHATV and you can also listen to ESPN Radio 820 AM at 820sports.com. Fans can also catch the replay on KFXF Fox 7 in Fairbanks at 11 p.m.