FAIRBANKS - Alaska never quit all the way up until the very end.
Trailing 3-1 entering the third period in game three of a Western Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinals series, the Nanooks rallied back to tie it on two separate occasions, but a Brad Duwe goal with 2:45 remaining lifted visiting Alaska Anchorage to a wild 5-4 victory Saturday night at the Carlson Center.
The Seawolves (18-15-4) punched their ticket to the WCHA Final Five and will face Minnesota State next Friday in the semifinals while the Nanooks (18-15-4) saw their season come to an end with the defeat.
Six UAA players recorded multi-point nights, led by Blake Tatchell who tallied a game-high three points, all on assists. Duwe, Matt Bailey, Scott Allen and Jordan Kwas all had one goal and one assist while Brett Cameron dished out a pair of helpers in the win.
On the other end, Alaska saw four of its players score two points, led by the first career two-goal games by both sophomore defenseman Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alberta/Business Administration) and sophomore right wing Alec Hajdukovich (Fairbanks, Alaska/Business Administration). Senior defender Michael Quinn (Surrey, British Columbia/Geography) and junior left wing Garrick Perry (Apple Valley, Minn./Communication) each tallied two assists.
Trailing by a pair of goals entering the third period, after each team had a goal waived off, Hajdukovich lit the lamp 5:04 into the frame to make it 3-2. In the offensive end, the Nanooks controlled the puck and rookie left wing Brandon Morley (Burnaby, British Columbia/Business Administration) sent the puck into a scrum in front of the net before Hajdukovich possessed it and scored.
Parayko squared the game with an "ESPN Top 10 Play-esque" goal at the 10:19 mark. The Defensive Player of the Year was able to handle the puck but used a spin move to evade UAA defenders and sent a no-look backhand shot at Rob Gunderson, beating the Seawolf netminder far side to make it 3-3.
UAA recaptured the lead at 4-3 with a score by Austin Coldwell when he took a shot from the point, sailing it past Nanook junior goaltender Sean Cahill (Calgary, Alberta/Business Administration) at 13:23.
The 'Nooks weren't finished as Quinn fed a pass to Hajdukovich in the slot and he caught Gunderson out of position for the game-tying goal with 5:13 remaining in the game.
The Seawolves completed the scoring at the 17:15 mark with a tic-tac-toe passing play. Jordan Kwas dished it up to the point to Tatchell, who immediately found Duwe out in front where he beat Cahill over his glove hand.
Gunderson improved to 10-7-2 on the year after making 24 saves on 28 shots faced while Cahill fell to 10-6-1 after making 17 stops on 22 UAA shots.
Alaska outshot UAA 28-22 on the night and held a slim 33-32 advantage in the face-off circle but Anchorage held a slight 22-21 lead in the blocks department. Parayko led all players with five blocks. The Nanooks went 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-1 on the penalty kill in the loss.
UAA jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period with a pair of scores in the first five minutes. Kwas opened the scoring 1:09 into the frame and Bailey doubled the lead to 2-0 with a one-timer from the right circle at the five-minute mark.
Late in the period, Parayko sent a blast past Gunderson to put the Nanooks on the board 16:04 into the stanza but with time ticking down in the period, Cahill made initial saves in traffic on shots by Allen and Bailey but Allen collected the second rebound and buried it with only 13.6 remaining in the second to make it a 3-1 game.
The Nanooks end their 2013-14 campaign with their most wins in four years (18) and the senior class consisting of Quinn, Colton Beck (Langley British Columbia/Business Administration) and Cody Kunyk (Sherwood Park, Alberta/Business Administration) concluded their respective careers with a combined 292 points on 111 goals and 181 assists in 423 career games.
Kunyk wrapped up his career with 133 points on 60 goals and 73 assists and Beck had 101 points on 42 goals and 59 assists while Quinn tallied 58 points on nine scores and 49 helpers.