FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Senior left wing Colton Beck (Langley, British Columbia/Business Administration) and senior center Cody Kunyk (Sherwood Park, British Columbia/Business Administration) combined for seven points as Alaska stormed back from a three-goal deficit to win 5-4 against Mercyhurst Friday night in a non-conference hockey game at Patty Ice Arena.
Beck tallied two goals and two assists for a four-point evening, which tied his career high, while Kunyk had the game-winning goal with 1:39 remaining as well as a pair of helpers to lead the offensive attack.
Sophomore right wing Nolan Huysmans (Ponoka, Alberta/Business Administration) also turned in a goal and an assist on the first forward line while sophomore defenseman J.D. Peterson (Orange, Calif./Communication) lit the lamp for his first career goal.
The Nanooks (3-1-1) got on the board at 7:18 of the first period. Junior defenseman Nolan Kaiser (Calgary, Alberta/Business Administration) fed the puck up ice to Beck and on the break, the senior captain, from the left circle, dished the puck to Huysmans and his shot in front trickled over the glove hand of Jimmy Sarjeant for the score.
The Lakers (1-5-0) responded with a pair of goals, separated by 32 seconds, taking advantage of puck-handling miscues by Alaska. Ryan Misiak controlled the puck in a scrum and slid it past freshman goaltender Davis Jones (St. Albert, Alberta/Elementary Education) to tie it at 1-1 at the 13:31 mark of the opening period. Second later at 14:03, Kyle Cook put the visitors up 2-1 when he intercepted a pass went the distance, going top shelf over Jones' glove hand.
In the second, MU stretched it to 3-1 at 4:56 when Kyle Just controlled the puck after a long pass and took it down the right side, crashing at Jones for the Lakers' third straight goal in the game. They made it a 4-1 advantage just past the halfway mark of regulation at 10:21 as Daniel O'Donoghue scored off a rebound from a saved shot by Kyle Dutra.
Alaska began the rally at the 17:19 mark of the second as sophomore center Tyler Morley (Burnaby, British Columbia/Business Administration) won a face-off in the offensive zone Peterson fired a rocket from the right point that went over Sarjeant's glove shoulder to make it 4-2 Mercyhurst.
Into the third, while a man down for a five-minute major penalty for charging, Kunyk stole the puck behind the net in the offensive zone and fed a wide open Beck who put it home 34 seconds into the period to trim the deficit to just one.
Beck struck again at the 10:41 mark of the third on the power play to knot things up at 4-4 when he received a pass from Kunyk straight out in front and his wrist shot beat the MU netminder.
Late heroics came in to play again, this time with only 1:39 remaining in regulation. Beck was working in the left corner behind the Laker net and came across and found Kunyk wide open in front of the net and Kunyk's one-timer beat Sarjeant stick side for the game winner.
Alaska outshout Mercyhurst 39-34 and dominated the face-off category, winning 47 of 71 drops of the puck. The Lakers held a 21-17 advantage on blocks. Alaska went just 1-for-6 on the power play but successfully killed off both of MU's man-advantage opportunities, one of which was five minutes.
Jones got the win for the Nanooks as he improved to 2-0-1 with 30 saves on 34 shots faced while Sarjeant dropped to 1-2-0 for the Lakers despite a game-best 34 stops.
Alaska and Mercyhurst close out the weekend series Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. inside Patty Ice Arena. That game is sold out with a capacity 1,350 fans expected. You can watch the game on Stretch Internet or listen on ESPN Radio 820 AM KCBF.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st - Colton Beck
2nd - Cody Kunyk
3rd - Nolan Huysmans
The last time Alaska rallied from a three-goal deficit came back on Dec. 9, 2005 against Michigan State at the Carlson Center. MSU led 3-0 in the first and Alaska came back with three in a row in the second period, two on the power play to tie it. The game ended in a 4-4 tie.
Cody Kunyk had three points tonight to up his career total to 98 (43-55-98). He needs to points to reach 100 for his career, which has spanned 116 games as of tonight.
Colton Beck had four points tonight, with two goals and two assists. He had one point entering tonight in through the team's first four games. His four points tied a career-best outing, which he last had on Feb. 8, 2013 against Ohio State. He had a hat trick and one assist in the 6-1 victory.