FAIRBANKS - Michigan Tech used a power-play goal and a shorthanded score to earn a Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep, downing Alaska 2-1 on Saturday night at the Carlson Center.
Shane Hanna scored on the man advantage early in the second period while Tanner Kero lit the lamp for the eventual game winner for the Huskies (6-8-2, 4-3-1 WCHA) on the penalty kill just past the midway point of regulation. North Pole native Pheonix Copley won for the second straight night, posted 28 saves on 29 shots faced, including 15 stops in the opening frame to improve his record to 5-6-1.
The Nanooks (5-7-2, 2-6-0 WCHA) saw their lone goal come from senior center Cody Kunyk (Sherwood Park, Alberta/Business Administration) while freshman defenseman Justin Woods (Fairbanks, Alaska/Justice) and junior left wing Nolan Youngmun (Anchorage, Alaska/Petroleum Engineering) notched their first assists of the year.
Sophomore goaltender Sean Cahill (Calgary, Alberta/Business Administration) took the loss for the second straight night after making 21 saves on 23 shots. The Nanooks outshot the Huskies 29-23 and controlled the face-off circle 37-31 but MTU held the blocks advantage 22-17.
After a scoreless first, Tech opened the second quickly with a goal on the power play. Alex Petan fed the puck to the point where Hanna fired a shot off the pipe and in for the 1-0 lead just 22 seconds into the period.
Michigan Tech found itself two men down midway through the frame but as Kero's penalty time expired, Kunyk's pass in the left circle was deflected off the stick of CJ Eick out of the zone at the worst possible time as Kero collected the pass immediately upon his exit from sin bin. He deked Cahill at the other end for the shorthanded score at 10:49 to put the visitors up a pair.
Into the third, Alaska finally sounded the goal horn at 3:03 with an even-strength tally. Youngmun passed the puck to Woods at the top and the rookie from Fairbanks took a shot that was stopped by Copley but Kunyk, who was named the Era Alaska Nanook of the Game, was there to corral the rebound and score to make it 2-1.
Credit is due to both defenses because at the under-10 media timeout, the shots were 29-23 with 9:17 to play and neither team could force another shot on goal and despite going empty net for the final 80 seconds, the Nanooks could not produce the game-tying score, resulting in a weekend sweep for the Huskies.
Alaska returns to action Dec. 6-7 for games one and two of the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup as it travels down to battle in-state rival Alaska Anchorage. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. both nights from Sullivan Arena.
In the new conference format, Alaska and UAA will play four times, with home-and-home weekends, and all four contests will count toward the WCHA standings and the Governor's Cup. If the teams' records are identical after four games, it will be decided in a shootout.