FAIRBANKS, Alaska - In the NCAA record book, it will go down as a 3-3 tie in what was a thrilling hockey game between Alaska and Western Michigan on Saturday night at the Carlson Center. But after the game ended in a tie, the teams went to a shootout to determine the Brice Alaska Goal Rush champion.
Sophomore defenseman Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alberta/Business Administration) scored in round three and rookie goaltender Davis Jones (St. Albert, Alberta/Elementary Education) made three solid stops in net as the Nanooks (2-1-1) claimed the team title for the second straight year and fourth time ever with a 1-0 shootout victory against the Broncos (1-2-1).
Senior center Cody Kunyk (Sherwood Park, Alberta/Business Administration) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Jones (1-0-1) and junior left wing Garrick Perry (Apple Valley, Minn./Communication).
Kunyk led the Nanooks with two goals and one assist on the weekend while Jones went 1-0-1 with 54 saves, a 2.32 goals against average and a .915 save percentage (54/59). Perry also turned in good numbers with Friday's game-winning goal and two helpers and a team-high +3 plus/minus rating.
Others on the BAGR All-Tournament Team were Alaska Anchorage's Matt Bailey and Western Michigan's Shane Berschbach, Colton Hargrove and Frank Slubowski.
On the night, WMU outshot Alaska by a narrow 33-32 margin and also had a 22-21 blocks advantage. Jones made a game-high 30 saves, including 14 in the third period to force the overtime period, while Slubowski (1-2-1) stopped 29 shots between the pipes for Western.
Alaska saw its three scores by Kunyk, sophomore right wing Nolan Huysmans (Ponoka, Alberta/Business Administration) and sophomore center Tyler Morley (Burnaby, British Columbia/Business Administration). Kunyk and Huysmans also added an assist each while senior defenseman Michael Quinn (Surrey, British Columbia/Geography) dished out helpers on two of the Nanooks' three goals.
WMU had a pair of goals by Hargrove and another by Berschbach in the draw.
The Nanooks got on the board early, taking advantage of a power play near the start of the game. Quinn took a shot from the left point that was deflected by Huysmans and Kunyk picked up the puck and his wrist shot from the right crease got past Slubowski at 1:24 of the first to give the locals a 1-0 lead.
Western Michigan answered with a power-play score at 11:04 of the opening stanza with Hargrove's first goal with assists going to Dennis Brown and Kenney Morrison.
Both defenses were laying the bodies out, blocking shots and the game went without another goal for more than 35 minutes until the Hargrove struck for the Broncos at 6:12 of the third period. Alaska answered right back at 8:25 of the third when Huysmans redirected a Quinn shot to put the puck past Slubowski to knot the game at 2-2.
Jumping ahead to late in regulation, Berschbach put Western ahead 3-2 with only 1:51 remaining after he deflected it in past Jones. With their backs against the wall and trailing by a goal, the Nanooks came right back and scored the game-tying goal with only 1:09 left on the clock. Perry took a shot that was saved and Tyler Morley was there in the scrum to slide it past the crease, igniting the 3,183 fans inside the Carlson Center.
Both headed to overtime with a 3-3 score and neither squad could muster another goal as the game ended in a 3-3 tie. Due to this being a non-conference tournament, the teams would go to a best-of-three shootout to determine the Brice champion.
Both Slubowski and Jones protected their net in each of the first two rounds as we headed to the third and decisive round. Parayko stepped up and went top shelf over Slubowski's glove hand to put Alaska up 1-0. Chase Balisy was the final man standing in the way of Alaska and the tournament title but Jones denied the Nashville draft pick with a pad save on his wrist shot.
Alaska closes out the non-conference slate, Oct. 25-26 at home against Mercyhurst with both games beginning at 7:07 p.m. This series will not be played at the Carlson Center due to conflicts but will be on campus at the Patty Ice Arena.
Matt Bailey, UAA
Shane Berschbach, WMU
Colton Hargrove, WMU
Frank Slubowski, WMU
Davis Jones, Alaska
Garrick Perry, Alaska
MVP: Cody Kunyk, Alaska
Champion: ALASKA (1-0-1 - shootout win)
Runner-up: Western Michigan (1-0-1 - shootout loss)
Third: Alaska Anchorage (1-1)
Fourth: No. 12 Denver (0-2) POST-GAME NOTES:
- Alaska won its second straight Brice Alaska Goal Rush and fourth all-time (2009, 2010, 2012). No school outside the Last Frontier has ever won the tournament, as UAA won it in 2008 and 2011.
- The Nanooks are now 9-1-2 all-time in the BAGR and the tie ended a seven-game win streak at the event. They haven't lost, however, in 11 consecutive outings at the annual tournament.
- Cody Kunyk scored two points tonight and is now up to 90 points for his career, the program's active leader.
- The last time Alaska scored a goal inside 90 seconds to play in regulation to force overtime came back on Nov. 23, 2012 - Andy Taranto scored a shorthanded goal at 19:04 of the third at Northern Michigan.