|2nd||0:52||AKF||1-0||PP||Justin Woods (4)||Marcus Basara/9, Tyler Morley/11|
|2nd||13:52||AKF||2-0||EV||Colton Sparrow (4)||Jasen Fernsler/1|
|2nd||18:36||AKA||1-2||EV||Austin Sevalrud (1)||Matt Anholt/15|
|3rd||14:53||AKF||3-1||PP GW||Peter Krieger (4)||Josh Atkinson/9, Marcus Basara/10|
|3rd||18:40||AKA||2-3||EV EA||Tad Kozun (13)||Wyatt Ege/8, Blake Tatchell/15|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Alaska Anchorage (11-19-3)||0/5||13/67||0|
|Alaska Anchorage Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Olivier Mantha (L, 10-17-3)||58:41||3||11||11||7||29|
|Davis Jones (W, 4-12-1)||60:00||2||8||12||8||28|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks claimed their fourth straight Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup title in a row on Friday night, defeating the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves 3-2 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) contest at the Carlson Center. The Nanooks improve to a 9-20-4 record overall, 7-16-4 in WCHA play, while the Seawolves drop to 11-19-3 overall, 8-17-2 WCHA.
"It was a really emotional hockey game out there tonight. One thing I thought we did really well tonight, was coming into the third period, keeping our emotions in check and playing the game the right way," assistant coach Lance West said following Friday's victory. "It was a good hockey game overall, I thought Davis Jones made some huge, huge, game-changing saves for us tonight. We're excited, we're happy we get to keep the Governor's Cup here in Fairbanks but that's only half the fight this weekend. We want the guys to enjoy it for a couple of minutes but we have a really big hockey game coming up tomorrow, it's going to be emotional and whichever team that can come out and control those emotions and play the right way will be the team that is successful."
With a victory on Friday, the Nanooks clinched the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup, going 2-0-1 against the Seawolves this season. Alaska holds the edge on the All-Time Cup record 12-8. Following Friday's win, the Nanooks have won the Governor's Cup the past seven seasons, but had to vacate the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 titles due to NCAA infractions.
More importantly, Alaska's win over Alaska-Anchorage on Friday gives the Nooks two-WCHA points, tying both teams for eighth place (the final WCHA playoff spot) in the standings, with 18 points each. Whomever wins on Saturday will continue on in WCHA post-season play, but if the two rivals tie in overtime, Alaska holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seawolves 2-0-1.
After a scoreless first period, the Nooks put themselves on the board 52 seconds into the second period when sophomore defenseman Justin Woods make it 1-0 good guys. On the power play, senior forward Tyler Morley settled the play down by circling back at the top of the circle before passing to Basara, who was floating high in the offensive zone. Basara fired a wrister on net, but UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha couldn't hold the rebound, which popped out right to Woods who was backdoor. The goal marks Woods' third in three games, while Basara and T. Morley were credited assists.
Exactly 13 minutes later, the Nooks found the back of the net once again. Freshman forward Jasen Fernsler was walking along the top of the circle before firing the puck on net, where junior forward Colton Sparrow was screening in front. Sparrow was able to knock the puck down, before it bounced in to make it 2-0 Alaska.
The Seawolves cut the Nanooks lead back to one at the 18:36 mark, when Austin Sevalrud scored off of a face-off to make it 2-1. UAA's Matt Anholt cleanly won the draw in the Nanooks defensive zone, passing it directly to Sevalrud. Sevalrud immediately wound-up for a one-time slapshot, which went right past junior goaltender Davis Jones. Anholt was awarded the lone assist on the play.
The Nooks held on to the 2-1 lead until sophomore forward Peter Krieger scored on the power play to make it 3-1 at the 14:53 mark of the third period. Senior defenseman Josh Atkinson shot the puck from the top of the circle on Mantha, but sophomore forward Tayler Munson was able to redirect the puck to the opposite side of the net. Krieger was floating in the slot and had just moved backdoor when Munson's redirect went right to his stick. Krieger roofed the puck for the power play goal, making it 3-1 Nanooks.
With nothing to lose, the Seawolves pulled Mantha to use the extra-attacker. UAA's Kozun netted the third period goal at the 18:40 mark of the third period to make it 3-2. Wyatt Ege and Blake Tatchell were given the assists.
It was an emotional rivalry game, as the Nooks were able to keep the Seawolves and their extra attacker at bay in the final minutes of regulation. After the final horn, extra-curricular activities got the best of both teams in a heated last second play, totally 116 penalty minutes for each team.
On the night, the Nooks barely outshot their in-state rival 32-30, with Jones making 28 saves to Mantha's 29. In rare-form, the Nooks went 2-for-4 on power play opportunities, while holding UAA off 0-for-5.
Although the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup is clinched, the Nooks still have the biggest game of the season ahead of them, returning to the Carlson Center Saturday, Mar. 5 for the season finale against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves at 7:07 p.m. AST. With both teams tied for eighth place (18 points), it'll be a battle for the final playoff spot.
"What's better than coming into your home rink on a Saturday night and it's basically a game seven, do or die. Its game seven for the regular season, need to win to go to the postseason and move onto playoffs. You live for those games, you embrace those games as a player, just make sure you're playing your own game and if we do that, I like our group," West concluded.
For more information on the Alaska Nanooks, follow @NanooksHockey on Twitter or like the Alaska Nanooks Hockey page on Facebook.