|1st||18:43||AKF||1-0||EV||Tyler Morley (15)||Nick Hinz/11, Josh Atkinson/10|
|2nd||1:17||AKA||1-1||EV||Connor Wright (4)||Wyatt Ege/9, Nils Rygaard/4|
|2nd||14:10||AKF||2-1||PP||Tyler Morley (16)||Nolan Huysmans/14, Josh Atkinson/11|
|3rd||2:40||AKA||2-2||EV||Alex Jackstadt (3)||Blake Leask/4, Blake Tatchell/16|
|3rd||5:58||AKF||3-2||EV GW||Justin Woods (5)||Tyler Morley/12, J.D. Peterson/1|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Alaska Anchorage (11-20-3)||0/1||11/49||0|
|Alaska Anchorage Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Olivier Mantha (L, 10-18-3)||59:08||3||11||8||8||27|
|Davis Jones (W, 5-12-1)||60:00||2||8||2||9||19|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nannooks hockey team is going the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. The Nanooks defeated in-state rival the University of Alaska-Anchorage to clinch the eighth and final playoff position, in a WCHA conference game Saturday night at the Carlson Center. The Nanooks improve to 10-20-4 overall and 8-16-4 in WCHA play, while the Seawolves end their season 11-20-3 overall, 8-18-2 WCHA.
"Give UAA credit, it was as competitive of a series as could be," head coach Dallas Ferguson said following Saturday's game. "You could see it in the emotions at the end of the game, there's nothing better than a rivalry like that. I'm extremely proud of this group, we've talked about it the past week or two, making sure we're sticking together and pushing on. I'm extremely proud of the leadership of this group sitting up here (senior class), extremely proud of our staff, everyone was prepared."
Coming into the weekend, the Nanooks had already played the Seawolves twice, defeating and tying them on Dec. 11th and 12th respectively. With the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup on the line and sitting in ninth place in the WCHA standings with 16 points, the Nooks had to either sweep or win and tie against the Seawolves. The Nanooks were victorious on Friday night's game (Mar. 4), beating the Seawolves 3-2 and tying UAA for eighth place in the standings, before clinching the playoffs in the same fashion on Saturday.
Senior forward Tyler Morley was the first player to score on Saturday night, putting the Nooks up 1-0 at the 18:43 mark of the first period. Sophomore defenseman Nick Hinz was floating at the top of the offensive zone before seeing a seam and firing the puck on net. T. Morley was skating through the slot and watched as Hinz's shot was coming right for him, T. Morley threw his stick out behind himself and was able to redirect it past Mantha.
One minute and seventeen seconds (1:17) into the second period, the Seawolves tied it up when Connor Wright scored his fourth goal of the year to make it 1-1. Wright picked up the puck in a battle in front of junior goaltender Davis Jones, before turning around and firing it on net, catching Jones off of position. Wright's goal was assisted by Nilis Rygaard and Wyatt Ege.
T. Morley struck again for his second goal of the game, while the Nooks were on the power play. At the 14:10 mark of the second period, senior defenseman Josh Atkinson was breaking the puck out in the Nanooks defensive zone before passing the puck up-ice to senior forward Nolan Huysmans. Huysmans recognized he was on a 3-on-1 entering the Seawolf zone, before faking a shot on net but passing it hard to T. Morley, who was crashing hard backdoor to make it 2-1.
At the 2:40 mark of the third period, Seawolf forward Alex Jackstadt scored to tie it up once again at two apiece. UAA's Blake Tatchell shot the puck through traffic before Blake Leask threw the puck onto junior goaltender Davis Jones. Jones wasn't able to handle Tatchell's shot, as it popped out to Jackstadt, who was there to capitalize on the out-of-position goaltender.
Who else scores the game-winning goal, but Fairbanks' own hometown hero, sophomore defenseman Justin Woods? After defeating cancer just last season, Woods' laser slapshot passed Seawolf goaltender Olivier Mantha to make it 3-2 at the 5:58 mark of the third period. After winning a clean face-off, T. Morley passed it to senior defenseman JD Peterson, who dished it over to Woods on the blueline. The goal marks Woods' fourth goal in four games and T. Morley's third point on the night.
The Nooks outshot the Seawolves 30-21, while Jones made 19 saves to Mantha's 27. The Nooks continued their PPG hot -streak, going 1-3 on the man-advantage to Anchorage's 0-1.
The Nanooks head to Houghton, Michigan next weekend to take on the Michigan Tech Huskies in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Nooks will play at 3:07 pm AST on Friday, Mar. 11 and Saturday, Mar. 12, with a game-three decision game set for Sunday, Mar. 13.