|1st||8:45||AKF||1-0||EV||Alec Hajdukovich (8)||Chad Staley/2, Ryker Leer/3|
|3rd||4:30||BGS||1-1||EV||Tyler Spezia (8)||Mitchell McLain/4, Sean Walker/13|
|3rd||19:51.2||AKF||2-1||SH GW||Tayler Munson (7)||Nick Hinz/7|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bowling Green (16-11-6)||0/4||3/6||0|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Chris Nell (L, 12-8-6)||59:51||2||15||8||9||32|
|Jesse Jenks (W, 5-7-3)||60:00||1||6||16||11||33|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Sophomore forward Tayler Munson's shorthanded goal lifted the Alaska Nanooks over the Bowling Green Falcons 2-1 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at the Carlson Center on Friday night. The victory marks Alaska's first win at home since Nov. 6, 2015 against Northern Michigan and snaps a five-game losing streak for the Nanooks. Alaska (8-17-4 overall, 6-13-4 WCHA) earns two WCHA points on the night, upsetting the Falcons (16-11-6 overall, 12-6-5 WCHA) who are currently tied for second in the WCHA standings.
"Well, we went up by a goal and I thought we played a pretty good first period but the second period was a little lax. The urgency just wasn't there, we're not really sure what happened but we were able to touch base with the team before the third and I thought the third was a little more back-and-forth than the second but we battled hard," assistant coach Corbin Schmidt said of his team in the post-game press conference. "And you know, we're down shorthanded and Munson made the most of his shift by putting a nice shot on goal after cutting to the middle, so, kudos to these two guys (Jenks and Munson) and kudos to the guys in the locker room."
Senior forward Alec Hajdukovich put the Nooks on the board mid-way through the first (08:45), starting the play by fighting off a BGSU defender and putting a backhanded shot on the Falcons' goaltender Chris Nell. Sophomore forward Chad Staley was crashing the net and barely gained control of Hajdukovich's rebound before getting his own shot off on Nell. Staley's shot leaked out across the crease where Hajdukovich was alone backdoor, putting it away top-shelf to make it 1-0 Nooks. Hajdukovich's goal counts as his eighth of the season, while Staley and sophomore defenseman Zach Frye were awarded the assists.
After a scoreless second period, the Falcons responded by tying things up 1-1 at the 4:30 mark into the third period. Bowling Green's Tyler Spezia fired a shot on goal entering the Nanook defensive zone before capitalizing on his own rebound to even the game. Spezia's goal was assisted by Mitch McLain and Sean Walker.
Both the Nanooks and the Falcons took turns exchanging momentum for the remainder of the period before junior forward Josh Erickson took a late third period penalty for boarding at 19:22. Things were looking grim for the Nanooks, who eventually cleared the zone, sending Tayler Munson down on 2-on-2 with junior forward Brandon Morley. Morley crashed the net hard, dragging one BGSU defenseman with him toward the goal, while Munson cut back on the rush into the center of the ice and rifled a shot that went five-hole on Nell to earn the game-winner at 19:51 of the third period. Munson's goal was his first since Nov. 14 at Bemidji State and his seventh of the season. Sophomore defenseman Nick Hinz was granted the lone assist on Munson's goal.
Not to be overlooked, freshman goaltender Jesse Jenks was the Nanooks best defenseman on the night, making 33 saves. On the other end of the ice, BGSU's Nell made 32 saves. The Nanooks and the Falcons tied each other in shots on goal, each team peppering 34 on net. Although neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage (0-4 Bowling Green, 0-3 Alaska), thanks to Munson, the Nanooks were able to chalk one up on special teams for the night. "You've got to give them credit, they're a great hockey team. Obviously, they're in the top of the standings almost every year, but we had the effort tonight, from guys like Jenks and Munson. Again, Bowling Green's a great team and they had tons of great chances but Jesse shut the door for us and gave us a chance," Schmidt said of his rookie goaltender.
The Alaska Nanooks take on the Bowling Green Falcons for game two in the weekend WCHA series on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Carlson Center. Puck-drop is set for 7:07 p.m. AST, with two ticket promotions still going on including through Saturday's game: buy-one, get-one ticket free (must be purchased at the Patty Center Ticket Office) and kids eighth grade and under get in free if wearing a hockey jersey. Additionally, there will be a Skate with the Nanooks following Saturday's game.
"I think going into tomorrow, we can expect the same type of first period," Schmidt concluded. "Again, something I hadn't really said, was that we are really proud with how the guys responded after a sub-par second period. I think tomorrow we're going to need to be a little sharper starting the game, the guys got a pretty stern talking to at second intermission, so I don't think they want to hear that again. I'm expecting the guys to come out on fire."