|1st||8:36||AKF||1-0||PP||Nolan Huysmans (3)||Marcus Basara/3, Tyler Morley/9|
|3rd||10:49||BMJ||1-1||PP GT||Leo Fitzgerald (3)||Gerry Fitzgerald/7, Dillon Eichstadt/5|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bemidji State (6-9-4)||1/3||7/14||0|
|Bemidji State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||OT||Saves|
|Michael Bitzer (T, 2-9-3)||65:00||1||8||8||8||2||26|
|Davis Jones (T, 2-7-1)||65:00||1||5||10||10||4||29|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team earned one Western Collegiate Hockey Association point on the weekend, tying the Bemidji State Beavers 1-1 in overtime on Sunday evening at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. After falling to the Beavers 6-5 in overtime on Saturday night, the Nanooks move to an overall record of 5-10-4 (3-9-4 WCHA), while the Beavers move to an overall record of 6-9-4 (5-8-3 WCHA).
"If you look at both teams, I think both are better than what their record reflects," assistant coach Corbin Schmidt said following Sunday's game. "We don't play Bemidji again, but the times we did play them this year, it's been a good battle. Last night and tonight, both teams worked hard for 65 minutes. We got one point out of the weekend, but now we go on the road for two weeks, where we will have our hands full with Alabama and Northern Michigan, so we need to start preparing right now."
The Nanooks were backed by a stellar performance from junior goaltender Davis Jones, who made 29 saves on the night after backing up freshman goaltender Jesse Jenks in the last four Nanook contests. After making multiple saves in clutch situations, Davis concluded the night by making four crucial saves in overtime. On the other end of the ice, Bemidji's sophomore goaltender Michael Bitzer collected 26 saves, including two in overtime. The Nanooks were outshot by their opponent once more, 30-27.
"Any way you look at it, Davis came up huge for us tonight," Schmidt said of the junior's performance. "The guys will tell you, he's a pleasure to play in front of because you feel confident with him behind you. Regardless if he didn't play in the last game or in the last 10 games, it doesn't matter, he's a constant professional who's always prepared."
Alaska struck first in Sunday's league game, as senior forward Nolan Huysmans scored on a backdoor, power play opportunity at the 8:36 mark of the first period. The play began with senior forward Tyler Morley skating around the BSU net, walking up the half wall before turning around and firing it on Bitzer, who was able to make the initial stop but couldn't control the rebound. Junior forward Marcus Basara was standing by the inside post and was able to redirect Morley's rebound over to Huysmans, who was alone backdoor. The goal marks Huysmans second power play goal of the season and his second point of the weekend (1G, 1A). Basara picks up his second point of the weekend as well (1G, 1A), while T. Morley dominated the scoresheet for both teams, collecting his fifth point of the weekend (2G, 3A).
In a nail-biting third period, Alaska was unable to extend the lead on three power play opportunities, but Bemidji scored half-way through the third to tie the game at the 10:49 mark. Bemidji's sophomore defenseman Gerry Fitzgerald started the play by moving into the Alaska defensive zone along the wall, before dropping the pass to sophomore defenseman Dillon Eichstadt. Eichstadt shot the puck on Jones from just inside the top of the circle, where Jones wasn't able to collect the rebound before sophomore forward Leo Fitzgerald put it top-shelf on Jones to tie it 1-1.
Being the only WCHA contest this weekend, the Bemidji Beavers move up in the WCHA standings, moving to sixth place with 13 points. The Nanooks remain in ninth place overall with 10 points.
"We do tend to go on second-half runs and I think we have the opportunity to do that again this year," Schmidt concluded. "We have some youngsters who are in the line-up every night, who are starting to mature in situations and starting to play the game the Nanook way. I think you see it in a game like tonight, where everyone sticks to the game-plan, guys aren't getting too selfish and trying to do everything themselves, but it's got to be a team game. Especially on the road, we're going to have to score those ugly goals and go to the tough areas, which I think we have in our line-up now."
The Alaska Nanooks hockey team sets off on a two-week WCHA road trip starting on Tuesday, taking on the University of Alabama-Huntsville on Jan. 8-9 (puck-drop both nights at 4:07 p.m. AST) at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama before heading up to Marquette, Michigan for a two-game series against the Northern Michigan University Wildcats Jan.15-16 (3:07 p.m. AST) at the Berry Events Center.