|1st||0:35||AKF||1-0||EV||John Mullally (4)||Marcus Basara/7|
|3rd||5:02||FSU||1-1||PP||Chad McDonald (7)||Brandon Anselmini/9, Andrew Mayer/6|
|OT||0:15||FSU||2-1||EV GW||Gerald Mayhew (9)||Kyle Schempp/12, Brandon Anselmini/10|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Ferris State (13-9-6)||1/2||1/2||0|
|Ferris State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||OT||Saves|
|Darren Smith (W, 10-4-5)||60:15||1||9||13||9||0||31|
|Jesse Jenks (L, 4-7-3)||60:15||2||10||10||4||0||24|
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - After leading 1-0 for the first 45 minutes of the game, the Alaska Nanooks fell to the Ferris State Bulldogs 2-1 in overtime in Saturday night's Western Collegiate Hockey Association contest at the Carlson Center. The Nanooks (7-16-4 overall, 5-13-4 WCHA) fall to the Bulldogs (13-9-6 overall, 11-7-4 WCHA) for the second straight night, extending Alaska's losing streak to six games.
"We talked a lot after last night's game, we weren't really happy with the team's effort and we needed the guys to bounce back tonight with a lot of energy and they did. That one is a really tough one to swallow after we played like we did," assistant coach Lance West said following Saturday's game. "A lot of good things came out of tonight's game, but you have to look at the end results and think about what the two things that bit us were... and it was taking a bad penalty late and the penalty kill not executing. Yeah, we worked hard and responded the right way, we had a lot of opportunities to get ahead in the second and third and their goalie made some great saves. In the end, they were able to score on our penalty kill, which seems like a theme for our team and we're running out of time to learn that our special teams needs to be a lot better. That was a fast paced hockey game, two teams played hard but right now I'm trying to sit back and absorb that game but it's tough."
After being shutout in Friday's contest, the Nooks returned to the Carlson Center on Saturday as a completely different team, led by freshman forward John Mullally and freshman goaltender Jesse Jenks. The Nanooks wasted no time getting themselves on the board first when Mullally scored his fourth goal of the season to make it 1-0 Nanooks, only 35 seconds into the game. Sophomore forward Marcus Basara caused a turnover along the hashmark in the Bulldogs defensive zone before moving the puck across the slot to Mullally. Mullally was alone in front before burying the puck top-left corner. Mullally's tally is his second goal in three games, while Basara's assist marks his 14th point this season.
"Marcus made a great play in the zone, went after it and made a nice pass to Johnny and Johnny buried it," West said of the Nanooks' hot start and tough loss. "We had the start tonight that we wanted, that's why tonight's loss is a tough one. We had the good start, we played hard all night, then we took two penalties and that cost us. I don't know how many times we've said it, either the penalty kill has to be better or we have to stop taking unnecessary penalties. On a positive note, we had a lot of guys step up and play extremely well tonight."
The second period gave ample opportunity to the Nanooks, who had at least four legitimate scoring chances, putting a game-high 13 shots on goal in the second period but all were stopped by the Bulldogs' rookie goaltender Darren Smith. The Nanooks, one of the most penalized teams in the country, had their most disciplined game to date this season, only taking two penalties in Saturday's contest, with the first penalty of the game not coming until four minutes into the third period. Ferris State's Chad McDonald was able to capitalize on the man advantage, tying the game 1-1 at the 5:02 mark of the third period. The Bulldogs were playing a box-and-one power play set-up before rotating into a 2-3 power play when FSU's Brandon Anselmini dragged the Alaska penalty killer with him along the blue line, making an escape move before passing the puck to McDonald, who took a slapshot from the top of the zone that slipped past a screened Jenks.
The tie carried over as the third period expired, sending the Nanooks into overtime for the third time this season against Ferris State. The Bulldogs ended the game 15 seconds into overtime, as Gerald Mayhew collected his own rebound flying into the Nanook zone wide, finishing far-side top-shelf on Jenks. Mayhew's overtime goal was assisted by Kyle Schempp and Ansemini.
Alaska outshot the Bulldogs 32-26 on the night, as Jenks made an incredible performance in net Saturday, collecting 24 saves. Jenks impressive performance included skating to the near blue line to play the puck against an impeding FSU forechecker, who would've been sent on a breakaway. On the other end of the ice, FSU's Smith made 31 saves on the night, including 13 saves in the second period alone. Alaska was 0-for-1 on the power play tonight, as the Bulldogs were 1-for-2.
"I noticed how calm he was in net right away," West said of his rookie goaltender's performance. "They had a couple offensive bounces and he was sliding well, square to the puck, handling his rebounds and was genuinely confident tonight. You don't usually see it in rookie goaltenders, but you can tell tonight he was square to the shots, collecting rebounds and anticipating the plays. He was getting over to pucks beforehand so he didn't have slide over late and make big saves, he was already there. He gave us every opportunity to win tonight and he did what he had to do, it's just unfortunate that we didn't score enough goals to make it happen."
The Alaska Nanooks will take a one-week break from competition, earning a bye-week for the weekend of Feb. 12-13. The Nooks will be back in action at the Carlson Center Feb. 19-20 to host Bowling Green in another two-game WCHA series, with puck-drop set for 7:07 p.m. AST both nights.
"Everyone on this team knows what they have to do and what their role is, what their responsibilities are and what they have to do in order to execute. The next two weeks will be about continuing to get sharper and sharper and mentally preparing for Bowling Green. The one thing we can look forward to is that we can control our destiny and I think we're very fortunate to have that situation. We have to stay positive and focused in order to will our way into a playoff spot, and then we can see what happens from there," West concluded.