|1st||12:48||MIN||1-0||SH||Tyler Sheehy (1)||Eric Schierhorn/1|
|1st||13:14||AKF||1-1||PP||Zach Frye (1)||Chad Staley/1, Tayler Munson/1|
|2nd||6:13||MIN||2-1||EV||Brent Gates Jr. (3)||Ryan Norman/1, Jake Bischoff/1|
|2nd||8:29||MIN||3-1||EV||Vinni Lettieri (1)||Rem Pitlick/1|
|2nd||9:50||AKF||2-3||EV||Austin Vieth (1)||Brandon Morley/1, Josh Erickson/1|
|2nd||18:26||MIN||4-2||SH GW||Justin Kloos (1)||Mike Szmatula/1|
|3rd||13:14||AKF||3-4||EV||Troy Van Tetering (1)||Brandon Morley/2, Zach Frye/1|
|3rd||14:15||MIN||5-3||EV||Ryan Zuhlsdorf (2)||Taylor Cammarata/2, Mike Szmatula/2|
|3rd||19:30||MIN||6-3||EV EN||Tyler Sheehy (2)||Tommy Novak/1, Leon Bristedt/2|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Eric Schierhorn (W, 2-0-0)||60:00||3||8||5||4||17|
|Jesse Jenks (L, 0-1-0)||59:03||5||8||10||3||21|
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team split the weekend at the University of Alaska Anchorage Hockey Classic, after falling to the Minnesota Gophers 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Sullivan Arena. The Gophers improve to 2-0-0 overall (0-0-0 Big Ten), while the Nanooks drop to 1-1-0 overall (0-0-0 WCHA).
"I thought in the first period we came out skating with lots of energy, I think our downfall was giving up two shorthanded goals, which was tough to swallow," head coach Dallas Ferguson said following Sunday's game. "I thought there was a span in the second period where they started going up and down the ice a little too freely, but I thought we got back to our game in the third period. Obviously, I was happy when we came back to make it 3-4 and hoping we would get the next one but Minnesota's a good hockey team. There are a lot of positives to take away from today's game and this weekend in general. We got a lot of our younger guys some minutes and put some different people in the lineup so we're looking forward to our tournament next weekend."
Alaska was outshot 27-20 by Minnesota, but tied the Gophers in shots in the first (9-9) and third (5-5) periods. In the second-straight game, the Nooks were able to capitalize on the man-advantage, going 1-6 on the power play, while the Gophers were 0-2. Junior defenseman Zach Frye and senior forward Brandon Morley each collected two points on the night, Frye with a goal and an assist, while Morley registered two assists.
Alaska was backstopped by sophomore goaltender Jesse Jenks, who recorded 21 saves in net, while Anchorage-product Eric Schierhorn made 17 saves for Minnesota.
A shorthanded goal by Tyler Sheehy at the 12:48 mark in the first period, gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead in the first. Alaska was running the power play in the offensive zone when a rebound from Schierhorn landed on Sheehy's stick. Most of the Nanooks were caught down low, sending Sheehy on a two-on-one with another Gopher penalty killer. As redshirt-junior defenseman Justin Woods denied the pass across the slot, Sheehy shot the puck past Jenks to score his first goal of the season. Sheehy's goal was assisted by goaltender Shierhorn.
Alaska answered not even a minute later, when Frye scored a power play goal at the 13:14 mark from the blue line. After a battle on the wall, the puck popped up to Frye, who walked across the blue line before taking a slapshot that went past a screened Schierhorn to tie the game 1-1. Sophomore forward Chad Staley and Tayler Munson were awarded the assists.
The second period saw a total of four goals being scored, with Minnesota accounting for three of them. Minnesota's Brent Gates (6:13) and Vinni Lettieri (8:29) each netted even-strength goals to give the Gophers a 3-1 lead.
At the 9:50 mark, Alaska's starting line of seniors Brandon Morley, Josh Erickson and junior Austin Vieth were flying into the offensive zone with Morley entering the zone wide with the puck, while Vieth was crashing the net. Morley shot-passed the puck in the direction of the net, which was just enough for Vieth to put a stick on it and tip the puck in for his first goal of the season. Erickson and Morley were awarded assists, while Vieth scores his first goal of the season.
"I thought the Brandon Morley, Vieth and Erickson line was really effective this weekend," Ferguson continued. "They were getting to pucks quickly and causing turnovers, while also creating offensive chances for each other. Frye and Woods were also two returners who had good weekends. We just have to keep our head up and have those guys continue to lead as the season progresses."
Minnesota's Justin Kloos made it 4-2 at the 18:26 mark of the second, scoring the Gopher's second shorthanded goal of the night. A failed pass on Alaska's power play sent the Gophers on another shorthanded two-on-one, as Mike Szmatula dished the puck to Kloos in the neutral zone to send him on a breakaway.
Freshman forward Toy Van Tetering gave the Nanooks their third goal of the night, marking the rookie's first collegiate goal. Morley was chasing the puck into the Gopher zone and made a quick, behind-the-back pass to Van Tetering who was evading coverage in the slot. Van Tetering picked up the loose puck and rifled a quick wrist shot past Schierhorn to make it 3-4.
Unfortunately, the Gophers scored twice more in the third period, with an even-strength goal from Zuhlsdorf (14:15) and an empty-netter from Sheehy (19:30) to seal give the Gophers a 6-3 victory.
On the bright side, the young Nanooks squad displayed plenty of energy, patience and confidence a hockey fan wouldn't normally observe from such a young roster. Ferguson was impressed with a couple of his rookies, "I thought Troy (Van Tetering) really had two really good back-to-back games and his skating ability really showed. I thought Tristan Thompson did a heck of a job moving the puck and blocking shots and defending down low and then I also thought Colton Leiter kept improving in every game, which is great to see in a young player."
The Alaska Nanooks hockey team returns to the Carlson Center next weekend to host the Ninth Annual Brice Alaska Goal Rush. The Nanooks take on the Canisius Golden Griffins on Friday (Oct. 14), before facing the Omaha Mavericks on Saturday (Oct. 15). Both Alaska Nanooks games are scheduled for 7:07 p.m. AKT and will take place at the Carlson Center.
"Right now at this time of the season, I think it's important to only focus on our game," Ferguson concluded. "Like I told the guys, there's lots of positives to build on, we'll work on things that maybe we're not so fond of but we have a long season here, we have to stay with the process and keep forming and molding our identity to where, every time we play, it's consistent. If we can do that, I think we can put ourselves in a good position to win some hockey games."