FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team dropped a Western Collegiate Hockey Association contest to in-state rival Alaska Anchorage on Friday night, falling 4-1 at the Carlson Center. The loss drops Alaska's overall record to 8-17-2 and 8-12-1-1 in WCHA play, while the Seawolves improve to 3-22-2 on the season and 2-17-2-1 in league matchups.
The Seawolves walk away with three WCHA points following Friday's victory, while the Nanooks are held pointless. The Nanooks remain in seventh place in the conference standings with 26 points, while UAA remains in 10th place with nine points.
With a loss on Friday, Alaska is down one game to Alaska Anchorage in the race for the coveted Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup. The Gov. Cup will be awarded to the team who collects the most WCHA points at the conclusion of the four-game series. So far, UAA is up three points to Alaska's zero.
"I thought we were playing really well in the first 10 minutes of the game, we got all four lines going and got everyone involved in the game. We found a way to get up on the board with Colton Leiter finishing on a nice play and I thought we played well after that, too," head coach Erik Largen said on Friday. "We took a minor penalty at the end of the period that they were able to capitalize on and give them credit, after that, we were a little sleepy. I thought they outskated us, outworked us and outplayed us in the second period. Then they got a power play goal in the third and it was hard to battle back from that point forward. We had our chances but at the end of the day, we have to be a lot better tomorrow night in order to get a split this weekend."
Junior forward Colton Leiter opened up the scoring on Friday night, earning his sixth goal of the season at the 4:03 mark of the first period. After a transition play in the neutral zone, Leiter and sophomore forward Steven Jandric entered the zone on a 2-on-1 offensive rush before S. Jandric dished the puck across the slot to Leiter, whose wristshot beat UAA netminder Kristian Stead. Senior defenseman Nikolas Koberstein was awarded the secondary assist on Leiter's goal for his ninth of the season.
Before the first period concluded, UAA's Eric Sinclair's slapshot from the point tied the game at 1-1 at the 18:55 mark. Sinclair's power play goal was assisted by Jeremiah Leudtke and Carmine Buono.
Alaska Anchorage's Aaron McPheters tallied the lone goal in the second stanza, netting an even-strength goal at the 18:39 mark. McPheters' first career goal was assisted by Trey deGraaf and Nicolas Erb-Ekholm.
UAA earned another power play goal at the 3:53 mark of the third period to make it 3-1, courtesy of Luedtke, whose goal was assisted by Zach Court and Drayson Pears. The Seawolves sealed the victory with an unassisted empty-net goal by Pears at the 19:02 mark of the third.
The Nanooks went 0-for-4 on the power play on Friday, while the Seawolves went 2-for-5. UAA's Stead collected 26 saves on the night, including 13 in the third period alone, while Alaska's junior netminder Anton Martinsson amassed 20 saves.
The Alaska Nanooks and the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves will face-off again tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 9) for game two of the two-game WCHA series and Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup. Puck-drop at the Carlson Center is slated for 7:07pm AKST.