Fairbanks, AK – The door was left wide open for the Falcons to make up some ground in the MacNaughton Cup race. A late shorthanded goal ended up being the deciding factor as the Falcons fell to the Nanooks 2-1, keeping the Falcons in a tie for second place with Michigan Tech.
Chris Nell made the start for the Falcons and made 32 saves on 34 chances. Jesse Jenks got the start for the Nanooks, making 33 of 34 saves.
The Nanooks opened the scoring at 8:45 of the first period. Alex Hajdukovich managed to roof a rebound off Chad Staley’s initial shot on Nell.
The Falcons managed just six shots in the first period on Jenks. The Nanooks were busier, getting 16 opportunities on Nell.
The Falcons settled in during the second period, and doubled up the Nanooks in shots for the period. But, Jesse Jenks continued his strong game and kept the Falcons off the scoreboard.
The Falcons had 16 shots in the second period, while Alaska challenged Nell eight times.
The Falcons finally got on the board at 4:30 of the third period. Sean Walker collected the puck in the Falcon zone, and passed to Mitch McLain. McLain passed to Spezia in the neutral zone, who skated in on the wing. The sophomore forward got an initial shot on Jenks, found the rebound, and backhanded a shot for a goal.
The Falcons had a late power play chance to score the winning goal. But, the shorthanded bug bit the Falcons again. Tyler Munson skated in and wristed a shot from the slot. Nell didn’t catch enough of the shot, and it trickled behind him for the game winning goal with just :09 to play in the game.
The Falcons finished the third period with 12 shots on Jenks, while the Nanooks had ten opportunities. With the loss the Falcons fall to 16-11-6, 12-6-5 on the season. The Nanooks improve to 8-17-4, 6-13-4. The teams will conclude their series Saturday at 11:07 PM.
- Tayler Munson (UAF) – GWG
- Alec Hajdukovich (UAF) – 1 G
- Jesse Jenks (UAF) – 33 saves