DENVER - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team continues the search for their first victory of the 2018-19 season, falling 4-1 to the No. 9 Denver Pioneers in nonconference action at the Magness Arena. The Nanooks drop to 0-5-0 on the season, while the Pioneers improve to 3-0-0 overall.
"I thought we played really well in the first ten minutes of the game, advancing pucks and establishing our forecheck," head coach Erik Largen said on Friday. "We gave up a goal on the penalty kill and we didn't respond well after that, giving up two more goals within a three-minute span. We got into some penalty trouble in the second period but Anton completely kept us in it. I liked our desperation in the game overall, especially in the third period, but it wasn't quite enough against a team like Denver. We need to find a way to take that step forward together, as a hockey team, and play a consistent and detailed 60 minute game."
Despite the score, Alaska's junior goaltender Anton Martinsson posted a career-night with 39 saves, a single-game personal best for the Klippan, Sweden native. Martinsson tallied 13 saves in the first period, 17 in the second and nine in the third.
On the other end of the ice, Denver's Devin Cooley picked up 25 saves against the Nanooks, including 12 in the third period alone.
The Nanooks dominated play for the first half of the first period, eventually resulting in Alaska taking a 1-0 lead over the Pioneers at the 8:21 mark. While on the power play, freshman defenseman Chris Jandric kicked the puck across the top of the DU zone to his brother, sophomore forward Steven Jandric, along the flank. Jandric rifled a wristshot on net that Cooley was able to get a pad on but a failed clear by the Denver defenseman ended up on the stick of junior forward Colton Leiter, who was able to score his first of the season from weak-side slot.
Leiter's tally marks the Nanooks first power play goal of the season and S. Jandric's first of the season. C. Jandric is currently riding a three-game point streak, having registered three points (all assists) in those contests, which ties him for first on the team in scoring.
The Pioneers responded quickly, scoring three unanswered goals in a span of 2:16 before the conclusion of the first period. Denver's Emilio Petterson tallied his second goal of the season on the man-advantage at the 16:34 mark before Michael Davies gave Denver a 2-1 lead with an even-strength goal at the 18:21 mark. Twenty-nine seconds later, Liam Finlay made it 3-1 in favor of the home team with his fourth of the season.
After a scoreless second period and the majority of the third period, Denver was able to score an empty-net goal at the 18:16 mark to finalize the 4-1 victory.
The Alaska Nanooks hockey team returns to Magness Arena for another nonconference matchup against Denver tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 20) at 5:07pm AKT.