FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team earned their first ever win against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday, Nov. 8 in the Carlson Center. In exciting fashion, the Nanooks claimed the victory behind a late, third period goal from their captain, Kylar Hope to edge ASU, 4-3, improving them to 6-5-0, 4-2-0-0 WCHA.
The Devils struck first in the first period. Just when the fans thought it would be 0-0 at the first intermission, Jacob Semik sent a top-shelf shot past Anton Martinsson giving Arizona State a 0-1 lead with only nine seconds remaining on the clock in the first period. They took this lead into the locker room, however, it was the last lead they would have on the night. The Nanooks responded right out of the gates in the second period.
Forward, Filip Fornaa Svensson broke through in the biggest way. The 6'4", freshman from Linkoping, Sweden struck for his first goal of his collegiate career only 1:25 into the second period tying things up at 1-1. He was not done there. 9:50 later, at the 8:45 mark, Fornaa Svensson struck again, connecting on a pass from Colton Leiter and Antti Virtanen for his second goal of the night and of his young-career.
Fornaa Svensson felt he was adding important minutes without scoring points, but that did not keep him from being relieved about the goals, "I just try and work hard and keep it simple... It was seven games, no points so it's always hard...so just relief getting the first goal."
The freshman wasn't the only one grabbing their first career-goal as sophomore, forward, Caleb Hite also added a goal to his name, just over a minute after Fornaa Svensson's second of the night. Hite took passes from Colin Doyle and Kyle Marino and slotted the puck past ASU goaltender, Evan DeBrouwer, extending the Nanook lead to 3-1.
ASU had some fight left in them, however. Halfway through the third period, the Sun Devils made their push, getting goals from sophomore, forward, PJ Marrocco almost 10 minutes in, followed up by a goal from Johnny Walker only 40 seconds later while on the power play. After tying things up at 3-3, it felt as if ASU had taken all of the momentum. Kylar Hope, the Nanooks senior, captain had other ideas.
With just under 3:30 remaining on the clock, #28 of Alaska struck, making a defender miss after taking a pass from Leiter and sending a shot over the right shoulder of DeBrouwer giving the 'Nooks a 4-3 lead and an eventual victory.
Before the Nanooks claimed the victory, ASU had their chances. Roberts Kalkis spent the final two minutes of the game in the penalty box for an interference call, giving the Sun Devils a two-man advantage thanks to the penalty and empty net. The 'Nooks defense stood strong; in the final 15 seconds the Sun Devils threw four opportunities in front of the net but Martinsson stopped all of them, ending the night with 27 saves.
Head coach Erik Largen was proud of his team's response but feels there's more to come tomorrow, "It was great to see the team respond until we got the fourth goal... It was a good win for us, we're happy with that but we know it's going to be a tough test tomorrow and they're going to elevate their game so we know we'll need to as well."
The Nanooks and Sun Devils have one more game to play in this weekend series on Nov. 9 at 7:07 p.m. at the Carlson Center.