FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks welcomed the Denver Pioneers to the Carlson Center on opening night of the 2019-20 hockey season. The 'Nooks grabbed an early lead but were unable to keep it in the long run, dropping game one, 4-3 to Denver.
Max Newton got the scoring off for the Nanooks only 16 seconds into the young season. He deflected a pass in front of the net from Antti Virtanen to put Alaska up 1-0. That lead would stay for only six more minutes when Denver's Ryan Barrow slid one by Nanooks goaltender, Anton Martinsson. Senior Kyle Marino grabbed the lead back before the first intermission. Colin Doyle dumped off a pass to Marino who went top shelf for the goal, his first of the season, also giving Doyle his first assist and point of the season.
The second period saw things turn for the Pioneers. Denver grabbed the next two goals, one by Kohen Olischefski and the next by Bobby Brink, both within two minutes of each other. The game would become one of possession for the next period and a half.
Half way through the third period, Steven Jandric, the Nanooks leading scorer from 2018-19, found the back of the net for his first goal of the season, tying the game up at three. Roberts Kalkis and Max Newton grabbed their first assists of the season on Jandric's goal.
Unfortunately for the 'Nooks, Denver would pull the winning goal on them with just over one minute remaining in the game.
Head coach Erik Largen had this to say following his team's tough loss to the #2 ranked Denver Pioneers, "It was a disappointing loss against a very good Denver team. We showed a lot of positives tonight but we must be even better tomorrow knowing they are only going to elevate their game to an even higher level. We will use this to become a better team."
The 'Nooks were unable to get anything on net in the final minute as Denver took game one. Alaska and Denver will do battle one more time on Sunday, Oct. 6th as the Nanooks look to even the non-conference series.
Puck drop is scheduled for 5:07 p.m. AKT. Get here early for a tailgate inside the Carlson Center where you can enjoy the Sunday Night Football game on the big screen prior to the Nanooks, Pioneers game.