FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team fell to Denver for the second time in as many nights. In a game that saw not a lot of action until the end of the second set, the Pioneers were able to leave Fairbanks with a 3-0 victory over the Nanooks on Oct. 6.
Oct. 5 and 6 saw the tale of two periods in the first. Saturday's game saw three first period goals, Sunday's saw none. It wasn't until late in the second period when the Carlson Center saw the first goal of the game, a short-handed goal by Denver's Ian Mitchell, assisted by the Pioneers returning leading scorer, Liam Finlay.
Denver took a 1-0 lead into the locker rooms for the second intermission. After returning to the ice for the third period, Denver would tack one more on the board with an unassisted goal from defensemen, Griffin Mendel. The 'Nooks attempted to clear the puck, but a funky hop off the boards led to an open Mendel and Denver goal.
Denver would add one more near the end of the game on an open net. Despite the 3-0 loss, the Nanooks had a lot of opportunities.
After being outshot by the Pioneers in the first period, Alaska came out on the attack with 14 shots in the second period. Led by Tyler Cline and Eriks Zohovs, both with six shots, the Nanooks kept DU goalkeeper, Magnus Chrona on his toes.
Unfortunately for the Nanooks, none of their shots found the back of the net and the short-handed goal might have played the biggest role in the loss. Head coach Erik Largen had this to say after the game, "It's disappointing that we're not finding a way to be able to finish off and be able to beat good hockey teams who are in there ... giving up a short-handed goal late in the second is deflating, and then they were obviously able to add another there in the third and that's basically the game."
Neither team was able to capitalize on the penalties tonight, with the two teams combining 0/10 on the power play.
As for what is to come for the Alaska hockey team, they travel to Houghton, Michigan and then University Park, Pennsylvania to take on Michigan Tech and Penn State. A long road-trip for the 'Nooks as they will stay on the road for two consecutive weeks, "First and foremost we have to rest, we go on the road for two weeks and we have to make sure we're taking care of ourselves and recovering ... we have to make sure we're pushing each other and get each other better."
The Nanooks return after their two-week road trip, but won't be back at home in the Carlson Center until Nov. 1 and 2 when they host Bemidji State. After their trip to Pennsylvania, Alaska heads to Alaska Anchorage in what will be the first leg of the 2019-20 Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup.