The Nanooks received two goals from their leading active scorer. They got at least one goal from all four of their lines, including a first strike 12 seconds into the season. They snuffed all seven Air Force power plays. And they supported their goaltender with 18 blocked shots.
As debuts go, there wasn't much to nitpick about UAF's -- other than three major penalties in a game that featured four -- and that's why the Nanooks generated a 6-1 win over Air Force in Friday's opener of the Kendall Hockey Classic.
"You take a lot of positives out of that,'' said UAF senior captain Cody Kunyk, who pocketed two goals to give him nine career multiple-goal games.
Kunyk's right wing, Nolan Huysmans, established the tone right off the hop at Sullivan Arena. He pressured Falcons defenseman Adam McKenzie into a turnover and scored just a dozen ticks into the match.
Kunyk followed a dozen minutes later, and when Nanooks freshman Brandon Morely took a major penalty for checking from behind moments after Kunyk scored, UAF responded with yet another goal. Defenseman Michael Quinn sprung Jared Larson a breakaway and Larson beat Jason Torf with a short-handed wrister to the stick side to pump the Nanooks' lead to 3-0 and chase the Falcons senior.
Kuynk's second strike, midway through the second period, pushed UAF's lead to 4-0. And even though Air Force's George Michalke answered 22 seconds later, UAF's Garrick Perry countered 17 seconds after that. Nanooks freshman Marcus Basara added his first career goal in the third period.
"We just needed to keep pushing hard,'' Kunyk said. "There have been a lot of times in the past when we've let up and let teams back into the game.''
Kunyk proved an instrumental penalty killer, as did the short-handed pairing of defensemen Colton Parayko (two assists) and Quinn (one helper). Kunyk has scored five goals in seven career games in the Kendall and owns 39 career goals.
"The biggest thing I liked about his game was there was intensity to it,'' said UAF coach Dallas Ferguson.
Sophomore John Keeney turned back 20 shots for UAF.
Air Force coach Frank Serratore used all three of his goalies. The Falcons failed to seize opportunities, particularly on the power play -- they managed seven shots on seven occasions with a manpower advantage, including a two-man advantage that lasted two minutes in the third period.
And, a minimum of five odd-man rushes at even strength didn't amount to anything for the Falcons. They also lost winger Ryan Timer to a knee-to-knee hit from Nanooks defenseman Josh Atkinson in the waning minutes.
Friday marked the third time in four seasons the Nanooks have faced the Falcons in the Kendall. UAF has two wins and a tie in those meetings.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Air Force 0 1 0 -- 1
UAF 3 2 1 -- 6
First Period -- 1, UAF, Huysmans 1, :12; 2, UAF, Kunyk 1, 12:17; 3, UAF, Larson 1 (Quinn), 13:45 (pp). Penalties -- UAF bench minor, served by Huysmans (too many men), 4:25; Atkinson, UAF (tripping), 5:58; B. Morley, UAF, major-game misconduct (checking from behind), 13:04.
Second Period -- 4, UAF, Kunyk 2 (Parayko, Beck), 10:05; 5, Air Force, Michalke 1 (Persian, Halloran), 10:27; 6, UAF, Perry 1 (Parayko, Hochhausen), 10:44. Penalties -- Carey, Air Force (high-sticking), 11:56; Kunyk, UAF (charging), 12:39; Youngmun, UAF (roughing), 16:03; Hartner, Air Force (embellishment), 16:03.
Third Period -- 7, UAF, Basara 1, 6:03. Penalties -- Weissenhofer, Air Force (tripping), 4:57; Hochhausen, UAF, major-game misconduct, served by Husmans (checking from behind), 6:22; Kunyk, UAF (slashing), 9:21; Atkinson, UAF, major-game misconduct, served by Youngmun (kneeing), 17:54; Halloran, Air Force, major-game misconduct, served by Reid (contact to the head), 18:15.
Shots on goal -- Air Force 8-4-9--21. UAF 6-7-4--17.
Power-play Opportunities -- Air Force 0 of 7. UAF 1 of 2.
Goalies -- Air Force, Torf, 0-1-0(5 shots-2 saves); Moberg (9-6); Truehl (3-3). UAF, Keeney, 1-0-0 (21 shots-20 saves).
A --3,024 (6,251). T -- 2:24.
Referees -- Chris Perrault, Dan Koraik. Assistant referees -- John Conoy, Rick Nelson.