In the annual Governor's Cup for college hockey bragging rights in Alaska, shootouts have proved disastrous for UAA and delightful for UAF.
So it was yet again Saturday night at the sold-out Carlson Center in Fairbanks, where UAF used shootout supremacy to hoist the hardware.
After beating UAA 3-1 in Game 2 of the two-game series, the Nanooks won the shootout 3-2 to seize the Cup for the third straight season and raise their advantage to 11-8 in Cup history that covers 19 seasons.
Six times the Cup has been decided by a shootout and the Nanooks have prevailed five times, including last year.
The shootout is designed to go three rounds, but Saturday's was tied 2-2 after three shooters a side -- Curtis Leinweber and Matt Bailey struck for UAA, Colton Beck and Andy Taranto for UAF -- so the skills contest went to a fourth round. UAA's Sam Mellor didn't score, but UAF's Nik Yaremchuk did.
Cup series over.
The Nanooks (12-18-4) perhaps owned an advantage going into the shootout because they play in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, where games still tied after overtime are extended to a three-round shootout. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the circuit in which UAA (9-21-2) plays, does not use the shootout -- in that league, a tie is a tie.
UAA forced UAF to win both Game 2 and a shootout to maintain the Cup because the Seawolves scored a 3-2 victory in Friday's Cup opener at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
Saturday, the Seawolves got on the board first when Daniel Naslund scored four minutes into the second period.
But the Nanooks, who outshot the Seawolves 31-15 in regulation and overtime, pushed back hard. Cody Kunyk bagged his team-leading 15th goal midway through the second period to forge a 1-1 before Seawolves killer Andy Taranto notched the eventual game winner.
Taranto's goal with 90 seconds left in the second period delivered a 2-1 lead and kept up his rough treatment of the Seawolves. Taranto, who also assisted on Kunyk's goal, has racked six goals in six career games against UAA.
Adam Henderson's third-period goal, his second goal of the series, extended UAF's lead to 3-1 in the third period.
UAA goaltender Chris Kamal, who made 27 saves to backstop Friday's win, stopped 28 shots Saturday. UAF's Scott Greenham made 14 saves.
The Seawolves, who didn't cash in on their chance to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-October, on Friday and Saturday entertain Bemidji State (Minn.) in a WCHA match-up that marks the end of the regular season. They then hit the road against an opponent to be determined for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
UAF this week heads to Michigan to play a first-round CCHA series at Lake Superior State.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
UAF wins shootout 3-2
UAA 0 1 0 -- 1
UAF 0 2 1 -- 3
First Period -- None. Penalties -- Kwas, UAA (boarding), 6:13; Gens, UAF (tripping), 10:24; Warner, UAA (hooking), 11:15.
Second Period -- 1, UAA, Naslund 5 (Portwood, Karl), 3:56; 2, UAF, Kunyk 15 (Gens, Taranto), 12:33; 3, UAF, Taranto 11 (Gens, Quinn), 18:30. Penalties -- Taranto, UAF (interference), 6:14; Cameron, UAA (cross-checking), 15:14.
Third Period -- 4, UAF, Henderson 5 (Meyers, Gehon), 5:06. Penalties -- Scheid, UAA (hooking), 9:46; Gorham UAA (tripping), 13:24; Portwood, UAA (elbowing), 17:31; Pustin, UAA (delay of game), 19:35.
Shootout -- UAF 3 (Beck G, Henderson NG, Taranto G, Yaremchuk G), UAA 2 (Leinweber G, Kwas NG, Bailey G, Mellor NG).
Shots on goal -- UAA 6-5-4--15. UAF 8-13-10--31.
Power-play Opportunities -- UAA 0 of 2. UAF 0 of 7.
Goalies -- UAA, Kamal, 4-10-0 (31 shots-20 saves). UAF, Greenham, (11-16-4) (15 shots-14 saves).
A -- 4,595 (4,324). T -- 2:20.
Referees -- Bradley Albers, Derek Berkabile. Assistant referees -- Will Moran, Skip Jantz.
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News