With nothing left to play for but pride, the UAA hockey team packed a punch in its penultimate game Friday night in Fairbanks.
The playoffs are far out of their reach and so is the Governor's Cup, but the Seawolves played with purpose in a 5-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over UAF at the Carlson Center.
It was UAA's third win of the season and its first over the Nanooks, who beat the Seawolves twice in November and twice in December to capture the Governor's Cup and the state bragging rights that come with it.
Saturday's rematch will mark the end of the season for the Seawolves (3-26-4 overall, 3-21-3 WCHA).
Friday's victory spares the Seawolves from the prospect of tying the school record for the most losses in a season. The record is 28, set in 2002-03.
It was the highest-scoring game of the season for the Seawolves, who rolled to an early 4-0 lead and got two points apiece from four players. Nicolas Erb-Ekholm scored twice and Austin Azurdia, Jarrett Brown and Alec Butcher each contributed a goal and an assist for UAA.
The Nanooks outshot the Seawolves 38-27, but UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha turned away 35 shots to keep UAF at bay.
Goals from Azurdia, Erb-Ekholm and Brown gave UAA a 3-0 lead in the first period, and Butcher made it 4-0 seven minutes into the second period with a goal that chased UAF starting goalie Anton Martinsson. Martinsson was one of three goalies in net for UAF.
Ryker Leer put UAF on the scoreboard with eight minutes left in the second period. Four minutes later, Erb-Ekholm netted his second goal to give UAA a 5-1 lead after two periods.
The third period was scoreless for about 18 minutes before the Nanooks made a final push with power-play goals from Justin Woods and Ross Heidt. UAF was 2 of 5 with the man advantage and UAA was 1 of 5.