Maybe the Seawolves should play all of their games at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
The UAA hockey team surprised their northern rivals Friday night by taking a 4-1 victory over the Nanooks of UAF.
Kristian Stead made 26 saves and four players scored goals to lead the Seawolves to their third straight victory over UAF in Fairbanks. The streak began last season, when UAA wrapped up a dismal season with a pair of road wins in Fairbanks.
The game was the first in the four-game Governor’s Cup series, with the second on tap Saturday night in Fairbanks. The Governor’s Cup concludes March 1-2 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
“We came in with a mindset of taking a positive first step in this series, and I felt that we did that tonight on a lot of fronts,” UAA coach Matt Curley said in a press release from the school. “From execution of the power play and bearing down on the penalty kill to winning puck battles and getting a job done defensively, we covered a lot of what we needed to do.
“We will enjoy this one tonight but need to give that same effort tomorrow to give ourselves a chance to get the job done again.”
The win was the third in 27 games this season for the Seawolves (3-22-2 overall, 2-17-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association). It’s the second straight game they’ve stayed out of the loss column – in their last game, they played Michigan Tech to a scoreless tie and then won the shootout.
UAA’s last win came Dec. 15 against Bemidji State.
The Nanooks (8-17-2, 8-12-1) took a 1-0 lead on Colton Leiter’s goal late in the first period. Eric Sinclair tied the game late in the first period with a power-play goal assisted by Jeremiah Luedtke and Carmine Buono.
Aaron McPheters gave UAA the lead for good early in the second period with a one-timer set up by Nicolas Erb-Ekholm and Trey Degraaf.
The Seawolves tacked on two goals in the third period. Luedtke made it 3-1 with about four minutes remaining with a power-play goal off a pass from Zach Court , with a second assist going to Drayson Pears.
Pears scored his first career goal with an empty-netter with 58 seconds left.
Special teams shined for UAA, which was 2-for-5 with the man advantage and held UAF scoreless on four power plays.
With seven games left in the regular season, the Seawolves are one victory away from matching their win total from last season, when they were 4-26-4.
The original version of this story incorrectly identified UAA and UAF’s conference.