There were moments Friday where a key bounce could have turned the momentum in favor of the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey team in its matchup with University of Alaska Fairbanks.
But each time the Seawolves had an opening, UAF goalie Matt Radomsky was there to shut the door.
Radomsky made 20 saves in recording a shutout as UAF topped UAA 4-0 at Seawolf Sports Complex to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Governor’s Cup.
Radomsky, a transfer from Holy Cross, was in net for both of the Nanooks’ wins over UAA in the two-game series in Fairbanks.
“He made a couple of big saves,” UAF head coach Erik Largen said. “He just made really timely saves tonight where if he gives one up, I think it changes the complexion of the game.”
Radomsky was able to play with a lead for much of the game. After neither team got much going early in the opening period, the Nanooks struck for a goal at 8:38 as Simon Falk hammered home a rebound in front of UAA goalie Joey Lamoreaux.
The type of scoring chance has been a point of emphasis lately for Largen.
“I think we’ve got to do a better job of getting around the net,” he said. “The first goal is a really good example of it. We just got it there and won a couple battles in front and were able to finish off on the backside.”
UAF made it 2-0 a few minutes later as Chase Dubois scored on a power-play with a slapshot that appeared to handcuff Lamoreaux.
“A team as good as Fairbanks, they only need a short window to get those couple of goals,” UAA head coach Matt Shasby said.
While UAA went into the first break down 2-0, they controlled play for much of the second period. The Seawolves outshot UAF 9-6 but couldn’t convert on a pair of power plays early in the period.
“Just picking our pace up being a little bit more responsive and more competitive in that second period goes a long way,” Shasby said.
The missed opportunities stung for the Seawolves as UAF coverted a power play of its own early in the third to take a 3-0 lead.
“Special teams are the difference in the game,” Largen said. “They did a great job in the second, they responded and kind of kicked our butts a little bit but we held on and had some good kills. And then in the third period that power-play goal, to me that ends up being the difference.”
Nanooks forward Jonny Sorenson got the third goal, sliding it past Lamoreaux on a break out.
“That’s college hockey,” Shasby said. “Once you get to this point in the season, five-on-five play is almost a wash and your special teams are going to win you hockey games.”
UAF scored the final goal in the last two minutes of the game with UAA already on the power play and Lamoreaux on the bench in favor of an extra attacker. TJ Lloyd notched the unassisted empty netter for the Nanooks.
The Nanooks (8-7-2) and the Seawolves (2-11-0) face off again Saturday at 6:07 p.m. at the Seawolf Sports Complex.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Shasby said. “We’re trying to establish ourselves and establish our program and the fans showed out again tonight and hopefully will again tomorrow night to watch some good college hockey.”