A pair of power-play goals by nationally-ranked Alaska proved decisive as the Nanooks skated to a 3-1 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) opening victory over the Ferris State University men's ice hockey this Friday (Oct. 30) evening at UA's Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Ferris State drops to 5-2-0 overall and 0-1-0-(0) in the CCHA with the loss while Alaska improves its overall mark to 4-0-1 overall and is now 1-0-0-(0) in league play to date. Moreover, the Nanooks continued their recent dominance over the Bulldogs extending their unbeaten streak to 14 straight (12-0-2 record) in the all-time series.
Ferris State opened the scoring in the first period at 14:31. Senior center Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) fired a shot on Alaska goaltender Scott Greenham from inside the right circle near the slot which caromed off in front of the goal. Senior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) was able to get a skate on the rebound and momentarily stop the puck which senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) promptly taped into the Alaska net from just outside the left corner post. Riley's lamplighter represented his team-leading fourth of this campaign and was tabbed the game's third star. Chupp and Haines were credited with the assists on the Bulldogs' lone marker of the contest.
Alaska gained the equalizer with just 01.1 seconds remaining in the opening frame on a power-play tally by Nik Yaremchuk. The Nanooks capitalized on a Bulldog penalty to sophomore defenseman Tommy Hill (Portage), which came with 22 seconds left in the period. Joe Sova's one timer from above the left circle was on target hitting Bulldog sophomore goaltender Taylor Nelson's (Regina, Saskatchewan) pads where Yaremchuk quickly redirected a rebound on a backhander just beyond a sprawling Nelson.
A pair of back-to-back penalties midway through the second period put Ferris State down two skaters at the eight-minute mark with freshman right wing Eric Alexander (Kentwood) receiving a five-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct. However, the Bulldogs' penalty kill unit stepped up its play until 50 seconds left in the Alaska power play when Aaron Gens connected from high above the slot through traffic with 4:52 left in the period to give the Nanooks a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of action.
The Nanooks would put the finishing touches on their league-opening win in the third period as a result of an empty net goal by Adam Cardwell with 09.0 showing on the scoreboard.
Taylor Nelson made 26 saves in suffering his first loss of the season while Scott Greenham totaled 25 stops at the other end. Alaska would finish with a 30-26 shots on goal advantage although the Bulldogs would claim a 10-7 edge in the final period.
The teams face off this Saturday (Oct. 31) in the weekend series finale with the puck dropping at 11:05 p.m. (EDT).
NOTES - Ferris State is now 10-17-4 in CCHA opening contests, which includes a 1-1-0 mark against Alaska . . . With Friday's loss, the Bulldogs have dropped their last five meetings versus the Nanooks and haven't won on Alaska's ice since Nov. 2, 2002 with a 5-1 decision . . . Four of Blair Riley's team-high six points (4-2=6) this season have resulted in lamplighters . . . Alaska's 30-26 lead in shots on goal marked the first time this season in which the Bulldogs have been outshot by the opposition . . . FSU's top forward line of Blair Riley, Casey Haines, and Cody Chupp have currently totaled a combined 17 points (7-10=17) in four outings this campaign. The trio accounted for all three of the Bulldogs' points in this season's series opener at Alaska.