FAIRBANKS – The Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks claimed Game 1 of the 20th annual Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup when they capitalized on a 2-on-1 situation in overtime for a 2-1 win at the Carlson Center on Friday night.
Backstopped by solid goaltending by Chris Kamal, the Seawolves (4-20-7) hung with the Nanooks (15-14-4) throughout the game and even came back to tie the game at 12:48 of the third with a power-play goal by senior Alex Gellert to send it into extra minutes. Unfortunately, it was UAF that grabbed the OT goal, forcing UAA to win tomorrow night and the ensuring shootout for the Cup title.
In a scoreless opening stanza where UAF outshot UAA, 13-7, Kamal was the difference maker, keeping the Seawolves in contention throughout the first 20 minutes and into the second frame. Kamal, from Alpharetta, Ga., made multiple point-blank saves and seemed to be all over the crease, even making stops with his bare hand.
Kamal’s luck came to an end with less than three minutes left in the second when sophomore Garrick Perry got through the UAA defense and kicked it to his stick for his second of the season. But Kamal’s confidence didn’t wavier, as he came up huge in the final minutes of the period to keep it a one-goal deficit.
The Seawolves enjoyed one man-advantage opportunity in the second period before going on their second in the third and converting. Just 41 seconds into the power-play Gellert collected his sixth of the season with a backhanded shot at 12:48. Junior Matt Bailey and Bobby Murphy assisted on the play. UAA is 5-for-8 on the power play in the last two games.
Both teams attempted two shots in overtime, but it was UAF’s Cody Kunyk to find mesh at 2:10.
After being outshot in the first and second periods, the Seawolves outgunned their in-state rival in the third, 15-14. Kamal made a career-high 39 saves in net, while John Keeney made 27 stops for the win.
The teams will head down to Anchorage for the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup finale at the Sullivan Arena. The game is scheduled to commence at 7:07 p.m. AST.