FAIRBANKS – Senior Rob Gunderson backstopped the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves to a 3-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association win in the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup finale in front of an announced sellout crowd at the Carlson Center on Saturday night.
The Seawolves (16-14-4, 12-12-4 WCHA) ended the regular season with winning record for the first time since 1992-93 and will continue with the post season in Fairbanks. The Nanooks claimed the No. 3 seed and will play host to the No. 6 seed Seawolves, March 13-15. The winner will head to Grand Rapids, Mich., for the WCHA Final Five.
Meanwhile, in tonight’s contest, the Seawolves opened the play with two goals in the first, before allowing the Nanooks to score in the second. UAF was unable to find the equalizer thanks largely to Gunderson, and UAA put it away with its final strike with 4:03 left in the second.
The night started with senior forward Matt Bailey giving the Seawolves the lead when he capitalized off an Austin Coldwell rebound in the slot at 2:37 of the first. Following a shot by Bailey, junior Scott Allen created a turnover and buried it with a wrister, beating Sean Cahill high, blocker side with 5:51 left for the 2-0 lead headed into the lockerroom.
Following the intermission, the Nanooks cut the Seawolf lead in half with 14:19 left in the second stanza. Garrick Perry corralled a rebound from Josh Atkinson. The momentum wouldn’t swing and Allen’s rebound at 15:57 went into the capable hands of junior Brett Cameron.
Gunderson made 30 saves, including many huge saves to keep the Seawolves in the game. The teams tied for shots on goal, 31-31, while both teams were scoreless on the man advantage.
Following the conclusion of the game and for the purpose of the Governor’s Cup, the teams competed in a three-man shootout. The Nanooks won, 2-1. Scoring for UAA was Bailey, while Allen hit the right post. The shootout win game the Nanooks their fifth straight title, tying the record set by UAF 2002-06.
UAA's 16 wins also ties the 2010-11 season, which set a program best since becoming Div. I.