ANCHORAGE – Sophomore forward Matt Bailey scored the equalizer with 7:18 left in regulation Friday to help host Alaska Anchorage gain a 4-4 tie with Clarkson in both teams’ season-opener at the Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena.
The game goes into the official NCAA scorebooks as a tie, although the Seawolves did manage to win an unofficial shootout, 1-0, to break any potential ties in the final tournament standings. Another sophomore, Mark Pustin, was responsible for the only shootout tally, along with the Seawolves’ first goal of the game.
Clarkson, from ECAC Hockey, took a 2-0 lead in its first-ever matchup with UAA, getting an even-strength goal early in the first period and a power-play strike early in the second, both by senior forward Julien Cayer.
The second period would turn into a wild affair, however, as the Seawolves struck for three straight goals in a 7-minute span midway through the stanza. Pustin put UAA on the board when he intercepted a pass in his own zone and carried it all the way in for a short wrister, beating Clarkson netminder Paul Karpowich for his second career goal.
Forward Mickey Spencer made it 2-2 at the 7:59 mark when he scored on a pretty feed from fellow junior Daniel Naslund, with Mitch Bruijsten also picking up a helper on the power play. Naslund would give UAA its only lead of the night at 3-2 when he scored another man-advantage goal, converting passes from Jordan Kwas and Spencer.
The Seawolves did not close the period well, however, allowing goals to Joe Zarbo on the power play and Louke Oakley just 66 seconds apart, giving the visitors from Potsdam, N.Y., a 4-3 lead into the second break.
With UAA peppering Karpowich with 41 shots, the Seawolves were finally able to tie it with just over seven minutes left when freshman Sam Mellor outfought a Golden Knight for possession in the corner and fed Bruijsten. Bruijsten quickly found Bailey with on a short-range pass, and the junior from The Netherlands made a nice delayed move and slipped it between Karpowich and the post. It was the 11th career goal and 21st point for Bailey, the Seawolves’ second-leading returning scorer from 2010-11.
UAA outshot Clarkson 4-0 in the overtime period, including 1 minute, 33 seconds of power-play time. Special teams were important throughout the game, with both teams going 2-for-7 with the man advantage.
Rob Gunderson manned the Seawolf net, stopping 19 shots in his 65 minutes and thwarting the Golden Knights on three straight attempts in the shootout.
The result, combined with St. Cloud State’s 4-1 victory over Alaska Fairbanks in Game 1, means Saturday’s UAA-SCSU tourney finale (7:07 p.m. ADT) will determine this year’s Kendall Classic champion in a head-to-head clash. The game will not count in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
Clarkson plays UAF for third place Saturday at 5:07 p.m. ADT.