ANCHORAGE – St. Cloud State scored a pair of unassisted second-period goals Friday and used superb goaltending from Mike Lee to hang on for a 4-1 victory over Alaska Fairbanks in the opening game of the 2011 Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena.
The Huskies (1-0-0) never trailed in their first-ever Classic appearance, using a 23-save effort from Lee, who was named Player of the Game. Senior left wing Jared Festler notched a pair of assists for SCSU, including on Drew LeBlanc’s clinching empty-netter with 2:42 remaining.
Festler earned his first helper on fellow winger Nic Dowd’s goal to open the scoring midway through the first period. The Nanooks (0-1-0) would tie it four minutes later, however, on a Cody Kunyk power-play strike off an assist from Aaron Gens.
The Huskies were unable to connect on a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the second period, but they regained the lead when Travis Novak and Ben Hanowski both took advantage of careless Nanook turnovers and beat goalie Scott Greenham (11 saves) with tallies just 2 minutes, 15 seconds apart.
Lee went on to record 10 of his saves in the third period as the Huskies won despite being outshot 24-15. Although they did not give up a power-play goal, UAF was hurt by nine penalties for 18 minutes.
The Nanooks next take the ice against Clarkson in Saturday’s early game at 4:07 p.m., while the Huskies will skate against host Alaska Anchorage in the Classic finale at 7:07 p.m.