ANCHORAGE – Junior Mickey Spencer completed a hat trick with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining in overtime Saturday to lift host Alaska Anchorage to the title of its own Kendall Hockey Classic with a thrilling 4-3 victory over St. Cloud State at the Sullivan Arena.
The Seawolves (1-0-1) claimed their sixth Classic championship in the 21-year history of the event and their first since 2006, also getting a goal from sophomore center Jordan Kwas.
The Huskies (1-1-0), playing in their first-ever Kendall Classic, fell to their Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals despite an impressive performance from goaltender Mike Lee, who made 28 saves.
Lee was unflappable for the first 52 minutes, stopping everything the Seawolves threw his way. SCSU held onto a 1-0 lead through the first two periods on the strength of right winger Travis Novak’s first-period power-play goal.
The Huskies made it 2-0 when Cam Reid converted on the power play 3:29 into the third period.
The Seawolves got on the board just a minute and a half later, however, when Kwas streaked to the goal mouth and deflected home a pinpoint pass from Brett Cameron. Spencer, the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player, also picked up his second assist of the young season on that play.
The 6-0, 194-pound left wing from Gibbons, Alberta, then waited seven more minutes before beginning his goal spree, beating Lee on a power-play chance during a wild scrum in front of the net. Assists went to Matt Bailey and Cameron.
Then with 5:33 left, Spencer lit the lamp with an even-strength wrist shot from just inside the blue line, sending the Sullivan Arena crowd into a frenzy. Cameron picked up the second of his three assists on the night, while Quinn Sproule was credited with his first helper of the year.
After SCSU pulled Lee with just over a minute remaining, the Husky defense came up big, stopping a potential empty-net goal with a hustle play and sending the puck back toward the Seawolf zone. Jared Festler, an all-tourney selection, picked it up and skated in all alone on UAA goalie Chris Kamal, beating him with a wrister with 42 seconds remaning to send it to overtime.
The Huskies stood to claim the tourney title with a tie or a win, but Spencer was in the right place at the right time once more as he outskated a pair of SCSU defensemen to corral a perfectly floated pass from Kwas. Spencer broke in all alone on Lee and used his wrist again to seal the victory and set off a Seawolf celebration on the ice.
Spencer became just the sixth player in Kendall Classic history -- and the second Seawolf (Rob Conn vs. Dartmouth, 1990) -- to record a hat trick.
It was also the Seawolves’ first hat trick and first four-point game since Kevin Clark accomplished both at in a 5-4 victory at Michigan Tech on Jan. 16, 2010.
Although it is just two games into the season, Spencer currently stands tied as the nation’s leading point scorer (4-2—6) after recording a goal and an assist in Friday’s 4-4 tie with Clarkson.
Kamal, a sophomore from Alpharetta, Ga., made 21 saves to earn the victory in his first appearance of 2011-12.
Saturday’s game was considered a non-conference affair, counting only on the teams’ overall records and not in the WCHA standings.
UAA finishes its early-season non-WCHA schedule next week with neutral-ice games against Nebraska-Omaha and Mercyhurst at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks.
2011 Kendall Hockey Classic
All-Tournament Team Matt Bailey, Alaska Annchorage
Colton Beck, Alaska Fairbanks
Jared Festler, St. Cloud State
Mike Lee, St. Cloud State
Travis Novak, St. Cloud State Mark Pustin, Alaska Anchorage Most Outstanding Player: Mickey Spencer, Alaska Anchorage