FAIRBANKS-Saturday two unbeatens faced off in the Big Dipper-the Hutchison Hawks and the Houston Hawks. Same team names but only one team could win. Houston would be that team with a 6-3 win but the score doesn't indicate how close this game was late.
Houston established themselves with first goal of the game in the first period. Patrick Thistle got the rebound goal off a Jaden Sears miss. But Hutchison would answer as Elijah Berrios went for a wrist shot that got through Houston defense and softly dribbled around goalie Aaron Allred.
Tied at 1-1 in the second and Houston's Jonathon Lovelace took over. Lovelace would score three in the second period. On on even strenght less than a minute into the period. A 4-on-3 midway through the second and another convential power play goal to cap off his hat trick in the third. Houston led 4-1 going into the third.
The game looked all but over as Allred had a shutout second period and finished with 33 saves for Houston. Hutchison, however, rallied back in the third. Hutchison's Kevin Steffey ended the Hawks' scoring drought getting a goal from slot after a nice pass from Thomas Lees, who was behind net and Alex Marcos who found Steffey in the slot area halfway through the final period.
Hutchison's home crowd brought the noise and energized their team who had the momentum. Berrios would feed off of that momentum. His second goal of the game from the blue line made it a 4-3 game with less about three minutes remaining. Hutchison was a on a power play shortly after that goal but Houston converted on the critical penalty kill but the score was still 4-3.
Hutchison put on the pressure going with the extra attacker with minute left. Houston cleared the puck from their zone and Hutchison tried to make another rush towards the net but before they could do that a turnover occurred in their zone with an empty net. Houston's Brad Fortin seized the opportunity with the crucial empty net goal whizzing past two Hutchison defenders for the 5-3 goal.
Lovelace scored his fourth goal of the game at the buzzer to add insult to injury and the pad the final score to 6-3.
Houston finished undefeated in the Greatland Conference with a 10-0 record. Hutchison will be the number two seed in the Greatland Conference tournament.