FAIRBANKS-The Alaska Nanooks turned back the clock but some things just don't change for this never say die program. The Nanooks erased a three goal deficit and rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Mercyhurst Lakers last tonight.
In the Patty Center Ice Arena the Nanooks were rocking throwback jerseys tonight, circa 1980-1981, in a non-conference contest against the Lakers.
At the 12:42 mark of the opening period sophomore Nolan Huysmans gets his fourth goal of the year thanks to the aggressive play of Colton Beck. Nolan Kaiser also assisted as the Nooks opened the scoring.
Then the Lakers got a couple of quick ones. At 6:29 in the first, Davis Jones, making his third straight start inbetween the pipes for the Nanooks, made the initial stop on a Lakers shot but Ryan Misiak was rewarded for a second and third effort.
Keep in mind the Patty Center is a small ice surface than the Carlson Center and the Lakers were just fine. Collin Cook created a turnover and just like that he was on a breakaway and he put in net for the go ahead score just 32 seconds after Misiak's goal. The scoring would continue for Mercy in the second period.
4:39 in the and Kyle Just, just snipes one from just inside the blue line on a mini breakaway created by another Nanook turnover. About six minutes later the Lakers quickly cycled the puck around in the Nanook zone the puck ended up on the stick of Daniel O'Donoghue who scores on the the weak side to increase the Lakers' lead to 4-1. Three unaswered for Mercy.
But the Nanooks said "not so fast." J. D. Peterson rips a laser from the top of the right circle that blows past Lakers goalie Jimmy Sarjeant after Tyler Morley won the face off for UAF. The goal cut the deficit to 4-2 with 2:41 remaining in the second.
What happened next was an example of the strong special teams from the Nanooks. Before the second period ended UAF rookie Brandon Morley was called for charging and had to serve a five minute major penalty putting the Nanooks on a five minute penalty kill.
The Nooks finished the period unscathed but what about the next 3:55 they had to kill? After 34 seconds elapsed in the third period there was captain to captain connection. Cody Kunyk found Colton Beck in the slot for the short handed goal to bring the Nanooks within one 4-3.
UAF continues the comeback. With 9:19 remaining Kunyk again finds Beck just on the left side of the slot for a power play goal to tie the game at four all in front of a estatic Patty Center crowd.
As LL Cool J once said, "don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years." Kunyk and Beck have been at UAF for four years and the seniors were in sync all night.
With 1:39 left in regulation Colton Beck beats a Laker to puck behind Sajreant's net and zips a pass right to Kunyk who was in the right place at the right time, once again the slot area and scores the game winner. The Naooks just stormed back.
"We've been playing together four years now. We came in, we wer're put on the line right away so we know where each other are on the ice which is huge when you're on a line. Huysmans been a great addition. He's fit in really well we find him. I mean it was a huge goal for us. We obviously need that win so it was big," Beck said.
The seniors and two captains finish the third straight comeback victory for the Nanooks scoring or assisting on the final three goals. UAF scored four answered after Mercyhurst put up three straight.
Beck had a four point night with two goals and two assists. Kunyk followed up with a three point performance with two assists and the game winnig goal.
"It's amazing," Kunyk said. "You know it's just the hard work and everything's paying off for us like working hard in practices you know. Just never give up. We never want to quit and you know the game is never over until the final buzzer goes. That's just what we're trying to live by this year."
Alaska head coach Dallas Ferguson cites the leadership of the team completing the incredible rally.
"The team, you know, they knew what they needed to do. It wasn't a great big message, speech or anything like that. I mean we got good leadership in our room and I think that's why the result was what it was. Obviously led by Kunyk and Beck I mean they get the short handed goal, the power play and then they get the winning goal. They're great players and great leaders for us," Ferguson said.
The Nanooks are now 3-1-1 and Mercyhurst drops to 1-5. Both are teams back in the Patty tonight at 7 p..m.