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Eleven different players tallied points for Alaska-Fairbanks Saturday night as the Nanooks defeated the Bowling Green Falcons 6-3 at the BG Ice Arena. With the victory the Nanooks picked up three points in the front half of a four-game road trip.
While the Falcons played shorthanded on Friday night, It was the Nanooks who played part of their game shorthanded Saturday. Defenseman Scott Farrell left the game early with a shoulder injury and did not return. Winger Aaron Voros, who returned to the team last month following a bone tumor scare, was taken to the hospital for observation following a massive hit into the boards from BG’s Jon Sitko in the third period which sent Voros unconscious to the ice.
Fairbanks coach Guy Gadowsky was unavailable for comment following the game. However, Voros is expected to be fine.
“This was a disappointing loss from a lot of areas, especially after last night’s effort.” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “We lost the game in the first period. Fairbanks was much hungrier and better prepared than us.”
“Tonight’s effort had nothing to do with last night’s game,” Paluch said, referring to the Falcons playing shorthanded on Friday due to a pair of dismissals and five suspensions for violation of team rules. “It seemed like every single battle [Fairbanks] won. They were quicker to the puck and really hungry in our zone. We didn’t match their effort in the first period.”
UAF dominated the much of the opening period, outshooting the Falcons 19-10 in the period while getting to nearly every loose puck and controlling the play in the Falcon zone.
“I think we were a little fatigued,” said sophomore forward Steve Brudzewski, who had a pair of goals for the Falcons. “We’re in pretty good shape, so we should’ve handled it.”
UAF opened the scoring at 5:36 of the opening period on Ryan Lang’s second goal of the season. Corbin Schmidt and Tom Herman assisted on the play.
After BG’s Kevin Bieksa went of the ice on a hitting after the whistle penalty, the Nanooks’ Felipe Larranaga picked up his third marker of the season on a power-play blast from the blue line to give his team a 2-0 lead. Doug Auchenberg was given the assist on the goal at 15:51.
BG cut the lead to 2-1 just 27 seconds later on a scramble in front of the net. Ben Assenmacher, who picked up his first collegiate goal Friday night, added a second goal in as many nights as he shoved the puck past Fairbanks netminder Preston McKay.
“Coach calls them the ‘Blue Light Special Line,'” said Brudzewski, referring to line of Assenmacher, Taylor Christie, and Alex Rogosheske. “They played huge for us this weekend. They stepped up and got us going. It was great for the team.”
The Assenmacher line accounted for three of BG’s six goals on the weekend.
UAF regained the two-goal lead with 49 seconds left in the opening period on Cory Rask’s third goal of the season. Herman and Auchenberg each picked up their second assist of the night on the play.
“I thought we were very physical in the first period,” said Brudzewski. “But [Fairbanks] really stepped up and capitalized on their opportunities.”
Kelly Czuy gave the Nanooks a 4-1 lead 7:27 into the second period on a power play goal from Blaine Bablitz and Jason Grinevitch, beating Masters on the doorstep. For Czuy, the goal was his sixth of the season.
Brudzewski closed the gap to two for the Falcons on his seventh goal of the season, after a scramble in front of McKay. D’Arcy McConvey picked up his 12th point of the year on the play with the assist. Erik Eaton, back from serving a one-game suspension also picked up a point on the play.
“It was a great weekend for Brud,” said Paluch. “He played with a lot of speed and tenacity.”
Ryan Campbell gave the Nanooks a 5-2 lead 1:48 into the third period as he skated a David Keough pass from his own blue line through a pair of defenders to beat Masters for his ninth goal of the year.
Bowling Green had an opportunity to make a game of it after a major penalty was assessed to Sitko for the boarding call which sent Voros to the hospital. However, the Falcons were unable to capitalize on the power play.
The Falcons did close the gap a bit at the 8:08 mark after a Nanook penalty to Cam Keith had expired. Brudzewski scored his second goal of the night on a feed from McConvey that went past McKay into the net. Mark Wires also assisted on the goal.
The Nanooks closed out the scoring on a shorthanded goal by Bablitz after teammate Jordan Hendry was sent to the box on an interference call. The unassisted goal came at 9:16.
The Falcons (3-13-2, 1-10-1 CCHA) are now winless in their last six games. The Nanooks (8-7-3, 5-6-3 CCHA) are unbeaten in six.
BG finished 0-for-6 on the power play, while Alaska-Fairbanks enjoyed a 2-for-9 night.
McKay stopped 30 shots on the night while Tyler Masters made 35 saves for the Falcons.
The Nanooks will travel to East Lansing for a series against Michigan State next weekend, while Bowling Green will host Northern Michigan next Friday and Saturday.