After a scoreless first period, goals by Brett Bamber and Porter Schachle led the Seawolves to a tie against Fairbanks in the fifth game of the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup.
By Avery Williamson
In their fifth matchup this season, the Seawolves battled their way to a 2-2 tie against in-state rivals Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 13 at the Carlson Center.
Prior to this game, the Seawolves had already faced off against Fairbanks four times. They’ll meet for the sixth and final time this season at the Avis Alaska Sports Complex on Feb. 3.
For head coach Matt Shasby, competing against the Nanooks six times a season is the perfect amount.
“It makes sense in terms of cost, travel and quality of opponent,” he said. “We are lucky to have such a quality team to play for our rival.”
With the rivalry comes high-intensity matchups, and this game was no exception as the opening period featured impenetrable defense by both teams. UAF goaltender Pierce Charleson made 12 saves and UAA’s Greg Orosz made nine–just the start of the freshman’s impressive night. Orosz finished with 36 saves.
Though the Seawolves usually start Jared Whale as the goalie, Shasby decided it was Orosz’s time to shine.
“We started him because he hadn’t gotten a chance against UAF this year,” he said. “He played great and it gives us more confidence for him to play at the Carlson Center in the future.”
With strong defense by Orosz and his fellow Seawolves, the scoreboard remained blank as the rivals entered the second period.
The second period proved to be another strong defensive match, with Orosz making 12 more saves. However, he wasn’t able to block a UAF goal late in the second period and Fairbanks took the first lead of the night over the Seawolves. The rest of the period was scoreless.
Trailing by one goal entering the final period, the Seawolves wasted no time adding their name to the scoreboard. Only 22 seconds into the third period, Brett Bamber connected with the net to tie the game 1-1.
Five minutes later, UAF’s Caleb MacDonald was penalized for slashing, giving the Seawolves a chance for a power-play goal. Porter Schachle capitalized on the opportunity, handing UAA a 2-1 lead only 45 seconds after MacDonald skated into the penalty box.
With less than nine minutes left in the game, Chase Dafoe scored the game-tying goal for Fairbanks while UAA was on the power play. Neither team scored for the rest of the period and the 2-2 tie sent the teams to overtime.
The Seawolves were aggressive during overtime, taking two shots in the first 45 seconds of the sudden death period. However, Fairbanks played strong defense to keep UAA out of the goal.
The rivals battled closely for the next four minutes, but neither team was able to connect with the net and the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
“I thought the game was a solid back-and-forth affair,” said Shasby. “We definitely had plenty of opportunities to build on our lead in the third period, but we couldn’t execute on the 5v3 to pull away.”
“For our next matchup, we need to work on our special teams and get the power play rolling so we can separate in the third period and build a lead.”
With these adjustments, the Seawolves might be able to secure a home victory over the in-state rivals in their final matchup of the season–something fans won’t want to miss.
The Seawolves return to the ice on Jan. 19 to take on Providence in Rhode Island.
The team will take on Fairbanks for the final time this season at the Avis Alaska Sports Complex on Feb. 3. Tickets are sold out online but fans can take their chance at the walk-up ticket counter for the Feb. 3 game in Anchorage. A small number of tickets are typically available at game time.
Anchorage fans are encouraged to head to the rink for home games and to join the official watch party at Las Margaritas–located at 541 W. Dimond Blvd–for away games.