Nanooks win Governor’s Cup five years in a row

Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star Reporter

Freshman right wing Marcus Basara prepares for the ensuing faceoff. Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star

Freshman right wing Marcus Basara prepares for the ensuing faceoff. Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star

The Alaska Nanooks Men’s Hockey team won its fifth Governor’s Cup in a row last Saturday night, via a shootout versus the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves at the Carlson Center.

The second-half of the 21st annual Governor’s Cup started on Friday, Mar. 7 with the Nanooks beating the Seawolves 7-2. Senior center and Business Administration student Cody Kunyk finished the game with four goals to lead the Nanooks as well as all other scorers.

The game’s first two goals came from sophomore center and Business Administration student Tyler Morley in the first period. It was 13 seconds after Morley’s second goal that Kunyk scored his first goal of the game. Kunyk then proceeded to score his second goal half-way into the second period, the only goal of the period, putting the Nanooks up 4-0 going into intermission. Kunyk scored his next goal only 46 seconds into the third period to put his team up 5-0, earning the hat trick in which about nine Nanook fans threw their hats onto the ice. Kunyk wasn’t quite done there as he proceeded to score his fourth and final goal of the evening on a power play midway through the period to put the Nanooks up 6-1.

Junior defenseman and Mechanical Engineering student Trevor Campbell wrapped up the Nanooks’ scoring spree by scoring a goal with less than a minute left in the game. Junior goalie and Business Administration student Sean Cahill finished the game with 20 saves. “I’m glad we won,” Kunyk said after the game. “But we still have another game tomorrow so that’s all we’re focusing on right now.”

The Seawolves responded in Saturday’s game with a 3-1 win over the Nanooks to tie the Gov. Cup series at 2-2. The Seawolves scored two goals in the first period to grab a 2-0 lead going into the second. The Nanooks’ only goal of the game was scored by junior left wing and Communication student Garrick Perry five minutes into the second period. UAA’s third and final goal came with four minutes left in the game. Cahill finished the game with 28 saves.

The night wasn’t over yet, however, as the cross-state rivals squared off in a shootout to decide the winner of the Governor’s Cup. Senior left wing and Business Administration student Colten Beck started things off with a goal. UAA’s Matt Bailey responded with a goal to tie the shootout at 1-1. Then, sophomore defenseman and Business Administration student Colton Parayko scored a goal to give the Nanooks a 2-1 lead. Cahill saved the ensuing shot from UAA’s Blake Tatchell, causing more than 4500 fans to erupt because the Nanooks had just won their fifth Governor’s Cup in a row. “It’s kind of weird when you’re celebrating even though you lost 3-1,” Kunyk said. “But we had the same feeling two years ago when we won in Anchorage so it’s still sweet that we got to keep the Cup in Fairbanks.”

The Nanooks celebrate their fifth straight Governor's Cup victory. Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star

The Nanooks celebrate their fifth straight Governor’s Cup victory. Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star

The Nanooks finished the regular season with an overall record of 17-13-4 and 14-12-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Because of Friday’s win, the Nanooks clinched a playoff series at the Carlson Center. The first two games of the series will take place this Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and if necessary, there will be a third and final game on Saturday starting at 7. In case you were wondering who the Nanooks will be playing in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, the answer is very simple: the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves.

 

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