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UAF Nanooks Falls Twice in OT at Cornell

Nanooks shut-out for first time this season on Saturday
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 7:35 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team finished their third weekend in a row on the road. The Nanooks traveled to Ithaca, New York for a two game, weekend series against sixteenth ranked, Cornell.

Friday, there was little action through the first twenty minutes of play. Both teams each had two opportunities on the powerplay, but neither UAF or Cornell was able to capitalize. After a scoreless first period, and outshooting your opponent, generated a little momentum for the Blue and Gold, and they would take that into the second period.

Within the first five minutes of the second period, freshman, Brayden Nicholetts, would open the scoring for the Nanooks. His first goal of the season, and his first goal of his NCAA career. Only sixty two seconds later, Cornell would get the response. Ondrej Psenicka deflected a puck past Gustavs Grigals.

Then the lead changed quicker than it had evaporated for the Nanooks as sophomore, Didrik Henbrant, would reclaim the one goal lead for UAF. That would mark the end of the period, as the Nanooks went into the final period of regulation holding a 2-1 lead.

Just past the halfway mark of the third period, a misplayed puck by Nanook defensemen Roberts Kalkis caromed off the skate of netminder Gustavs Grigals into the net tying the game at two. There would be no more scoring in the remainder of regulation, so that meant free hockey for the fans in New York.

It was only a matter of forty seconds before Brenden Locke of Cornell would score the game winner, and push his team past the Nanooks avoiding the upset 3-2 in overtime. Cornell ended up outshooting the Nanooks 32-23 in game one of the weekend. The special teams game for the Nanooks was quite the “double-edged sword.” Despite going 100% on the penalty kill, their powerplay also had a 0% success rate.

Saturday, the Nanooks were looking to turn the tide into their favor and split the series with Cornell. UAF’s powerplay woes would continue in game two. Cornell went to the box three times in the first period, but UAF was unable to capitalize on any of those opportunities.

During regulation, there would not be a single puck that would find the back of the net, sending the game into overtime for the second time in the series. Within the final minute of regulation, Jakob Breault would get a ten minute, game misconduct. Which meant that Cornell would have a man advantage for the whole duration of the 3-on-3 overtime period.

It was only a matter of time before the major penalty caught up to the Nanooks, and Cornell’s Matt Steinburg would score the game-winner escaping two upsets in two days.

This marks the third game UAF has taken a ranked opponent into overtime this season, but have been unable to secure an upset in any of those games. The Nooks will take two weeks off before returning to action at the Carlson Center when UAF will welcome the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks to town, November 19th and 20th.

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