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April 18, 2024

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Hockey defeats Alaska Anchorage in both games

The Falcon hockey team swept the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, defeating them 3-2 on Saturday night after winning 6-2 on Friday night.

In the first period of Saturday’s game, Alaska Anchorage was able to get on the board first with a goal from forward Tad Kozun at the 7:22 mark. The lead remained the same until late in the period, when Alaska Anchorage forward Alec Butcher scored with seven seconds remaining in the first to give them a 2-0 advantage heading into the locker room.

Despite being down early, the team was still satisfied with the way they played early on.

“I thought we were skating and creating chances, I didn’t dislike our first period at all,” Bergeron said. “I didn’t like the second goal, we can’t have a defenseman get walked like that with under a minute left in the period, but I thought our team had a decent first period, with the exception of scoring.”

The second period saw the Falcons cut the lead in half as junior defenseman Chris Pohlkamp scored at the 6:48 mark. However, Alaska Anchorage still held a 2-1 lead at the end of the period.

The team also felt they were able to create scoring opportunities throughout the second period.

“You’re in a situation where you win a period and you win the game,” Bergeron said. “We were obviously creating opportunities, whether they be power play opportunities or five on five opportunities, we were creating chances around the other team’s net. We weren’t executing around the other team’s net, we were missing the net too much, we were not hard enough on pucks, whatever it may be.”

The third period was a turning point for the Falcons, however, as just over a minute in, freshman forward Max Johnson capitalized on a power play chance to tie the game up at two apiece. While the Falcons continued to outshoot Alaska Anchorage through the third, the game remained tied until just under seven minutes remaining, when freshman forward Brandon Kruse found the back of the net for the Falcons to give the team their first lead of the game.

“I chipped it to Casey (Linkenheld), who made a great play,” Kruse said. “He passed it back to me, and I was just trying to get my stick down because I saw it coming. I was trying to get anything towards the net.”

While Alaska Anchorage eventually pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker with roughly a minute and a half left to play, they would be unable to make a comeback as the Falcons took the 3-2 victory to complete the sweep.

“I liked our group’s resiliency,” Bergeron said. “The pucks obviously didn’t find the net consistently until the third period and even then it seemed like there were chances that seemed like could have gone in very easily, but I thought we defended pretty well for the most part, obviously going down 3-0 would have been very difficult, but we didn’t allow that to happen.”

On Friday, the Falcons got off to a hot start as freshman forward Cameron Wright scored at the 6:43 mark of the first period to give the team a 1-0 lead, followed up just less than three minutes later with another Falcon goal as freshman forward Max Johnson scored to double the team’s lead. That wouldn’t be all of the scoring for the team. That wouldn’t be the end of their scoring, as just past the halfway point of the first period, senior forward Brett D’Andrea tipped in a shot to make it a 3-0 game. This prompted Alaska Anchorage to pull starting goaltender Olivier Mantha for Brody Claeys.

“He’s kind of their rock back there,” Senior forward Mitch McLain said. “With the last four years playing against him, he’s a good goalie, but you get that momentum going and they have to make a switch to kind of change things up. It’s a confidence thing for us and everyone wants to contribute and play offense and get in the O-zone and that’s exactly what we wanted to do.”

The goaltending switch may have rallied the Alaska Anchorage offense, however, as forward Nathan Renouf scored at 14:09. The Falcons responded with under two minutes remaining in the period with a goal from McLain to give the team the 4-1 lead going into the second period.

In the second, the team again jumped off to a good start with a goal from center ice courtesy of junior defenseman Adam Smith just over a minute into the period. The offense cooled off for both teams with the Falcons maintaining a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.

The third saw Alaska Anchorage defenseman Mason Anderson score at the 4:48 mark as they attempted to make a comeback, but that would be all the offense they would get as senior forward Tyler Spezia sealed the win for the Falcons with another goal at 15:38 to make it a 6-2 win.

“With the exception of a few D-zone shifts where I thought they just played faster than we did, I thought we played the game basically the way we wanted to play it,” Bergeron said.

The team will next play on Friday and Saturday nights on the road against the Lake Superior State Lakers.

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