Falcons, Nanooks split in Fairbanks

The Falcon hockey team earned their third split in their last three weekend series with a split on the weekend against Alaska-Fairbanks.

On Friday, the Falcons got their second win in a row winning 6-2 and then fell 3-2 on Saturday night to come out with the split. Jordan Sigalet had 87 saves on the weekend, including 50 in Friday night’s win. Steve Brudzewski, who had two goals in the first game was the big scorer on the weekend, totaling three goals. The Falcons came out on Friday night and got the power-play working, as they tallied two goals with the extra-man advantage.

Mark Wires got the scoring started with a power-play goal just 3:36 into the game to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead with Brett Pilkington and Kevin Bieksa getting assists. Then 10 minutes later, Ryan Minnabarriet added another power-play tally with assists going to Brudzewski and Don Morrison to make it 2-0.

The Nanooks struck back shortly after to make it 2-1 with a power-play goal by Jason Grinevitch and came out with a 14-12 advantage in shots for the period.

Fairbanks tied the game at 2-2 at the 8:16 mark of the second with a goal by Paul Austin. Then James Unger stole a puck in front of the net and put it past Nanook goalie Preston McKay at 13:05 to make 3-2 Falcons.

Bieksa made it 4-2 off a slap-shot at 18:31 with assists going to Bryan Dobek and Rich Meloche.

Then in the final period Brudzewski recorded two goals to give the Falcons a 6-2 win. Unger recorded an assist on one of the goals, as he and Falcons became the first CCHA team to win at UAF this season.

“It was a real solid effort in all aspects of the game,” Head Coach Scott Paluch said. “Our penalty kill was good throughout the game, especially in some real critical times. I really liked the way five-on-five we handled things defensively. From our own end to transition defense, I thought we did a real good job with that.”

UAF was held to 1-8 on the power-play, while the Falcons went 3-4 on the night. Sigalet stopped 50 of 52 shots faced and McKay stopped 26 pucks on 32 shots.

“It’s a tough place to play with all the traveling and that,” Sigalet said. “I think the guys responded … we killed off big penalties and made plays when we had to.”

On Saturday, the action picked up in the second period, as the Falcons built a 2-0 lead. However, Fairbanks had 3 unanswered goals the final 22 minutes to pull out a 3-2 win.

In the second period, Pilkington got goal nine of the year with a wrist shot that beat UAF goalie Keith Bartusch to make it 1-0 BG. Wires and Meloche picked up assists on the goal.

Then just five minutes later at the 13:49 mark of the second, Brudzewski got goal eight on the year with assists going to Bieksa and Minnabarriet to give BG a 2-0 lead.

UAF struck with 1:19 left in the period with a goal by Ryan Lang to make it 2-1 BG after two. Then the Nanooks got two goals in the final period to come away with a 3-2 win.

Aaron Voros got a power-play goal at 8:51 to tie the game and then only 30 seconds later, Cam Keith got the game-winner.

The Falcons were out-shot 40-30 in the game, as Sigalet made a game-high 37 saves on the night. UAF went 3-8 on the power-play and the Falcons were held to 0-4.

With the split, the Falcons move to 7-13-6 overall with a CCHA record of 5-10-3 and will host Ohio State next Saturday night in a big CCHA battle.