FAIRBANKS—Patience and a well-placed stick were among the reasons that the Alaska Nanooks moved into a first-place tie Friday night in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
It took nearly the last 10 1/2 minutes of a series opener against Lake Superior State University for the Nanooks to pull out a 2-1 victory in the Carlson Center.
The Nanooks (2-1-0-0 CCHA, 4-2-1 overall) had outshot the Lakers 22-17 for the first two periods but they trailed 1-0 and couldn’t get past Lakers junior goaltender Kevin Murdock, who was playing for the first time against Alaska and in the 49th State.
“I thought Kevin Murdock played a great game, a really good road game for us,” Lakers head coach Jim Roque said.
A 26-15 advantage by the Lakers in blocked shots for the night was also frustrating for the Nanooks.
“We just told them to stay with the game plan,” Nanooks assistant coach Lance West said during the postgame media conference in the Pioneer Room.
“It was 1-0, but just stay with it and don’t get away from what we do, because that’s what they (Lake Superior) want,” West said.
A pair of Coltons — freshman defenseman Parayko and junior left wing Beck — gave the Nanooks what they wanted in the third period.
Senior right wing Andy Taranto, though he wasn’t credited with an assist, initiated the Nanooks’ first goal of the weekend at 9:32 of the third.
Taranto intercepted a pass in the right circle of the defensive zone and fed to Cody Kunyk, who crossed the puck to Beck, who relayed it to Parayko.
The freshmen defenseman was tied up on his way to the net but he managed to send the puck off the skate of Lakers defenseman Kevin Czuczman and past Murdock’s diving reach.
“I kind of fell down and I threw the puck in front of the net and it went off of a skate,” Parayko said. “I just tried to get my stick on the puck and put in front, and anything can happen when you do that.”
The Nanooks took advantage of Czuczman’s holding penalty at 18:19 for their first power play goal after three denials by the Lakers (1-2-0-0, 3-4-0).
Beck parked at the left edge of the crease to redirect in junior defenseman Michael Quinn’s delivery from the left point with 11 seconds left in the game.
“I got all alone in the slot in front,” Beck said, “and he was able to get a nice shot and get it through, and I was lucky enough to get a stick on it.”
Taranto also assisted for his 94th career point.
Nanooks sophomore goaltender Sean Cahill recorded 18 saves to go unbeaten in his first three career starts (2-0-1) and Murdock (1-2-0) made 37 saves.
Lake Superior emerged with a 1-0 lead at 16:42 of the first period, courtesy of Domenic Monardo’s work along the boards.
The senior right wing won a battle for the puck with Taranto and passed up to Zach Loesch. The freshman defenseman returned the puck to Monardo, who skated behind Cahill and sent a wide wraparound pass from the left side of the net to a streaking Chris Ciotti, and the sophomore center got ahead of a swarm of Nanooks to tap in the puck at the right post.
Roque said he thought his team played hard in the Carlson Center but mistakes hurt them.
“They (Alaska) controlled a lot of the game, and Kevin played good,” Roque said. “We did a good job around our net for the most part, but it’s tough to win when you’re scoring only one goal.”
It was the first time in nearly two years that the Nanooks won a game after trailing in the second period. The previous experience was a 5-2 victory at Ohio State on Nov. 27, 2010 after the Nanooks trailed 2-1 in the second.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.