FAIRBANKS — It’s easy to wonder if the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey team will continue a trend this weekend in the fifth annual Brice Alaska Goal Rush at the Carlson Center.
Last season, the Seawolves captured the title in their Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage and a week later, went home with their second championship trophy from the Goal Rush.
Guess what happened in last weekend’s Kendall?
The Seawolves got to park the first-place trophy in their lockerroom after finishing with three points in the tournament standings — a 2-0 win over Canisius of the Atlantic Hockey Association on Friday and a 3-3 tie Saturday against the Air Force Academy, a fellow AHA team.
UAA senior center Matt Bailey received the Kendall Most Outstanding Player honor, after recording a plus-minus rating of +1 against Canisius and providing and a goal and assist for UAA against Air Force. Seawolves goaltender Chris Kamal registered his fourth career shutout with 14 saves against Canisius and fellow junior Rob Gunderson denied 20 shots by Air Force to help secure the tournament championship.
UAA is looking to add to its collection of Goal Rush titles from last year and the inaugural tournament in 2008. However, the quest for the 2012 Brice prize is expected to be as challenging as driving on icy roads in Interior Alaska at this time of the year.
The Seawolves open the Goal Rush at 5:05 p.m. Friday against North Dakota, a Western Collegiate Hockey Association rival and the
No. 2 team in this week’s USCHO.com Poll of top 20 NCAA Division I teams.
UAA plays at 4:05 p.m. Saturday against the Merrimack Warriors, who were No. 19 in last week’s USCHO rankings but dropped out of the top 20 this week following a 4-2 loss to Northeastern in a Hockey East game Oct. 10 in Boston.
UAA is 18-45-4 all-time against North Dakota, and was swept 5-2 and 4-1 last Dec. 2-3 in a WCHA series at Sullivan Arena. The Seawolves are 4-2-0 in their meetings against Merrimack, and in the teams’ last encounter, UAA won 6-2 in the opener of the 2006 Nye Frontier Classic in
The Brice Alaska Gold Rush host Alaska Nanooks open at 8:05 p.m. Friday against Merrimack and end the tournament Saturday with 7:05 p.m. matchup against North Dakota.
The banquet for this year’s tournament begins at noon Thursday in the Westmark Hotel, 813 Noble St.