FAIRBANKS — And then there was one.
The Alaska Nanooks hockey team cruised to a 4-0 victory over Alaska Anchorage when the two in-state Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals met for Friday’s series opener at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
With the win, UAF holds a 2-1 lead in the seasonlong Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup series. It can secure the cup for a 10th straight season by earning a point against UAA in today’s regular-
season finale at 7:07 p.m. today.
“It feels good tonight. But at the end of the day, we still need to get a point tomorrow,” UAF head coach Erik Largen said after his team improved to 11-19-3 (11-14-2-2 WCHA). “This win doesn’t mean much if we don’t take care of business tomorrow.”
The Nanooks and Seawolves (3-27-3, 2-22-3-2 WCHA) racked up a combined 101 penalty minutes, though UAF found a way to net two power-play goals while also holding UAA 0 for 5 on the man-advantage.
After Max Newton scored to give Alaska a 1-0 lead 14:40 into the opening period, Steven Jandric and Ryker Leer both lit the lamp with power-play goals in the second.
Unlike last weekend, when the Nanooks combined for 100 penalty minutes in a 6-1 loss to Minnesota State Mankato at the Carlson Center, Largen said his players did a good job of staying focused on the task at hand.
“We were more disciplined,” he said. “I think (Anchorage) was going to the box more than we were, and they were starting the altercations. Our did guys did their best to stay out of it, and they got rewarded with some power plays.”
Jandric bruied a second goal late in the third period, beating UAA goaltender Kristian Stead (23 saves) to give UAF a 4-0 advantage.
“When he was moving his feet, he was very effective,” Largen said of Jandric. “Both of his goals came in front of the net.”
While the Nanooks took control in the offensive zone, they received a strong performance by goaltender Anton Martinsson, too.
Martinsson made 22 saves to secure the shutout.
“He was great. He was solid all night,” Largen said of the netminder. “When we needed a big save, he came up with one.”
Justin Young, James LaDouce, Chris Jandric and Kylar Hope tallied an assist apiece in the win.
Although the Nanooks took it to the Seawolves on Friday, Largen said UAF will still have to clean up a few areas to capture a 10th straight Governor’s Cup.
“We need to make sure we’re even more competitive and managing the puck a little bit better,” he said.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter:@FDNMSportsGuy.