FAIRBANKS — Head coach Dallas Ferguson was concerned Saturday night about the goals the Alaska Nanooks gave up against Lake Superior State University.
His concern was understandable after the 20th-ranked Nanooks suffered a 4-2 loss to the Lakers and got swept in Alaska’s last Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season series in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The Nanooks and Lakers are moving next season to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Ferguson, by cellphone Saturday, said it seemed that the Nanooks were giving up goals during the weekend “that were pretty preventable.” Alaska lost 5-1 Friday in the Clarence “Taffy” Abel Arena.
“It could be a little bit of management of the puck. Whatever it may be, we were giving up goals too easily,” Ferguson said. “You’ve got to give Lake Superior credit, they capitalized on their opportunities.”
Junior center Cody Kunyk and freshman right wing Nolan Huysmans scored Saturday for Alaska, which held on to sixth place in the standings at 11-12-3-1 CCHA and 13-13-4 overall. Senior goaltender Steve Thompson registered 24 saves in his first start for the Nanooks since a 4-3 overtime loss at Northern Michigan on Nov. 23.
Sophomore center Stephen Perfetto and junior defenseman Matt Bruneteau had a goal and an assist each to help the Lakers jump from eighth place to seventh place (10-13-1-1,15-16-1).
Junior Kevin Kapalka recorded 33 saves for Lake Superior, which won the last three of the four games in the season series.
The teams tied the first period at 1 with Bryce Schmitt’s unassisted goal at 3:19 nd Kunyk’s power-play goal at 12:44 with assists from Andy Taranto and Colton Parayko. Taranto, a senior right wing, also assisted Friday on Tyler Morley’s short-handed goal.
Domenic Monardo scored his third goal of the weekend and put the Lakers ahead 2-1 at 23 seconds into the second period Saturday.
Bruneteau, with Perfetto’s pass, produced the game-winner at 6 minutes into the third period. Huysmans responded at 9:31, making it 3-2 with an unassisted goal off a Lakers turnover.
“It was a nice play off of the neutral zone pressure,” Ferguson said. “Nik (Yaremchuk, senior right wing) was putting pressure on defense and Nolan was coming into help with the pressure. He turned the turnover into a shot that he put in the back of the net.”
Thompson was pulled for an extra attacker and Perfetto took advantage, scoring into an empty net with 52 seconds left in the game.
“I think our effort and compete level were better tonight,” said Ferguson, “but it seemed like when we made a mistake, they capitalized.”
The Nanooks defeated the Lakers 2-1 at the Carlson Center on Nov. 3 but Lake Superior won 4-2 the next night.
Alaska plays its last CCHA regular-season series at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Carlson Center against the last-place Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State split at home with Northern Michigan this weekend, losing 5-3 Friday and winning 4-2 Saturday.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.