Nanooks shut down Chargers 4-0 to complete sweep

After a heartbreaking loss on Friday, the Chargers did not have much for the Alaska Nanooks on Saturday night. And it didn’t help that their much improved penalty kill cooled off at the wrong time.

Alaska rolled to a 4-0 victory over UAH (3-13-2 overall, 2-10 WCHA) to complete a two-game sweep. The Nanooks (10-8 overall, 5-7 WCHA) used three power play goals and a 41-14 shots advantage to take the game from start to finish.

UAH, which lost 2-1 in overtime on Friday night, dug a hole for itself in the first period with two goals 1:47 apart.

First, after a Cody Marooney tripping penalty, Nolan Huysmans put in a rebound past Matt Larose on the ensuing power play to give Alaska a 1-0 lead. The goal at the 6:01 mark broke a streak of 17 straight penalties killed by the Chargers.

Then at 7:48, Tyler Morley notched his sixth goal of the season, beating Larose with a backhander and giving the Nanooks a 2-0 advantage through one period.

UAH had a chance to cut Alaska’s lead after Brennan Saulnier’s rush out of the penalty box was denied by goaltender Davis Jones, who had his third shutout of the season with 14 saves. But it was all Nanooks after that.

The critical juncture came at 6:36 of the second, when Saulnier made contact to the head on Alaska’s Kyle Froese, drawing a five-minute major and a game misconduct. It was Saulnier’s fifth major penalty of the season, and his second game misconduct call for contact to the head.

Alaska took advantage to extend its lead to three, as Josh Atkinson’s one-timer from the right circle found space behind the net.

The Nanooks rode the power plays and the momentum to a 17-3 shots on goal lead in the second period. Ten of those shots were on the power play.

More penalties kept the Chargers from mounting any sort of rally in the third period. Meanwhile, Alaska tallied a third power play goal by Marcus Basara at 8:46, giving the Nanooks a 4-0 lead.

Larose made 37 saves on 41 Alaska shots to spell Carmine Guerriero, who was peppered with 46 shots in Friday’s game. Larose has made 32 or more saves in all seven of his starts this season.

The Nanooks had a total of 87 shots on goal for the series.

The Chargers have lost five straight heading into a non-conference series next Saturday and Sunday at Nebraska-Omaha.