It started with anticipation, excitement, and success. It ended with another bitter defeat, much like the Chargers’ 2015-16 season as a whole.
Alaska scored four unanswered goals, including three in the third period, to beat UAH 6-3 on Friday in front of season-high crowd of 3,521 and a national TV audience.
The Chargers (4-15-2 overall, 2-11-2 WCHA) are deeper in last place, now six points behind the Nanooks (6-11-4 overall, 4-9-4 WCHA) and further back from one of the eight conference playoff spots. UAH needs points in a hurry, starting with the rematch coming Saturday night at 7, to get back into contention.
The success came early with two UAH goals in the first 11:35. Chad Brears notched his eighth goal of the season, assisted by Max McHugh and Brennan Saulnier, at the 4:11 mark to get the crowd fired up.
Then McHugh scored on the power play — a rocket from near the blue line — for his fifth tally of the season and a 2-0 Charger lead. Brandon Parker and Brears got the assists.
Alaska would cut the lead at 2-1 with a power-play goal of their own, courtesy of the WCHA’s leading scorer, Tyler Morley, who was left all alone in front of UAH goalie Carmine Guerriero. The goal came with 4:35 left in the first period.
The Nanooks tied the game at 2-2 with a shorthanded goal off a turnover by Josh Atkinson at the 6:19 mark of the second.
Brears regained the lead just 1:22 later with his second goal of the game, helped by Kurt Gosselin and McHugh.
Marcus Basara tied the game at 3-3 at 10:23 of the second on another power play goal. The Nanooks went 2-for-3 on the power play after UAH had killed 39 of its last 40 shorthanded situations.
Video courtesy Penalty Box Radio
That’s how it stood after 40 minutes, setting the stage for an exciting third period. However, it all went Alaska’s way right from the start, and UAH never recovered.
Alec Hajdukovich gave the Nanooks their first lead of the game just 11 seconds in. Peter Krieger made it 5-3 at the 10:39 mark. And for the last straw, John Mullally scored Alaska’s third goal of the frame on only eight shots on goal.
It was not a good night for Guerriero, who although was screened plenty, allowed six goals on 29 shots.
Davis Jones got the win in net for Alaska, stopping 28 of 31 Charger shots on goal.