The Seawolves kicked off the 2019 Governor’s Cup over the weekend of Feb. 8. The in-state rivalry takes place over the course of two different weekends, one in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks.
The Seawolves were the first to travel up to UAF to compete against the Nanooks, while the Nanooks will return to Anchorage at the beginning of March to continue the event.
Currently, UAF has a better record than UAA. At No. 7 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, UAF is three spots ahead of No. 10 UAA. The Nanooks had an 8-11 conference record while the Seawolves were struggling with a 1-17 record coming into the Governor’s Cup.
However, the Seawolves spent ample time preparing for this event head coach Matt Curley said
“We spent the last couple weeks coming off the Michigan Tech series in preparation to play Fairbanks. It is something that we have really rallied behind,” Curley said.
The effort did not go unnoticed, with the Seawolves producing an impressive 4-1 win during the first game on Feb. 8.
Despite the Nanooks making the first goal of the night, the Seawolves were able to hold them off for the rest of the game.
Sophomore goaltender Kristian Stead was in the goal for the night, accumulating 26 saves throughout the game. This was the first career win for Stead.
While Stead was blocking the Seawolves’ net, four other UAA players were able to get some action on the other side of the rink.
Sophomore defenseman Eric Sinclair was the first Seawolf to put the puck in the net. This was the only goal for the Seawolves in the first period.
In the second period, sophomore defenseman Aaron McPheters made a goal to put the Seawolves into the lead. Following him, both senior forward Jeremiah Luedtke and freshman defenseman Drayson Pears made an additional goal each to solidify the Seawolves’ win.
Curley was pleased that the effort they have put in so far this season has started to pay off.
“The unique thing about playing Fairbanks is that it gives us the opportunity to still play for something,” Curley said. “And with how the year has gone, it has been really a full force effort the last couple days to put forth our best effort to get this job done.”
The Seawolves continued the Governor’s Cup on Feb. 9, but they were not able to continue a win streak. The Nanooks redeemed themselves with a 2-1 win over the Seawolves.
Curley explained that the game started off slow and by the time things picked up for the Seawolves, it was already too late.
UAF made it on the board first, with just seven minutes left in the first period, scoring off of a rebound.
The Seawolves weren’t able to score during the first period. However, junior defenseman Carmine Buono made UAA’s only goal for the night at the beginning of the second to tie the game.
With no more points on the board for the Seawolves during the game, UAF’s Ryker Leer scored the game-winning goal near the end of the third period.
“Although it is my first [Governor’s Cup as a coach], I certainly appreciate what it means to have this rivalry and having the opportunity to bring back a Governor’s Cup since it has been a long time since we last had it,” Curley said.
Since the Governor’s Cup is separated into two weekends, the action will continue in Anchorage on March 1.
Prior to that, the Seawolves will next be hosting Ferris State at Sullivan Arena on Feb. 15 and 16.