ANCHORAGE, Alaska. - Air Force and Alaska-Fairbanks opened the season by skating to a 3-3 overtime tie in the first round of the Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska. Air Force will face Alaska-Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7:07 p.m. AT. Alaska-Fairbanks will face Canisius on Saturday at 5:07 p.m. AT.
The two teams combined for four goals on 14 shots in the first period. Alaska opened the scoring at the 5:50 mark on the rush. Nik Yaremchuk scored with a backhander from the bottom of the right circle from Jarret Granberg and Josh Atkinson. Air Force answered just 48 seconds later as Jason Fabian scored on a shot from the point at the 6:38 mark. The Falcons took a 2-1 lead on the power play at 10:12. With good pressure down low, the Falcons took two shots that were saved. The puck came out to the point and junior defenseman Adam McKenzie fired it toward the net. The puck rattled through bodies in front and got past goaltender Sean Cahill. Late in the first period, the Nanooks tied the game. Freshman defenseman Colton Parayko skated the puck over the blue line and took a shot from the top of the circle that beat AFA goalie David Bosner high to the blocker side with 1:37 left in the period.
At the beginning of the second period, Jason Torf replaced Bosner in net for Air Force. Alaska broke the tie midway through the second period. After an Air Force turnover deep in its own end, Yaremchuk scored his second of the game for a 3-2 lead at 11:35.
The Falcons tied the game early in the third period. On the rush, Cole Gunner brought the puck up ice and Scott Holm made a centering pass from the right side to Chad Demers in the slot. Demers tied the game at 3-3 at 1:18 of the third period. Neither team scored in the remainder of the third period and the game went into overtime.
Falcon senior Stephen Carew had a chance early in the overtime period, but his shot was saved by Cahill. Torf then made a save on a flurry in front with just over three minutes left. In the final 30 seconds, the Nanooks fired three shots that were all wide.
The game is officially recorded as a tied, but because of the tournament format, a shootout followed the overtime period. UAF's Colton Beck started the shootout and scored. Air Force's Kyle De Laurell answered with a goal. In the second round, Yarenchuk's shot for UAF slid through the crease and wide of the net. For Air Force, John Kruse's shot zipped over the cross bar. In the third round, UAF's Andy Taranto scored and forced the Falcons to answer. Falcon senior Stephen Carew's shot was saved and UAF won the shootout.
UAF (0-1-1 overall) outshot Air Force, 26-18, in the game. Nine of Air Force's 18 shots came in the first period. Each team had one shot in overtime. Bosner started the game in goal for Air Force and made three saves while allowing two goals. Torf came on in relief to start the second period. Torf played the final 45 minutes and made 20 saves while allowing one goal. Sean Cahill made 15 saves for the Nanooks. AFA was 1-for-3 on the power play while UAH was 0-for-2.
"We did some things well and we need to improve on some things too," head coach Frank Serratore said. "UAF is a good team and they woke us up early on with their intensity level. Then the momentum of the shifted back and forth. This was an important game for us to see how we would play on the road. We came from behind twice in the game and you have to be able to do that if you aspire to be a champion. There are some things we need to improve, but this is something we can build on."
Air Force (0-1-1 overall) faces the host school, the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7:07 p.m. AT. In the classic format, the tournament champion will be determined by the team with the best record. If two or more teams are tied for the best record, a tiebreaker formula will determine the champion.