Alaska was playing Northern Michigan this weekend, so I made the short drive from Houghton to Marquette. Built in 1999, the Berry Event Center (BEC) is one of the few Olympic sized rinks in the WCHA. The Carlson Center in Fairbanks is another, so there would be no advantage there. The single bowl rink seats 3802 for hockey.
The Nanooks during pregame warmups
Alaska came out flying tonight, after winning in OT on Friday. In spite of that, NMU’s Denver Pierce opened the scoring. Fairbanks native, Alec Hajdukovich, scored a power play goal to tie it off of a deflection. Tyler Morley of the Nanooks then scored off of a Hajdukovich assist to take the 2-1 lead into intermission.
The Nanooks’ deep seeded and unnatural desire to spend time in the penalty box then took over. They had five penalties in the second period (six if you count the boarding penalty at the end of the first – which I do). Alaska did a great job on the penalty kill, but they were still lucky to give up only one goal to Dominik Shine, and went into the second intermission tied at 2.
Alaska came back out flying in the third, and really dominated play. Justin Woods sniped a shot from the point for a PPG early in the period, but that was the last opportunity the Nanooks’ capitalized on. Ryan Trenz would tie the game up for NMU, and Barrett Kaib put the Wildcats in front. Brock Maschmeyer added an empty net goal for NMU.
A missed opportunity for Alaska to get a road sweep in Marquette.
Jesse Jenks had 31 saves for Alaska, and Mathias Dahlstrom had 35 for Northern Michigan. Attendance was 2120.
Up in Houghton on Friday to watch the Minnesota State Mavericks take on the Michigan Tech Huskies. A lot of history with the MTU program, including some epic battles against Minnesota during the Herb Brooks era.
Action at center ice at MacInnes
Minnesota State came out flying in the first period, out shooting MTU 16-6, but Jamie Phillips was outstanding in net for the Huskies, and the game was scoreless after one.
Play was even in the second period, although MSU found the back of the net twice, with Zach Stepan and Jordan Nelson scoring. Sandwiched in-between the Maverick goals was one by Alex Petan for MTU. 2-1 Mavs after 2.
Tech came out flying in the third, Phillips remained strong in net, and Mark Auk scored half-way through the period for the Huskies.
The game went into OT, with both teams having scoring chances, and the momentum seemed to be with Michigan Tech. Still, the extra period ended without a score, and the game goes into the record book as a tie.
Phillips made 30 saves overall for MTU and Jason Pawloski made 27 for MSU. Attendance was 3060.
I have to admit, I really enjoyed the experience at “The Mac”. Home of the Huskies since 1972, and named after famed Husky coach John MacInnes (yrs:1956-1983), the arena has some of the most engaged fans in D-1 hockey. I saw some of that at The Joe in Detroit during the GLI, but it’s a completely different experience at MacInnes. The Husky Pep Band can really get the place rocking too. During the second intermission, there is a long time tradition of the Copper Country Anthem, which is a complete bastardization of the Polka song: Blue Skirt Waltz. Fans stand up and sway in unison to the rather somber rhythm.
All in all, one hell of a place to see a hockey game.