Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nanooks Win Governors Cup Once More

The annual trophy emblematic of Alaska college hockey supremacy will remain in Fairbanks for another year.

Nic Yaremchuk's deciding goal in a tie-breaking shootout on Saturday night before a sold-out crowd at the Carlson Center lifted Alaska (Fairbanks) to its third consecutive Governors Cup over archrival Alaska Anchorage. The shootout, won by a 3-2 count by UAF, was needed after the two 49th state rivals split back-to-back, home-and-home meetings this weekend.

The Seawolves won at home by a 3-2 score on Friday at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, before the Nanooks responded with a 3-1 victory on Saturday in Fairbanks that forced the shootout immediately after. Andy Taranto kept the Nanooks alive after they fell behind by a 2-1 margin, and Yaremchuk then put it away to close out a successful Senior Night for UAF's seven seniors, including goaltender Scott Greenham. Two years ago, as a sophomore, Greenham backstopped the Nanooks to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, where they were edged by eventual national champion Boston College.

UAF (sorry, can't just call it Alaska) won the very first Governors Cup back in 1994 at Sullivan Arena, also in a shootout. The Nanooks have now won 11 of the 19 Governors Cups to date, including a record five titles in a row from 2002 to 2006.

This weekend marked the only meetings of the 2011-12 regular season between the Nanooks and Seawolves, although they will face each other far more often beginning in 2013-14 when UAF joins the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Both schools now head to their respective conference playoff tournaments next weekend, with UAF visiting Lake Superior State in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship, and UAA heading off to Bemidji State for the first round of the WCHA championship.

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