Nanook Hockey goes one loss-one tie against No.9 Denver Pioneers

Alaska has been facing tough opponents the past few weeks, previously going up against then No. 5 (now No. 4) in the USCHO Division I hockey ranking poll – St. Cloud State University, with No. 7 Minnesota State next weekend, and No. 9 Denver for this weekend.

Alaska fell short in yet another lose, being outscored 4-1 against the Denver Pioneers in Colorado Friday night. Similar to the previous games, the Nanooks were first on the board, however could not keep the lead. Junior forward Colton Leiter was able to put the Nanooks on the board 8:21 into the game being assisted by sophomore forwards Max Newton and Steven Jandric. The Pioneers would strike back three more times in the third period.

The second period remained scoreless while into the third period Denver scored a fourth time with an empty net goal as goaltender Anton Martinsson was pulled for the extra man with 4:05 left on the clock.

Despite the lose, Martinsson made an outstanding 39 saves throughout the entire game, giving him a 0.929 save percentage.

Denver is more than just an opponent for the Alaska Nanooks as members of the coaching staff have ties with university.

Two former Alaska Nanook are a part of the Denver coaching staff. Both assistant coaches, Dallas Ferguson and Tavis MacMillan are both former Nanook hockey players as well as former Nanook hockey head coaches. Ferguson played for the Nanooks from 1992 until 1996 as well as coaching the Nanooks from 2008 up until recent 2017. MacMillan played for Alaska from 1990 until 1994, and in those four years racked up an astounding total of 192 points in just 135 games. MacMillan coached the Nanooks for three seasons from 2004 until 2007.

Even more so, head coach of the Pioneers is a native of Alaska.

Alaska will play Denver again Saturday night at 5:00 PM AKDT, you can listen live at 91.5 FM or online at



After a loss against Denver University Pioneers Friday night, Alaska would end the second game in a tie against the Pioneers who are ranked ninth in the nation for Division I hockey programs according to the USCHO poll.

Throughout the entirety of the game up until the last minutes of the third period, the Nanooks held on to the lead by scoring the first three goals in the game. Junior forward Kylar Hope would score his first goal of the season as well as the first of the game against Denver midway through the first period, being assisted by junior defenseman James LaDouce and senior defenseman Jack Weiss.

Twelve minutes into the game, Denver suffered a major penalty for boarding by Denver skater Ryan Barrow which put Alaska on a five minute powerplay. With only five-and-a-half minutes left in the first period, senior forward Ryker Leer would tally up goal number two, his second of the season, on the five minute powerplay, being assisted by Hope as well as freshman defenseman Chris Jandric giving the Nanooks a 2-0 lead against the Pioneers going into the second period.

Junior forward Colton Leiter put the puck in the back of the net on a powerplay for his second of the season, giving Alaska a 3-0 lead. Leiter was assisted by Chris Jandric as well as senior forward Chad Staley. Less than a minute after, Denver would get on the board with their first goal of the game, giving Alaska a 3-1 lead going into the third period. With less than five minutes in the second period however, Alaska would go on another powerplay from a major penalty call as Denver player Tyson McLellan was given a five minute major penalty for boarding, which would then turn into a ten minute game misconduct.

This five minute powerplay wouldn’t suffice however as Alaska would only get one shot-on-goal in the third period despite out shooting Denver the first two periods. Alaska had 21 shots on goal for the first two periods while the Pioneers only had 12 total. The Pioneers would however come into the third period with a change of game plan as they out-shot the Nanooks 13-1.

The Nanooks held onto their 3-1 lead until the Pioneers pulled their goalie for the extra-man advantage, scoring their second goal with less then two minutes left of the game, as well as scoring their third goal, also with a pulled goalie, with only 35-seconds left on the clock to tie the game up.

Alaska and Denver would go to a five minute overtime period which remained scoreless, tying the game between these two Division I NCAA hockey teams. The game tied 3-3.

Junior goaltender Anton Martinsson would still come out on top as the best goalie of the game with a 0.893 save percentage versus Denver goaltender Devin Cooley who ended the game with a 0.866 save percentage.

Alaska will start their WCHA season next week against Minnesota State in Mankato. Alaska has currently been playing non-conference games which means the current record doesn’t apply to Alaska’s chances of making it to the WCHA playoffs. The Nanooks will play the rest of their season in WCHA regulated games.

Tune in for a live broadcast on 91.5 FM or in at October 26th and 27th at 4:07 PM AKDT as the Nanooks take on No. 7 Minnesota State.