Jan. 17, 1997

Alaska-Fairbanks Completes 5-4 Comeback Win At Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Ind. — Visiting Alaska-Fairbanks erased an early 3-0 deficit and then used third-period goals by freshman defenseman Dwayne Zinger and sophomore Jeff Trembecky in a span of 41 seconds to escape with a 5-4 victory over Notre Dame in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action Friday at the Joyce Center.

The win lifts UAF (5-18-0, 5-16-0 CCHA) past Notre Dame (6-15-1, 4-11-1) into eighth place in the CCHA standings. The top eight teams from the 27-game regular season will advance to the CCHA Tournament. The result marked Notre Dame’s ninth one-goal loss of the season, with seven of those narrow defeats coming vs. CCHA teams.

Sophomore Brian Urick put the Irish on the board late in the first period before junior Steve Noble and sophomore Craig Hagkull scored in the first 10 minutes of the second for a 3-0 Notre Dame lead. But the visitors stunningly tied the game, scoring three times in a span of 4:11 on goals from freshman Sjon Wynia, senior Pat Williams and freshman Brian Upesleja, the last coming with 3:56 remaining before the second intermission.

Notre Dame reclaimed the lead at the 6:23 mark of the third period, when Alaska native Nathan Borega (Wasilla) netted the first goal of his college career. But six minutes later, Zinger matched Borega with his own first career goal (and first career point) before Trembecky scored the game-winner moments later, on his team-leading 11th goal of the season.

Notre Dame junior Matt Eisler stopped UAF’s first 20 shots on goal but the Nanooks scored on five of their final 14 shots to claim the win. UAF freshman Chris Marvel notched his fourth win of the season, stopping Notre Dame’s first 14 shots and keeping the Irish off the board in the final 13 minutes. UAF outshot its hosts, 29-26, while converting on just one of seven powerplay chances . The Irish had just two man-up situations (missing out on both)–one of which lasted only 12 seconds.

It was a night of firsts, as three players netted their first career goals while two others came away with their first career point. The Irish also recorded their first shorthanded goal of the season.

Zinger scored unassisted at the 12:46 mark of the third period, tying the game (4-4) after sending a rising slapshot from the left point that appeared to deflect off a Notre Dame player before settling into the net. Less than a minute later, Trembecky alertly skated onto a pass from Williams between the circles before one-touching a perfectly-placed shot over Eisler’s glove into the upper right side of the net (13:28).

Notre Dame was inches from overtime when junior Lyle Andrusiak sent a shot from the slot that banged off the right post, with 1:55 remaining. In a frantic final 30 seconds, the Irish crossed the puck in front of the net several times but ere unable to get off the potential equalizing shot.

Urick opened the scoring at the 17:11 mark of the first period for his 10th goal of the season, tying him with fellow Minnetonka, MN native Joe Dusbabek for the team lead. Noble initiated the play with a pass to the left point for freshman defenseman Sean Molina, who sent a low shot on net that was tipped in by Urick.

Noble then found the net at the 5:14 mark of the second, tracking down his own deflected shot near the back boards and tucking a wraparound shot inside the right post. Urick set up the shorthanded score–just four seconds before Benoit Cotnoir was set to release from a slashing penalty–after tipping the puck out of the Irish zone.

Two minutes later, Jurkowski took a lead pass from Dwyer and sent a shot from the slot that was batted down by Marvel. Hagkull was waiting on the right side of the crease and swept the puck into the net for the 3-0 lead (9:20). The goal provided freshman walkons Jurkowski and Dwyer with their first career points while giving Hagkull his second goal of the season.

Wynia — a former teammate of Borega on the 1996 Canadian Cup champion Vernon Vipers — then scored his eighth goal of the season (11:53) before Williams converted on the power play for his ninth score of the season, after skating in from the right on a 2-on-1 break , faking a pass to his left and wristing a shot into the upper right corner of the net (13:14).

The visitors completed the three-goal run less than two minutes later, when Upesleja broke loose down the right side and sent a slapshot from the right circle that kicked off Eisler’s right skate before bouncing into the net (16:04), giving Upesleja his first career goal and second point of the season.

Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin: On losing the lead: “It’s inexcusable. You put yourself in a position to win by going up 3-0 and you have a couple of breakdowns and they even it. At 3-1, with the power-play goal that they scored, it was the first time that we really have reverted in terms of . . . I was talking to someone about how we were the least-penalized team in the league and that takes discipline. Some of those penalties tonight were ridiculous from our standpoint. … There’s the one-goal game (slump), the psychology thing, but at some point you have to do it. You can say it all you want. What made the momentum swing is maybe the type of goals Fairbanks scored. A shorthanded goal is a tremendous confidence booster. …. We are nowhere near as consistent as we want to be.” On tomorrow’s ND/UAF game (7 PM): “Tonight was crucial. You can’t even look at tomorrow, you have to look at tonight. It was an enormous, enormous game. We are absolutely fighting right now for any sort of playoff survival. But we were tonight, too. It was no different from tomorrow in terms of survival. … It shouldn’t be hard to get up for tomorrow’s game.”

UAF coach Dave Laurion: “Notre Dame’s program and our program are searching for the same thing. Neither one of us have won as many games as we think we are capable of winning. We’re both looking for some more offensive production … It was a very critical game for us. It would have been really tough to give up a goal there in the last few seconds–our goaltender did a great job. They almost tied the game and certainly would have had the momentum had they scored that goal. Their goaltender made some great stops … he kind of had our number back in December when we played (a 3-1 Irish win).”

Scoring Summary

ALASKA FAIRBANKS (5-18-0, 5-16-0 CCHA)  0   3   2   -   5NOTRE DAME  (6-15-1, 4-11-1 CCHA)       1   2   1   -   4

First period – ND 1. Urick (Molina, Noble) 17:11.
Second period – ND 2. Noble (Urick), SH, 5:14; ND 3. Hagkull (Jurkowski, Dwyer) 9:20; UAF 1. Wynia (Zinger, Jaros) 11:53; UAF 2. Williams (Trembecky) 13:14; UAF 3. Upesleja (McNeill) 16:04.
Third period – ND 4. Borega (Simon, Lorenz) 6:23; UAF 4. Zinger (unassisted) 12:46; UAF 5. Trembecky (Williams) 13:28.

Shots on goal: UAF 11-15-8/34, ND 16-5-9/30.
Saves: UAF (Marvel) 15-3-8/26, ND (Eisler) 11-12-6/29.
Power Play: UAF 1-for-7, ND 0-for-2.
Penalties: UAF 3 for 6:00, ND 8 for 16:00.