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  • Sam Ouellette

Team Alaska Dominates in U18 Semi-finals Hockey at the 2024 Arctic Winter Games

With the sun gleaming off Pioneer Peak the Talkeetna mountains, the U18 Semi-Final Matchup between Team Alaska and Team Nunavut was ready to kick off. As the song Legend by The Scored blasted through the arena, players took to the ice to the greeting of flying flags, clanging cow bells, and rowdy cheers from fans all showing their team spirit. Talking with one Nunavut fan, she shared, “I’m very nervous but excited. It is a big game– I hope they play well and win.” As we wrapped up our conversation, she added “Go Team Nunavut!”

Nunavut dominated early from the drop of the puck with six shots on goal to no shots for Alaska in the first four minutes of action. With 10:23 left in the first period Nunavut scored the first goal of the game on a powerplay goal from Kam Kaludjak. Not to be outdone, Team Alaska scored less than a minute later to tie the game 1-1 with a shorthanded goal by Logan Mese. Alaska grabbed the lead with 7:31 left in the first period off a breakaway that found the back of the net. As the scoreboard buzzed to mark the end of the first period, Alaska led Nunavut 2-1, but Nunavut led the shots on goal 12 to 8.

As the second period began AC/DC’s TNT blared over the speakers as fans gathered to cheer their teams on. Team Alaska was on the powerplay to start the second period, but were unable to capitalize. Alaska started gaining momentum halfway through the second, firing shot after shot on the Nunavut goalie who did everything but stand on his head to keep the puck out of the net. At 11:56 of the second period, Team Alaska scored on a beautiful breakaway from Logan Mese. Elijah Von Guten scored the final goal of the second with 4:46 left on the clock, off a rebound and Alaska started to pull away 4-1. Alaska led 4-1 when the buzzer sounded to mark the end of the 2nd.

Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child of Mine ushered in the third period and the skaters hit the ice. Nunavut was determined to erase the three-goal deficit. WIth 10:12 seconds left in the third Jeremy Madrowski scored bringing the lead to two goals for Alaska 4-2. Nunavut fans jumped to their feet with cow bells ringing out, giving hope for a comeback. Alaska scored moments later, widening the gap to 5-2 on a hat trick goal for Logan Mese goal. Team Nunavut skated hard and threw pucks at the net, but Alaska scored with 7:50 left in the third off a two-on-one opportunity from Daniel Matveev for the final goal of the game. The final score was 6-2 in favor of Alaska. Team Alaska will face the winner of this evening's game in the gold medal faceoff at 6:30pm tomorrow evening at the Curtis Menard Ice Arena.


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