There are enough Alaskans playing college hockey – 67 by our count on the NCAA Division I and Division III men’s and women’s circuits – that someone from the 49th state is busting out a big performance basically every weekend.
Saturday was Zach Krajik’s turn in the spotlight.
The Minnesota State Mankato sophomore left wing from Eagle River delivered a goal and an assist to spark the No. 13-ranked Mavericks to a 5-2 Central Collegiate Hockey Association win at St. Thomas.
Krajnik’s two-point game was his first this season and the third of his career. His goal was the middle marker in Mankato’s first-period outburst of three goals in a span of 3 minutes, 36 seconds. He added a power-play helper in the second period.
Krajnik owns 2-6—8 totals in 25 games this season and 4-12—16 totals in 51 career games. One of his teammates is sophomore forward Tanner Edwards of Anchorage, who is 1-1—2 in 10 games this season.
Elsewhere in men’s D-I Saturday, senior defenseman Calvon Boots of Fairbanks scored his third goal in the last five games for No. 18 RIT, which fell 3-2 in overtime at Canisius. Boots has four goals in 17 games this season. His teammate, senior forward Caleb Moretz of Fairbanks fired four shots on goal and won 8 of 11 face-offs (the rest of the Tigers won just 24 of 54 draws).
Also in D-I, junior defenseman Zach Plucinski of Eagle River had an assist for No. 20 Notre Dame in a 3-2 loss at No. 17 Michigan State to boost his season totals to 1-4—5 in 24 games. Those digits mark his career-high in assists and points. Teammate Hunter Strand, a sophomore center from Anchorage, unloaded a team-high five shots on goal.
Meanwhile, UAF completed its sweep of Arizona State with a 5-2 win Saturday. The Nanooks (15-9-2) sit No. 19 in the Pairwise Rankings, which mimic the formula the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee uses to seed at-large teams in the 16-team national tournament.
In Division I women’s play, former Alaskan Angelina Ruiz racked two goals and a team-high five shots for St. Michael’s in a 5-4 loss at St. Anselm. Ruiz leads the team with five goals and teammate Grace Canterbury of Eagle River is tied for the team lead in assists with six.
In men’s Division III action, Ryan Bailey of Anchorage scored a goal and Ethan Pitzman of Homer had an assist for SUNY-Fredonia in a 4-2 win over Potsdam. Bailey leads the team in goals and points with 9-6—15 totals in 20 games. He and Pitzman (1-6—7 in 20 games) are tied for the team lead in helpers.
New England College freshman blueliner Hunter Meyer of Anchorage pocketed his first college point for New England College in a 3-1 win over Southern Maine.
And Hamline goaltender Kevin Lake of Anchorage stopped 21 shots in a 4-1 sweep-clinching win at Gustavus. The only goal he surrendered was a power-play strike. The game marked the fifth time this season Lake has held an opponent to just one goal and the 11th time in 18 starts he has limited an opponent to two or fewer goals.
In women’s Division III play, Wisconsin-Stevens Point defenseman McKenna Piekarski of Anchorage scored the first goal, which held up as the game-winning strike, off an assist from forward Molly Millar of Anchorage for a 5-0 win at Northland. Piekarski is plus-5, tied for second on the team.
Senior forward Tate Senden of Palmer scored a goal for No. 11 Colby and generated a team-high five shots in a 5-4 win over No. 3 Amherst. Her game-winning goal furnished a 5-1 second-period lead, which was critical because Amherst scored the last three goals of the game. Senden owns 7-8—15 totals and a plus-19 rating in 18 games. She has 14-11—25 totals over 36 games the last two seasons.
Palmer rookie Bailey Brunnhoelzl wrapped up a four-point weekend for No. 13 St. Norbert with a goal and two assists in a 9-2 win at Trine. She owns 8-6—14 totals in 23 games.
Finally, Wasilla’s Darci Matson did her usual thing. She bagged one goal and one assist for Aurora in a 5-0 win at Marian to extend her national-leading point total to 25-29—54 in 21 games. Matson, a Second-Team All-American last season, has produced 15 multi-point games this season.