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Eielson Icemen soar to 8-5 victory over Army in Commanders' Cup
Devan Downey, Eielson center, drives toward the Interior Alaska-Based Army Hockey Team goal during the second period of the Commanders’ Cup hockey game at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center, Feb. 28, 2014, Fairbanks, Alaska. A total of seven goals were scored in the second period, which ended with Air Force leading 5-3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Jenkins)
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Eielson Icemen sweep Army, 8-5

Posted 3/10/2014   Updated 3/13/2014 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Peter Reft
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/10/2014 - Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska -- The Eielson Icemen hockey team played against the Interior-Alaskan Based Army Hockey Team at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks Patty Ice Arena during the annual Commanders' Cup Feb. 28, 2014, Fairbanks, Alaska. The crowd came to see the 19-year rivalry on ice and was given an exciting show with plenty of game highlights with two shorthanded goals and more than 30 saves by the Iceman team goalie.

The Eielson Icemen soared to an 8-5 win over the Army hockey team.

The arena reached its capacity with over 2,000 spectators supporting their colleagues on the ice. Organizational flags stood among the benches, representing various units from Fort Wainwright. The excitement of the crowds built as the Army color guard team presented colors for the national anthem on the ice.

An energetic first period set the tone of the game, with the Icemen attempting 17 shots on goal and Army putting up 20. Despite the heated offensive plays from both teams, the goalies, Charlie Siegfred and Army goalie Travis Johnson, stood their ground and denied all shots until the last minute, when Cody King, Icemen right wing, scored the first goal during a power play.

Despite the Army's power plays, Icemen players demonstrated their offensive tenacity in the second period, scoring two goals while at a one-man disadvantage. The Army fought hard with three goals scored, but Air Force maintained its lead.

Jeffery Cannon, Icemen team captain, said, "Our goal tender kept us alive during the second period while we were on multiple penalty kills."

Josh Moore, Icemen defenseman, cemented their 5-3 lead at the end of the period with a lightning fast one timer on the stick side of the Army goalie.

With Air Force holding onto a two point lead, Army ramped up their offense in the third period, pounding the Air Force's defense with 19 shots on goal and two goals scored. Air Force came back with three goals on top of nine saves by Siegfred.

Tensions between the teams rose high and spectators booed, chanted, hissed and howled as the two teams accumulated 11 penalties with a total penalty box time of 25 minutes. At one point in the period, the Icemen had three skaters in the penalty box and had to substitute a player onto the ice to keep the minimum three-man playing field.

As the second half of the third period counted down, Army spectators chanted and rallied and Air Force fans defiantly rattled cowbells nonstop while the Icemen held onto their three-point lead.

Air Force Col. Jay Aanrud, 354th Fighter Wing vice commander, presented the Eielson Icemen with their Commander's Cup trophy for their 8-5 win. Aanrud, a long-time fan of hockey, was more than happy to represent Eielson for the 2014 Commander's Cup.

"I love athletic competition and I love hockey. It's a great opportunity for us to get out here during the winter," said Aanrud. "It's always fun to play against Army who's always outnumbered us ten to one."

Air Force players had a total of 46 shots on goal, with Army players sending in 51. Twelve minor penalties were given to the Icemen, while the Army received twelve minors and one match penalty with a player ejection. Between the two teams, a total of 53 minutes were spent in the penalty box by players.

The Commander's Cup matchup between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force base has occurred once a year since 1995, with two years being cancelled during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Eielson Icemen currently have ten wins to Fort Wainwright's eight.

For this year's game, the Icemen team had 40 players to choose from and was able to practice five times a week.

"I told the guys as long as we get out here and have fun we're going to win this game because that's all it is, a game," said Cody King.

Cannon felt this past year he has seen the best Eielson hockey team.

"Our 2013-2014 hockey team is the best team I've played with during my tour at Eielson," said Cannon. "We have a perfect balance of active duty, Air National Guardsmen and dependent ID cardholders."

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