Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chad Johnson Makes His NHL Debut

If you have the ability to tune in to the Rangers-Flyers game right now, Chad "Dos Nueve" Johnson replaced NHL veteran and Swedish Olympic net minder Henrik Lundqvist after a shaky first period. Chad had a bit of a shaky start, allowing the first shot in against him, but since then, he's made four saves.

The game is airing now and have about 15 minutes remaining in the 2nd period, and the Rangers trail 4-0, only one goal being allowed by Chad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fairbanks - The City of Brotherly Love

A video from about the Knelsen and Molle brothers... Happy Friday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chad Johnson Anticipated To Make First NHL Start

Hot out of the Nanook Net, Chad Johnson has been doing nothing but impressing in his short tenure in Hartford. Sure, he had a rough few games, but it didn't take him long to get into the top 10 in stats. A while back, the Rangers called him up for a few games, which he sat out in favor of longtime veteran Henrik Lundqvist, he was subsequently sent back down to Hartford and Matt Zaba, also an NCAA prodigy out of Colorado College for a chance. Well, that didn't last long, as Chad "Dos Nueve" Johnson returned to the number 2 position on the Rangers bench.

Johnson, in his first year of pro hockey since graduating from UAF, recently recalled the first start of his college career coming at the ear-splitting confines of Mariucci Arena, where the Minnesota Golden Gophers were opening their season with the #1 ranking in the nation. Johnson allowed 3 goals that night to Ryan Potulny, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler - all future NHLers - but stopped the other 38 shots he faced to send the unranked Nanooks out of Minneapolis with a shocking 3-3 tie.

Nassau Coliseum is set to be the site of the 2nd infamous Rangers-Islanders rivalry game tonight in a home-and-home series, which bears some striking resemblances to his first NCAA start..........It's freakin' loud. Chad sat last night, as Lundqvist backstopped the Rangers in an unfortunate 2-1 loss, making 28 saves, but tonight at the Coliseum, fans should expect to see Dos Nueve between the pipes.

Chad finds himself in a unique situation, as the Rangers head into 3 upcoming games in less than 72 hours, giving Lundqvist a much needed and rare rest, as he is not only the No. 1 netminder for the Rangers, but he is getting the nod from his home country of Sweden to start in net for their Olympic hockey team coming up in February.

Further Reading?
New York Daily News

Eager Nanook fans like myself can subscribe to NHL GameCenter LIVE online, for $20.99/month to see Chad play tonight. As a Detroit Red Wings fan, I already have a subscription, but I won't be watching the Red Wings-Lightning game tonight...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nanooks First Saturday Loss At the Hands of the Mavericks, 5-3

Take Paula Weston's picks this week, and flop the teams and she was right on. Although I neglected to post a preview, I picked a 4-3 W on Friday, and a 4-2 W on Saturday. So 1-1 on the week.

Tonight marks the first Saturday loss of the season. Although you can't win 'em all (just ask Tom Brady), it would have been a nice tally going into the break. Also a first, losing in the Gold jerseys... There's something to think about.

I thought we played well overall, there were a few mistakes made, and UNO just managed to be at the right place at the right time. We played at a high pace, but our guys looked like they were just out of gas. UNO kept up the tempo, and they got us on our heels and capitalized off of the small mistakes.

We had a run going in the 3rd period, but that came a little too late, we ended up losing 5-3.

Dallas made some very good points in the post game conference. "We've got some guys out there playing through some nagging injuries, and I give them points for that", Ferguson said. “I could go through each goal and tell you what went wrong,” said Ferguson, “but at the end of the day, we made some mistakes and they capitalized on them. We’re very disappointed with the outcome, but there’s not really much I can say to put it into words.”

Sad, because we were riding a 5 game unbeaten streak against the Mavericks, dating back to the beginning of last season. Also sad is this loss on our team's mind going into the break.

Last season, we finished the first half 9-5-4, same mark as we have this season. Last season, we finished the first half in 18th place nationally, this season, its 17th.

Here are some highlights from Friday courtesy of Jamie Schwartzwald.

Nanooks open the 2nd half on the road @ Nebraska-Omaha, then head up to Ann Arbor for a series at Yost Ice Arena against the Wolverines.

Tuesday News Day: NHL Interview with Chad Johnson

There really probably is more news out there, problem is, it's finals time, thus meaning, I have no time to really do anything. I'll get caught up over the break, I promise.

Nanooks are off for 3 weeks, good time for some of our players with some nagging injuries to get some quality rest in and come back to the game. Coach Ferguson made a great point of that in Saturday's post-game conference.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nanooks Take the Elusive Friday Win, 4-3 over Nebraska-Omaha

Apparently Mavericks don't like cold. A possible trend happening here? Well, these Mavericks didn't quit and leave, they played hard definitely had to work for and earn the goals that they got. But despite getting their first goal just 17 seconds in, the Nanooks answered with 4 goals back to back, unanswered, 3 of which were scored in a span of 90 seconds.

I gotta say, I was pretty impressed with the defensive play tonight. A lot of big saves by either Greenham, or a number of our players, including the Molle brothers, Sova, Gens, Enders, Odegard. Did I just mention our entire defensive line up tonight? Yeah, I did. They all played outstanding tonight. I was on my heels a little bit tonight when we stopped actively pursuing the puck and attacking. We got up 4-1, and we clamped down with the lead defensively. In games past, this strategy has come back to bite us a time or two, but we had a big enough gap that their last two goals weren't enough to win it.

Can't get away without talking about our offensive stand, though, as we really poured it on. Throughout post-game conferences, and general chats with the coaches, they all talk about our depth, and that is exactly what you saw tonight. We have a lot of offensive weapons across all 4 of our forward lines, and all of them can score. We had two rookies notch goals tonight, one of which earned Player of the Game honors (Chad Gehon). Looking at the box score, you'll notice that our first line didn't score tonight. I'm sure UNO prepared as much as they could for our first line guys, and they did a great job containing Nik, Andy, and Dion, so it fell to our other lines to put the pucks in the net, and the 3rd and 4th lines did it for us. Granberg, Sather, Gehon and Meyers all tallied goals, all of them pretty sweet in their own right. Just after Sather's goal, I think Ronnie Meyers got a good look at Dupont and noticed how fast he dropped to the butterfly, and with a little hesitation, he picked the puck up as Dupont went down and found twine. Different angle and a different shot, but kind of the same move he put on Ferris State in OT back in October.

Props to Scottie Greenham tonight. He stood real well in net, and aside from that first period fluke, he had a stellar game. He didn't let that first goal get to him and shake him up, and hey, that's hockey, its a game of bounces. Fortunately, he has a short memory.

Tonight marked our first Friday win since October 30th, and our first actual win since the 21st of November, a night we defeated Lake Superior 3-2 in OT.

Following the game tonight, the players came on the ice for the Skate with the Nanooks tradition, complete with Santa hats. It was good to get out there and talk to a lot of the players again. Haven't had much of a chance to chat with any of them since the Blue/Gold game. Dion pretty much stole the show with the crowd, attracting the attention of teenage girls all over, who got him to sign everything from Converse shoes to a cell phone. Good guy though, turns out he's a regular reader of the blog, which makes him better in my book. I'm still loving our freshman. All of them are playing some outstanding hockey, and I talked to most of them about it tonight.

Tomorrow, we'll look to defend our unbeaten Saturday streak, going in at 5-0-3, and donning the now-famous Gold jerseys, which we have yet to lose in. We've only lost once at home, going back to the Notre Dame series, which makes us 5-1-3 on the season thus far at the Carlson Center.

Remember your Teddy Bears too for the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gold Jerseys

Sorry for not doing the news or the skater of the week, I'll save my skater for next week. I also wanted to do a "report card" of our skaters during the break, but since ACC's blog already did that, well, I might have to find a better system.

Photo courtesy Paul McCarthy/

Anyhow, many Nanook fans, like myself, have expressed interest in purchasing one of the new Gold jerseys the Nanooks donned this year. The Face-off club wasn't planning on selling them this year, but if the interest is high enough, they will be selling the jerseys that the team is wearing now at the end of the season.

Here is the original email from the Face-Off club with all the details:
Interest has been expressed by some fans about getting one of the new Gold
Jerseys.  The Face-Off Club purchased these for the team.  Consideration was
given to the fact that since they are only worn half the time they could be
used for at least two seasons.

But, because of the interest, we are considering selling the current set and
ordering a new set.  Per NCAA rules we can't sell jerseys of currently
eligible players with their nameplate, so all except the seniors would be
sold without the nameplates at the end of the season.

The cost will be $250 (the cost of jerseys increased substantially last
year).  This is just an informational survey to see if there is sufficient
interest to warrant selling enough jerseys at the end of the season to make
this viable.  No decision has been made yet.

Dale Anderson ( has volunteered to coordinate this
survey and if you would be interested in purchasing a gold jersey, he would
like to hear from you.

We estimate that we will need to sell about 21 jerseys to make this endeavor
worthwhile at the end of the season.

So, please let Dale know if you are interested.  And, he'll also need to
know if you are interested in a specific jersey (i.e., I only would be
interested in buying one if I can get #19-Steve Moria's jersey) or if you
can't get your favorite players number,  if you'd be interested in another

So, please let Dale Anderson know.  His email is and
his work phone number is 474-2413.
 Definitely a great opportunity to get your hands on a players jersey. Per NCAA rules, you're not guaranteed the jersey of your choice, since they can't hold a specific jersey for sale, but your request will be noted. 

So if you want a jersey, get cracking. They need 21 people or none of us get one, and I'll be forced to buy more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nanooks Win the Shootout, Take 2 Points

In an a near duplication of last Saturday's game against Northern, the Nanooks found themselves on their heels, despite having the early 2 goal advantage.

The Nanooks still have yet to lose on Saturday, but we are getting close as we are now 5-0-3 against Saturday opponents, and we definitely escaped one last night, pulling Greenham to take the 6 on 4 power play to bury the tying goal with just 14 seconds remaining. It's a game of bounces, and about 20 seconds after Western got their first goal, the Nanooks figured that out as all of a sudden its knotted at 2-2.

Same thing happened at Northern, got two goals early, then they battled back to tie it. There isn't really anyone or anything to blame, but we got that lead by attacking. On the attack, we can't be stopped. Keeping that momentum going, despite having a lead, we'd beat Denver 5-1, easy. We just have a tendency to back off and drop the intensity, then let opponents keep taking shots. Well, eventually they're gonna get one. In some cases two, like we saw last night, before we start attacking again.

Oh, yeah, who scored the shoot out winner? My pick for rookie of the year, Andy Taranto.

Can we get back on track before next weekend? I hope so. The UNO Mavericks have a long flight to get here (which UA doesn't pay anything for, mind you), and with the last Friday victory to our name was against Ferris State back in October, who just swept UNO this weekend, we have got to end the first half of the season on a positive note.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nanooks Intro Videos

Cory Weibel is a saint. A good kid who loves hockey, and who happens to be Jamie Foland's Media Relations Intern. He got his paws on a quality copy of the new introduction video that Mike Martinez, formally of Tanana Valley TV, and creator of the previous intro video (also included below), made that is pretty rockin'.

Hopefully these lift your spirits up after this weeks loss and will get you pumped up and excited to go to the last home Nanooks game of 2009 next week.

Way to go Cory, even for a Penguins fan...

And... Here's the original as it was supposed to be. This is the video that G4's Attack of the Show got a hold of and kind of destroyed, as far as information accuracy goes. They didn't even get Mike's name right, let alone the story of what was actually rejected about that video... Whatever, still a classic.

Nanooks 1, WMU 3 - Friday Disappointments Continue

OK, so maybe Paula Weston has her moments. Scoring was definitely a problem for us tonight, and though we held the Broncos to two goals, we failed to achieve that feat for the second time this season. The first time was against the then-winless and last place ranked Bowling Green Falcons. This time, its against the now-last ranked Western Michigan Broncos.

Since I blatantly refused to give WMU's athletic department money to watch a video stream, with multiple reports of sub-par quality, and some shady billing practices, I stuck with good ol' Bruce Cech, something I do quite frequently, even when watching over B2, audio will be muted as inferior commentators are not tolerated. Especially when name pronunciations are clearly not a job requirement.

But not actually seeing the game, Bruce does a good job painting a picture, and it sounds like we just weren't clicking. We have this issue on Fridays, regardless of location, where passes tend to get intercepted more often than normal. Sounded like almost every offensive rush, a pass gets picked and its going the otherway. It's like watching Charles Woodson in football, we're in the offensive zone (the "red zone", if you will), and bam, all of a sudden, it's been taken away from you and you're now on your heels, and it shouldn't be that way. We are a better team than this, we are averaging 3 goals per game, why can't we seal the deal on Friday? We have just one CCHA win on Friday under our belts against Ferris State (who shut out our next weeks opponent tonight, by the way), and we have a loss to Notre Dame, a loss to Lake State, a loss to Bowling Green, a tie against Northern, and now a loss against Western. What are we doing so differently? We're winning on Saturday. Is it a coaching thing? Sure, you watch game film to prepare then make some adjustments to the game plan on the ice. Is the team just not ready to play Friday? I don't think so, sounded like they were all out there working for 60 minutes, and there was some great effort put out by a lot of talented individuals, but as a team, I think we failed.

Let's compare our regular season games (including the two tournaments, excluding exhibition).
Friday     - 3-3-1
Saturday - 5-0-2

Seriously, what is different? I fail to understand why those numbers are so staggering. Northern was doing a good job of keeping us back on our heels during the game, and maybe Western picked up on that, but we've got to attack the puck and be aggressive on BOTH sides of the ice. It's a two way game, and the Nanooks know that, perhaps better than anyone out there. Just didn't execute as well tonight. Sad loss for UA, as Ferris' defeat tonight now ties FSU and UA for 3rd place in the CCHA. Tomorrow, I hope will be a typical Saturday, and a much needed 3 points will go on the standings.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Andy Taranto Name HCA NCAA Division I Rookie of the Month

Image courtesy of

Here is a snippet from the press release:

Andy Taranto, a 6-foot, 213 pound forward at the University of Alaska, has been named the HCA National Rookie of the Month for November.

Taranto finished the month on a five-game scoring streak to rank first in CCHA rookie scoring with 18 points, including seven goals. He recorded five goals and seven assists in the month of November alone. Three of Taranto’s goals during November came with the man advantage. His 1.29 points-per game average puts him in second place in the nation among rookies who have appeared in more than one game.

The Woodridge, Ill. native, who led the USHL with 34 goals last season for the Fargo Force, was named CCHA Rookie of the Week on Nov. 30 and CCHA/CCM Rookie of the Month for November. Taranto notched the game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory over then No. 9 Notre Dame on Nov. 7. He earned at least a point in every game but one during the month. He also registered two goals on Nov. 27 in a 3-3 tie with Northern Michigan. Taranto’s play helped Alaska compile a 3-3-2 record in November, including a 2-1-2 mark during his current five-game point streak.
[CCHA Press Release]

Way to go, Andy! Check out my previous post as Andy was named this week's Skater of the Week.

Paula Weston Has No Idea What She Is Talking About

You know what really grinds my gears? Journalistic incompetence, for one. Now, I'm a blogger, I can spew anything about anything and it doesn't matter because nobody pays me to do this. I do this because I absolutely love watching our team, and watching them defeat ACC five years in a row (longest Governor's cup streak in the history of the Governor's cup) brought enough joy to my heart that I couldn't take Eric Carlson's departure without doing something.

But anyway, in Paula Weston's weekly CCHA ramblings for this past week, she took the opportunity to royally piss me off. Perhaps it's because I called her out last week, but perhaps she's just too upset over the Nanooks shutting out the Michigan Wolverines that she's just had a prejudice ever since.

At this point, read the linked article above before you go on...


Alaska has trouble scoring?! Seriously?! Maybe standing points, but the Nanooks have the third highest scoring average in the CCHA, four spots above mighty #1 Miami. Sure, we are having a little more difficulty stopping goals this season, but scoring is certainly not our problem. I love the fact that she mentioned that, then said one paragraph later that Andy is the greatest rookie on the planet. Which, he is, I'll get to that in my next post today, but seriously, give me a break.

I have yet to read a post from her that has been positive about Alaska. Sure, the number 9 ranking may have been premature, but that's how rankings are, they are done weekly, and shift constantly throughout the season. Fortunately, we haven't gone from on the list *cough* Michigan *cough*. If her articles aren't surrounded by her beloved Wolverines (which she managed to muster a section, including video, devoted to the dumb-helmets), they pretty much sink every other team. And it drives me nuts because she is the beat writer for the whole CCHA, not just Michigan... Get with it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

UA and WMU, an objective preview.

OK, so UA notched two shoot out wins last week against a team that swept Nebraska-Omaha a week earlier. Nebraska-Omaha sweeps Western last week. Does that mean UA should win easily? Not exactly.

One thing the Nanooks are learning this season is that no game is a guaranteed win. Yes, there are games we should win, but you have to work in every game, nothing is a "gimme" at this level and the Nanooks are realizing that (perhaps a bit more than ACC is, as a win on Friday appears to be an impossibility in Anchorage). The real challenge is going to be game one, sealing off 3 points tomorrow night. Obviously, if you look at the scoring summary in the screenshot above, comparatively, the Broncos have no comparison. Goaltending isn't very close either. Remember a post I made about a week ago? Talked about Paula Weston's weekly article about CCHA goaltending. Mentioned an interesting case about WMU goalie Riley Gill. I didn't mention it then, but its worth it to say that I didn't think he was good enough to earn those stats, and how right I was, as they have already fallen off.

I obviously expect the Nanooks to sweep this weekend. There should be no reason UA can't leave Kalamazoo with 6 points. Here are some pretty intriguing series notes from the media release from the UA athletic department:
  • The Blue and Gold trail the Broncos 18-22-4 in the all-time series and 8-13-0 at Lawson Arena. Here are this week's need to know notes about the WMU series and Alaska Hockey. 
  • Last year the teams were clustermates and met four times during the regular season. The teams split their four encounters first the two in Fairbanks on Dec. 19-20 (W 6-3, OT L 2-3) and then pair at Lawson Arena (L 0-3, W 4-3). 
  • SR F Dion Knelsen leads the Blue and Gold with 2-7-9 in 11 career games against WMU. JR F Dustin Sather leads in points-per-game against the Broncos with 1-7-8 in six career games (1.33).
Last 5 games - Alaska leads 3-2
Last 10 games - Alaska leads 6-4
Series total  - 18-22-4 WMU leads all time

This weekends predictions:
Friday     4-1 W
Saturday 4-2 W

Johnson Goes to the Show - NY Rangers Call Up Chad Johnson to NHL

Chad Johnson got word this morning as the New York Rangers pulled him up from their AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack. Johnson will replace previous backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette
who cleared waivers this morning and will be sent down to the Wolf Pack. Chad Johnson was not allowed to practice with the Rangers this morning until Valley's waivers cleared, so the Rangers
brought in a temporary non-pro goalie to help out. Johnson will be expected to report to the Rangers next practice tomorrow, and should be on their official roster soon.

I believed all along that Chad is a very capable goaltender and well suited for the NHL, but he may still need time to develop. Whether this move is permanent is unknown at this point, but I
think Chad is entirely capable of handling the pressure.

With Johnson in net, that makes two Alaska Nanooks on the Rangers' as former Nanook left wing Aaron Voros welcomes Chad to the roster.

[Jim Cerny's Twitter]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday News Day

Well, my Skater of the Week has apparently influenced some votes in the CCHA head office as Andy Taranto was named CCHA Rookie of the Month. Andy is also 1st in the CCHA for scoring in conference play with a 6-9-15 scoring line, averaging 1.5 points per game in conference play.

Also, check out this video and "Go Behind the Mask" with UA sophomore goaltender Scott Greenham.

Gotta love news. The 12th ranked Nanooks take on the Western Michigan Broncos at the Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo. Game preview to come soon.