Friday, November 5, 2010

Nanooks and Wolverines Square Off in Fairbanks

Fact: The Nanooks have won 11 straight games at home coming into this weekend.

Fact: Scott Greenham has allowed just 1 goal in 5 of his last 6 starts.

Fact: As a team, the Nanooks are 2nd in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 1.75 goals per game.

Fact: One of the primary predators of wolverines? Bears.

OK, so our record against Michigan isn't so good. But I'm not letting that deter me from writing this post as homerish as I possibly can. Because if there is one team I despise in college hockey, it's Michigan...

Time for a little target practice.
If our guys can come out of the gate and take it to Michigan like they did against Bowling Green, I think they've got the upper hand. Michigan had a bit of a struggle in a home and home series against Ferris State last week, getting a close win and a tie.

Alaska had what most would consider a pair of tune-up games against Bowling Green. It was perfect timing amidst the half way point of a very tough first half of the season schedule. Now, the guys are back against the grindstone against #4 Michigan (then on the road next week against #1 Miami). But let me tell you, if the 'Nooks play as good of a game against Michigan as they did Bowling Green, I can envision some points in the CCHA standings in our future. Even BGSU coach Chris Bergeron said "[Alaska] is strong and better than who we’ve played so far,”. And yes, they've played Michigan already.

Louie Caporusso, David Wohlberg, and Carl Hagelin are the three prime scoring threats for Michigan that need to be watched closely. The top 3 forwards have combined for 9 goals and 21 points this season. Senior blueliner Scooter Vaughn has netted 4 goals from his post already this season as well.

Historically, Michigan has relied on their point men to cycle the puck around the offensive zone, while their forwards scoot around looking for open ice. While these plays are typically successful in opening up shooting and passing lanes, they rely on some cross ice passes to be open to create chances. Getting pressure on the outside men and keeping the puck contained to the outside should keep Michigan at bay.

I remember watching the game against Michigan at the Kendall Classic in Anchorage last year. How many goals did Michigan score in that game? Zero. Our guys played a very defensive game, and Michigan outshot the Nanooks 23-11, yet couldn't get a quality scoring chance because of the defense. As I said before, Alaska is 2nd in the nation in scoring defense and we are going to have to keep it up to shut down Michigan's 3.5 goals per game average. If we are able to do that, keep an eye on their discipline and watch how frustrated their players get and they start taking bad penalties.

Us fans should be in for a solid series of hockey this weekend. Paula Weston, being the Michigan homer she is, picked a split. You'll notice I haven't called games in my previews much this year yet, but I'm looking for another sweep. 2-1, and 3-2 Nanook victories this weekend.


Britton said...

Speaking of Paula Weston, does anyone else find it disturbing that Paula has been writing more about UAH recently than she has been every other CCHA team? Michigan, Miami, Alabama-Huntsville. Now no knocks on UAH, I've been a supporter of their cause for a while now. But I think our USCHO CCHA beatwriter should... I dunno, write about the CCHA? Thoughts?

Jason said...

I noticed that too and somebody called her out for it this week. Unless you're a Wolverine or Spartan, her CCHA coverage has been pretty poor so far this year. There's the UAH thing, and she's also been more blatant than ever about homing in on UM and MSU.

Anonymous said...

One point of correction:

Scooter Vaughn is not a blueliner - he is a forward that was converted from defense two seasons ago. He actually has scored five goals this season, too. You may want to fact check since the writer is mirroring Paula Weston's fine homerist writing.

Britton said...

I guess I'll have to get on USCHO again for bad info...

Scooter Vaughn - Sr. D - 4-1--5

Britton said...

At least Paula got the goal count right...

"Scooter Vaughan, goal scorer. Seriously. The senior Michigan defenseman has five goals through eight games. In 2008-09, his sophomore year, he had five points total, all assists. Last year, he netted his first two career goals."

Look, I've got no problems with Paula's writing. I think she's a really good writer, but she writes for the CCHA. Not just 3 or 4 teams from the CCHA either. Has she mentioned Lake Superior State yet this season at all? Barely. UAH has gotten more words than some of the smaller schools that are actually in the conference.

Amanda M said...

Paula has written like that for YEARS! Extremely biased, and up until just maybe 2-3 years ago, she finally started giving the Nanooks any sort of respect. I'm truly shocked she picked a split for the Nanooks and not a sweep for Michigan!

Anonymous said...

It's probably better to go to your opponent's website for updated and accurate information- like I do for the blog I write. Vaughn has been a forward now for two years.No secret, there. And if you want to check out my accuracy on UA- go to:

I don't think you should waste time debating Paula Weston. One thing I will say, though, is that she is not "pro-Michigan" or "pro-MSU" etc. She used to live in Columbus and was accused of being "pro-OSU" also. It was low hanging fruit interviewing that team in her backyard. She moved to Michigan a few years ago and naturally has more exposure to Michigan, MSU, Ferris, Western. It is not her intention to slight the other schools, but she rarely travels. I cannot defend her multitude of writing errors, though. Not acceptable.

As far as the bias thing, UA is building a nice program- and has a ways to go before earning automatic respect like U-M, MSU, Miami etc. gets. Make another NCAA appearance, win the CCHA etc. and the program will be taken more seriously. Otherwise, you guys are gonna sound like the whiners at UNO that blamed their lack of success on CCHA bias, poor officiating and everything else they can think of. Ferguson has the program going the right direction. Don't get sucked into petty nonsense. The Yooper schools also have this "we're slighted" mentality. Don't buy into it.