Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nanooks Experience Déjà vu, Clip the Falcons 4-1

With an identical outcome, the game looked completely different. The Nanooks came out and completely dominated the first period, and ultimately the entire game, outshooting, outplaying, and most importanly outscoring the BGSU Falcons.

Goals for Andy Taranto, Adam Henderson, and Aaron Gens put the Nanooks on the board, with two of the three goals coming even strength, while the Nanooks defense allowed just two shots through to Scott Greenham, who might as well have been working on homework for the first 20:00. The Nanooks attempted 41 shots, getting 25 of them to the goaltender. Just a complete domination in the 1st, resistance to the Nanooks offensive pressure was futile.

Bowling Green sat in the box on three separate occasions, in which the Nanooks capitalized once off of a blast from the point by Aaron Gens. Overall the power play looked very good. 14 shots of the 25 that made it to the net were with a man advantage. The puck was moved well, and passes were connecting as guys were finding the open man. Words really can't describe the beating that the Falcons received through the first 20:00.

The second period would be about the same, but found a different aspect of the game to take control of. Physical play was dominated by the Nanooks, collectively throwing their bodies around, and making their presence felt. For the second straight night, Kaare Odegard jacked Ryan Viselli right into next week. Tonight, it was perfectly clean. Last night it was very close to clean, but Kaare caught a little bit of Viselli's head, which is exactly what these contact to the head rule changes this season are trying to eliminate, which led to Kaare's early shower. Cody Butcher had a few nice hits as well tonight, unfortunately though one of them would lead to an open area between the faceoff circles that Samuels-Thomas was able to squeeze a puck in to Camden Wojtala to cut the lead for Alaska to 3-1.

Aaron Gens and Andy Taranto would collaborate and regain the three goal lead, as T.O. buried a rebound left side from a hard shot by Aaron Gens to close out the scoring for the game.

The overall flow that the Nanooks were able to generate tonight was absolutely unreal. Fluid motion in the offensive zone, great cycling in the offensive zone, and great puck movement led to the 48 shots on goal, stemming from 94 attempted shots, and of course the 4 goals on the board. The special teams units this weekend were able to double their season stats this weekend, rising back to prominence.

A lot to be proud of  in a home sweep of Bowling Green, extending the Nanooks home unbeated streak to 11 with #4 Michigan coming to town next weekend.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lines for Saturday - Finding Consistency

For the first time all season, the top three lines have remained identical. The 4th however got an overhaul. I thought Filzen, Gehon, and Slemp had some excellent chances and did some good work in the offensive zone last night. There were some lapses on defense, but nothing too bad. But, it is parent's weekend, so rotating some guys is good for the guys parents.

#18 Alaska

F1 Kevin Petovello (C) - Cody Kunyk - Andy Taranto
F2 Colton Beck - Jarret Granberg - Nik Yaremchuk
F3 Dustin Sather - Derek Klassen - Ron Meyers
F4 Ryan Hohl - Adam Henderson - Carlo Finucci

D1 Joe Sova - Aaron Gens
D2 Bryant Molle - Cody Butcher
D3 Kaare Odegard - Scott Enders

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Steve Thompson
G3 Colin Rundell

Bowling Green

F1 James McIntosh - Camden Wojtala - Brett Mohler
F2 Jordan Samuels-Thomas - Marc Rodriguez - David Solway (C) 
F3 Chad Sumison - Jerry Freismuth - Brennan Vargas
F4 Mike Fink - Andrew Wallace - Ryan Viselli

D1 Max Grover - Ryan Peltoma
D2 Andrew Krelove - Jake Sloat
D3 Ian Ruel - Bobby Shea

G1 Andrew Hammond
G2 Nick Eno

Photos from Friday's Victory Over Bowling Green

The following photos are courtesy of mmf. See more in his online gallery.

Nick Eno sprawling to make a save on chance by Nik Yaremchuk

Nanooks captain Kevin Petovello scores his first goal of the evening.


Dustin Sather comes close on a semi-breakaway. This play would eventually lead to a power play chance for the 'Nooks

Nanooks staying sharp in front of Greenham
Kevin Petovello nets his second goal of the night, to seal the Falcons' fate 4-1













The following photos are courtesy of Paul McCarthy, Alaska Sports Photography

Chad Gehon maintains possession in the offensive zone.

Sova and Yaremchuk work on McIntosh on the backcheck.

Scott Greenham makes a save and covers up a shot by Jordan Samuels-Thomas

Nanooks Ground the Falcons 4-1

For a pair of special teams who didn't have exemplary stats coming into this weekend, it was Alaska who capitalized tonight. Three of the Nanooks four goals tonight were with a man advantage, and the Nanooks didn't let in a single goal on Bowling Green's 7 chances.

But... on to the recap...

The Nanooks got off to a very agressive start tonight. I said it before I saw the team play tonight that I liked the line changes, and I think it certainly paid off. The Nanooks put the offensive pedal to the floor tonight and didn't let up for the whole game.

The Nanooks would eventually get a goal on their 7th shot, as freshman Cody Kunyk took a centering feed on the rush from Andy Taranto, and Kunyk buried it, low stick side to go up 1-0. Cody Butcher would get an assist for leading the breakout on that one as well. It was a good goal on the rush, that was very good looking.

Not long after, Kaare Odegard would get an early shower however, as his hitman instincts kicked in and flat out leveled Ryan Viselli right in front of the Nanooks bench. That hit would earn a 5:00 major and 10:00 game misconduct accolades, sending Bowling Green to a power play that was outshot 2-0 over those 5 minutes. That's right, the Nanooks shorthanded unit pounded Bowling Green's power play, not even allowing a shot.

Turn that right around, and the Nanooks would score just 9 seconds in to their first power play, with just under a minute left in the 1st period. Kunyk won the faceoff, back to Joe Sova, who got it low to Taranto, who got a shot off that was blocked by Eno, and Petovelo buried the rebound.

Scoring chances abounded in the second period, but none found their way to the net. Shots in the second indicate that the Nanooks were getting it low, but unable to put one in. The Nanooks somewhat avoided their second period slump, but gave a few chances the other way. 3 penalties would be called on each side during the 2nd, yet, no goals were scored.

The 3rd period would change that, however.

Jarret Granberg got his stick in perfect position and caught a shot low from Scott Enders, and tipped it high about 10 feet in front of the goal and went right over the glove of Eno. This was one of my favorite plays of the night, coming from the point, and finding that shooting lane. Eno is a good goaltender. 4 goals allowed is not an accurate testament to how well I thought he played. Had he played average, the score may have been 6 or 7 to 1.

While BGSU would get the next goal and break Greenham's goose egg, the Nanooks weren't done...

Nanooks captain Kevin Petovello would get his second goal of the night off of a precision pass from freshman Cody Kunyk, and another quick power play goal, would seal the deal 4-1.

Special teams play was all the rush tonight, the Nanooks would move their overall totals from 9.7% to over 17% on the season.

Tonight's win extends the Nanooks home unbeaten streak to 10 games. And Kevin Petovello's first power play goal ties the program's fastest power play goal (9 seconds) in program history.

Good win for the guys, very convincing. Hopefully the 'Nooks can come out and do it again tomorrow. See you at the Carlson Center.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lines for Friday

Tonight's lineup has a very intriguing personnel shift from weeks past. I'll leave your imaginations up to who you think that may be. I honestly really like the lines for tonight. This roster has a lot of potential and aside from a modification or two I would make, this has a lot of promise. A lot of scoring talent on these lines. Check it out:

#15 Alaska

F1 Kevin Petovello (C) - Cody Kunyk - Andy Taranto
F2 Colton Beck - Jarret Granberg - Nik Yaremchuk
F3 Dustin Sather - Derek Klassen (A) - Ron Meyers
F4 Chad Gehon - Justin Filzen - Erik Slemp

D1 Joe Sova - Aaron Gens
D2 Bryant Molle (A) - Cody Butcher
D3 Kaare Odegard - Scott Enders

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Steve Thompson
G3 Colin Rundell

Like I said, a lot of potential here. We've seen the top line combine a few times so far on some special teams units, and they have been able to get some scoring chances. I thought Granberg and Taranto had some good chemistry starting to develop, but Kunyk and Granberg will swap spots. Chad Gehon and Justin Filzen will find their way back into the lineups. Justin had some solid play with a killer faceoff win percentage last season. Hopefully we'll see some good things out of him this weekend that should keep things going strong for him for the rest of the season.

On the defensive side, Cody Butcher will get a go tonight in place of the injured Michael Quinn, who is out with a "lower body injury" as coach Ferguson put it today in the coaches luncheon. Butcher has a hell of a blast from the point, clocked at nearly 100mph, should help get some pucks on net and will more than likely get some juicy rebounds.

Bowling Green

F1 James McIntosh - Camden Wojtala - Brett Mohler
F2 Jordan Samuels-Thomas - Marc Rodriguez - David Solway (C) 
F3 Chad Sumison - Jerry Freismuth - Bryce Williamson
F4 Mike Fink - Andrew Wallace - Ryan Viselli

D1 Max Grover - Reed Rushing
D2 Andrew Krelove - Jake Sloat
D3 Ian Ruel - Bobby Shea

G1 Nick Eno
G2 Andrew Hammond
 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BGSU Trick-or-Treats Fairbanks for Hockey

Hopefully instead of candy in their bags, we'll put some pucks in their nets this weekend.

Bowling Green is riding high on a long unprecedented winning streak, currently at 3, after their first home sweep since around Christmas time against Clarkson in 2008. The Nanooks had a predicted sweep against the Falcons in Ohio last year that BGSU spoiled, so I'm sure the guys will be eager to get them on the ice again this weekend to get a little home-ice revenge.

The Falcons new head coach, Chris Bergeron appears to have put the team in gear. I had a chance to exchange some questions with Bowling Green blogger Drew Evans (http://bgsuhockey.wordpress.com), and I asked him about the community's optimism under their new coaching staff. His response was pretty resounding,
"Optimism would probably be considered an understatement. Coming into the season I thought 6-9 wins would be a pretty impressive run considering what we lost and not having a good handle on our freshman. Now, we seem to be closer to 10-13 wins with a few upsets sprinkled in."
That's good to hear, really. I can remember being in very similar shoes after the clusterf- ...um... the 2007-2008 season when Dallas Ferguson, who had been the Nanooks assistant for some time, took over the reigns and took the guys to their first NCAA national tournament ever in program history. Chris Bergeron has racked up three wins so far in six games, which is already 60% of their total wins from a year ago (five). Seems like he's doing the right things and helping get this team in and develop a system where they can be successful and get some wins.

While I wish Bowling Green tons of luck rebuilding their team, and their "Bring Back the Glory" campaign, I don't wish them luck this weekend...

Now, I haven't had a chance to get some video of these guys yet. The only major team they've played so far is two losses to Michigan, and I've only been able to see just a few clips of that game around the internet. The score somewhat speaks for itself. The games were played at Bowling Green, in which Michigan went on to outscore BGSU 8-3 over both games. Just three of those goals were scored even strength for Michigan, one was scored shorthanded, and one an empty net. The other 3 goals were on Michigan's power play.

Bowling Green's penalty kill is just slightly worse than ours at 75.9%, good for 40th in the nation. The Nanooks? 39th at 77.4%. But the 'Nooks PK is going against the 51st ranked power play in the nation, at 5.9%. Granted, these are early season stats, and matchups have a lot to do with it.

The Falcons will be the first unranked opponent we will have faced since our season opener against Air Force. But its always hard to find out what to expect from a team with a new coach. But you can expect a solid performance out of their two NHL draft picks in forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Thrashers), and goaltender Nick Eno (Sabres). Samuels-Thomas is clearly their main scoring threat, so keeping an eye on him should limit their main production. He was involved in just one of the goals scored this past weekend, though, so they've got some underlying talent here that the stats really don't speak of. Freshman Mike Fink has three points in two games, two of those points are goals.

Defensively, Nick Eno isn't exactly having his best start. His 3.6909 GAA include 7 goals allowed in 2 games against Michigan. I don't think that means he's a slouch by any means, Michigan is certainly a good team in their own right. But we should have better luck against these netminders than we've had against some of the top guys in the country in Keith Kinkaid, Joe Howe, and Drew Palmisano that we've seen these past few weeks.

But that said, the guys need to generate offense. Like I said last week, to many little mistakes and turnovers in the offensive zone cost them possession. You can't score without the puck. Get the puck to the net, get some bodies down there, and find some twine. Two goals per game doesn't earn wins when the defense is equally allowing two goals a game (good for 3rd in the nation, by the way). I would like to hear the horn a bunch of times this weekend for my Halloween wish. Hopefully the guys can make that wish come true for me.

Nanooks sweep, 4-1, 5-2.


I do have my first injury to report of the year. I've heard reports that Michael Quinn has gone down with an ACL injury, and could be out 5-7 weeks. I have that on good sources, but unconfirmed at the moment. Hopefully, I'll get more word from coaches at the luncheon tomorrow.

With that in mind, there are a bunch of activities going on this weekend. Obviously Halloween being the big one. Saturday, everyone in the crowd should be in costumes. If you think you, or your kid of the best one in the house, you can enter for the kids or adults costume contests, which will take place during the first and second intermissions, respectively.

Also, this weekend is parents weekend. If you're a Faceoff Club member, you can meet the players' parents at a pre-game reception at the Curling Club from 4:30-5:30PM. Tubby's BBQ will be catering, so plan on meeting some good people over some equally good food. Friday is also Think Pink night.  So, if you
aren't wearing your blue and gold, you might want to wear pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Future Nanooks Defensemen Nolan Kaiser Selected to WJAC Canada West

The roster for the World Junior A Championships from Western Canada will feature Nanooks recruit Nolan Kaiser. The defense side of the roster is clearly dominated by the Camrose Kodiaks, featuring Nolan and 3 other teammates. He will be joined by UAA recruit Sam Mellor, so hopefully the rivalry doesn't start early. 7 AJHL members (5 from Camrose alone) were selected, compared to 8 BCHL players, 3 from the MJHL, and 1 from the SJHL.

There are 21 players on the roster total, 11 of them will play NCAA hockey, 3 of them are NHL draft picks from 2010, and most of them will still be eligible for the 2011 NHL draft (Kaiser included).

The Canada West team starts with a pair of games versus Canada East and the U.S. on November 5th and 6th before beginning group play on November 8th versus Switzerland, and on November 10th versus Russia. The semi-finals are on the 12th, and the gold medal game will be on the 14th.

Congratulations are in order to Nolan Kaiser, and the rest of those selected to the WJAC West Roster.

For those interested, those on the roster that I could find that have committed to an NCAA Division 1 program are (last name only):

Kaiser (Alaska)
Jardine (Ohio State)
Gallacher (Ohio State)
Lalleggia (Denver)
Lidgett (Colgate)
Dias (Cornell)
Downing (UNH)
Walchuk (Northern Michigan)
Mellor (UAA)
O'Donnell (North Dakota)
MacMillan (North Dakota)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nanooks Fall to the Spartans 4-1

The Nanooks and the Spartans both hit the ground running, continuing what they had going the night before. The 1st period didn't have much flow to it, a lot of stoppages, a few penalties, and a lot of miscues.

The Nanooks were able to get things going in their way for a bit in the first, as Jarret Granberg would get the deflection from a Petovello slapshot to go up 1-0.Peto caught a puck in center ice, slowed up at the point, blasted one through traffic that found Jarret Granberg before it found the back of the net. Not a bad goal, but not the prettiest. I liked Petovello's "just shoot it" mentality here, but certainly low percentage pay off, but they got it done. The goal is a testament though for getting shots off. Can't score if you don't shoot.

In nearly every game this year--Air Force, the only unranked regular season opponent thus far, being the exception--the 'Nooks have been taken for a ride in the second period. Not sure what happened, but the Nanooks have not been able to overcome the 2nd period slump so far. Whatever the beef is here, the guys have got to chew it and eat it soon. I honestly don't have a real understanding why this is. I haven't noticed a real reason why. Saturday, we took some penalties, and nearly spent half the period down a man, which explains that, but what about past games against CC or Union? I have no explanation.

Ultimately, this was the first real road test of the season. Michigan State is always a tough opponent, and although Greenham has been able to contain the Spartans in their past duels, MSU was able to crack his code Saturday for the upset. The 'Nooks were able to get their first power play goal since the 5 on 3 power play goal scored by Cody Kunyk against North Dakota--kudos to Maine by the way, huge sweep against UND this weekend, very impressive--back in the Kendall Classic in Anchorage. I do like coach Ferguson's call to play the rookies this weekend. All of them did respond well to the travel, but as a team, I think they're still trying to figure some things out.

Scott Greenham and the defense, despite the Saturday numbers was extremely impressive throughout the weekend. But with the impressive defense, you have to outscore the opposition, but with just 7 goals in the past 5 games, the Nanooks rank in the bottom 10 in the country in scoring offense with a 2 goals per game average (1.4 GPG in the past 5, excluding the 5 goals against Air Force). Too many little things, like offsides, icing on the power play, and bad penalties prevented a win this weekend.

The Nanooks will have this weekend against Bowling Green at home to get things going again, before another stronger run, beginning with Michigan at home, then a road trip against a team considered by many to be the number one team in the nation after this weekend in the Miami RedHawks. Coming back home for the Northern Michigan Wildcats, followed by two back to back road series against Ohio State and Ferris State to close out the first half of the season. Definitely a rough schedule, but once the systems are fine-tuned, I have no doubts that coach Ferguson's Nanooks will be successful.

Check out USCHO's photo gallery of the weekend for some good shots!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Controversy Abounds Over Nanooks' Shootout Win over Spartans

Almost as much controversy surrounded Dean Chelios' shootout attempt as the Alaska senate race. Chelios had some pretty impressive dekes in front of Scott Greenham, and eventually got the puck over Greenham's shoulder. The goal would then be waved off, as official Keith Sergott declared that Chelios halted forward motion of the puck. It's OK, its not the first call they blew.

But we'll set that aside for now, and get on to the game...

The Nanooks skated very well, and skated very fast. I mentioned in my preview that I thought they ought to take more chances, well I saw some of that tonight, with forwards getting aggressive and getting three breakaways, which spawned conversations between breaks from MSU commentators that they couldn't believe how fast Alaska was. Although none of these rushes resulted in goals, one resulted in a drawn penalty ask Nik Yaremchuk was tripped up as he was driving the net.

The Nanooks would have 4 power play chances, one of which would result in the Nanooks' lone goal of the evening. Freshman Cody Kunyk will earn his 3rd goal of the season off of a blocked shot by fellow freshman linemate Colton Beck. Beck's shot was blocked, and whacked out of mid air by Kunyk over Palmisano's glove to go up 1-0.

The only other goal scored in regulation was during a second period pounding that the Spartans would inflict, outshooting the Nanooks 20-7 in those 20 minutes. Four minutes of that would be spent on the power play, which amassed 12 shots in that situation. The Nanooks had a power play as well in the second period, one in which they could not get a shot on goal, and almost allowed a shorthanded breakaway goal, but was saved by the Great Wall of Greenham. Greenham wasn't able to save a spinning shot from the slot by Trevor Nill, who got a shot through some traffic and snuck the puck in over Greenham's shoulder, just under the crossbar to get the goal.

The Nanooks did rebound of sorts and outshot MSU 11-5, but couldn't capitalize, despite applying some good pressure. Michigan State did things well here, that both Union and Colorado College let up on last weekend in Fairbanks: positioning. Both Union and CC got aggressive in their defensive play towards the end, which allowed the game winners for Alaska in both of the 2-1 victories last weekend. This game was looking very much the same, and the Nanooks nearly capitalized on a few scoring chances by several players.

It wasn't until the third period that I thought the Nanooks were really playing their game. They had some good looks in the first period, some struggles in the second and overall just couldn't get a lot generated to get things going. The 3rd period was very much the best for the Blue and Gold tonight, but unlike last weekend, it wasn't enough to put the game out of reach for MSU, who will ultimately earn another tie and remains undefeated on the season.

The overtime period wasn't a lot different. The Nanooks did take an unfortunate penalty just 48 seconds into the period as Sova was nabbed for tripping, but the Spartans would only be able to put one shot on goal throughout the whole period. The Nanooks did have their chances, but they appeared to play a bit conservatively as to not give MSU any chances either, and the game would eventually be decided by a shootout...

After Chelios' aforementioned shot was botched by the ref, Andy Taranto threw a wrister that Palmisano was up to the task for. Greg Wolfe would shoot second for the Spartans, but I use the term "shoot" very loosely in this sense, because you have to maintain possession of the puck first, in order to actually get the shot off. Either Wolfe is really bad at puck handling, or Greenham poke checked him with his mind.  I choose to believe the latter.

Colton Beck and Ryan Hohl notched the two goals to pull off the shootout victory. Beck and an incredibly quick series of dekes, going forehand-backhand-forehand that beat Palmisano low glove side. And so the old adage goes ... "the hand is quicker than the eye, my friend".

Ryan Hohl would eventually get the game winner after Brett Perlini's equalizer ala-Alex Ovechkin. Hohl channeled his inner-Ovie, with the leg kick, snapshot, and everything. As Ryan skated in, post leg twitch, he ripped a shot that caught Palmisano by surprise it just blazed by him glove side. I'd give him two goals for one, just on style points. But, since I didn't write the rulebook, we'll have to stick with the one. Even if I did write the rulebook, its not like my rules would have been enforced anyway...

On other news, I apologize (sort of) for the lack of depth on yesterday's game preview. I wrote it from my iPhone while trying to watch the Oregon Ducks and the Red Wings games, all at the same time. That made it kind of hard. Doing so, I missed a pair of storylines coming into the game.

  • Scott Greenham is now 2-0-2 against Michigan State in his career. He has now posted a .973 save percentage, 0.72GAA and a shutout against the Spartans, dating back to January 3rd, 2009 in his first CCHA start.
  • Nanook newcomer Adam Henderson travels back to his former home in away colors. He got a lineup spot tonight and used it to his advantage, throwing his weight around. One of which, he almost earned a major penalty for, but turned out to be a CFB minor.

Saturday's game is set to drop at 5:05PM Eastern, that makes for a 1:05PM AKDT puck drop. Unfortunately, tomorrow will not have the luxury of televised coverage on KFXF, or any station around the country for that matter. If you want to watch it, you'll have to shill $10 to watch a postage stamp sized feed from msuspartans.com. At least the AmericaOne feeds are somewhat high quality, makes it a little more worth the investment. Don't forget about Bruce Cech either, the Voice of the Nanooks is always streaming during the games via KSUA at http://ksua.uaf.edu. UPDATE: my trusted sources tell me the conflicts with AFN will prevent KSUA from broadcasting the game. Thus, Bruce will move over to the AM band on KCBF 820AM, and streamed live from their website at 820sports.com. And don't forget to join in the discussion on my Twitter feed (@NanookHockey).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nanooks and Spartans Open CCHA Play - THIS IS NOT SPARTA!

I figured I would throw that tagline out there... There are stories that Gerard Butler, aka King Leonidas from the film 300 had visited the MSU campus to stir things up at homecoming weekend by visiting pretty much every sporting event at MSU this past weekend--except for the MSU hockey games against Maine. Butler even watched 300 with the MSU football team, which I find ironically hilarious, since the film basically goes from the Spartans valiant strategic resistance, thwarting thousands that attack them, then eventually ends with the Persians stomping their massive proverbial foot on Greece...

This weekend, the Nanooks are the Persians. MSU, resistance is futile.

Michigan State had a couple impressive outings against Maine last weekend, albeit they lost their exhibition opener 5-3 to Western Ontario University. I'm going to assume Western Ontario  is just like the University of Windsor (they are only 120 miles apart), so with that logic we should score somewhere between 9 and 11 goals against the Spartans.

OK, maybe not, but in all likelihood, its going to be whichever squad can capitalize on their man advantage situations. Both UA and MSU aren't so hot on the power play, and both will have to use those man advantages to their advantage to be successful. MSU is a very stingy team, they have been for some time. MSU scored a total of 7 goals against the best team in Hockey East whose name doesn't have Boston in it, which is no slouch effort. We saw Maine come in to the Carlson Center and take down Alaska in forceful fashion. Although there weren't many penalties in that game, there sure were between them and MSU last week...

A combined 36 penalties were called between the two teams, resulting in a combined 30 power play opportunities each way. MSU is 2-15 so far, while the Nanooks are just 1-15, with our lone power play goal coming on a 5-on-3 chance against North Dakota.

What I would like to see improve this weekend is shots. The guys have got to put the puck on net this weekend. Take chances, crash the net, and get the goal.

While I'm fairly confident in saying that MSU won't put up 7 goals this weekend against us, the obvious challenge here is scoring more than they do. We'll see how well this plays out this weekend from Munn Ice Arena in Lansing, Michigan.

If all goes well, I'll have lines up and posted before the game. But we'll see how well that goes. The Friday game will be on TV starting at 3:30PM, the Saturday game will require schilling out money to msuspartans.com to watch online. Granted, I'm against doing such things, but will probably do so anyway...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ryan Hohl Chats on the News

Senior Ryan Hohl chats it up on the famous Puck Talk section with Jaime Schwartzwald on News 13. This is leading in to the Brice Alaska Goal Rush from last week that was just thrown up on YouTube today. Check it out.

Recruit Alert - Garrick Perry Will Be a Nanook

Perry driving the puck to the net
The Nanooks coaching staff have received their first commitment in nearly 10 months. BCHL forward for the Coquitlam Express Garrick Perry, who currently possesses 8-12-20 scoring line over the past 15 games. This is his third season in the BCHL so far and has shown a progression in point production during his tenure, from 0.7, to 0.9 points per game over the past two full seasons, to 1.3 points per game this year.

At 6'1, 192 lbs, he's certainly a good sized player. He's currently 20 years old, so no longer draft eligible, but he's certainly a leader for this team as he's been named the captain for the 2010-11 season. He's playing alongside an A graded player on the NHL Scouting watch list in Destry Straight who is tied for the scoring lead for the team.

I think Perry will be an interesting addition for the team. He appears to drive the net hard, he's got a good hockey sense about him it seems, and he is apparently a good puck handler. You can catch some good video clips of Perry (who now wears number 12 instead of 14) over at the Express Voice.

It's unclear at the moment when he will arrive to Fairbanks, but with a solid number of guys already lined up to come in next year, I would suspect that we may not see him until 2012.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Benefit Auction for Chris Garner

Some time ago, I posted about Chris Garner's bout with pre-leukemia, now called Myelodysplatic Syndrome (MDS). Chris has now undergone several procedures in his battle, and is discovering problems with the American health care system. Without getting political, St. Cloud State University's long time equipment manager, Jeremiah Minkel, has arranged an auction of hockey jerseys and sticks and such to help offset the enormous cost of what Chris's insurance won't cover.

Jeremiah sent me an email with a press release, as well as the item list up for auction. Check it out.

HOCKEY FANS, HERE IS A CHANCE TO HELP ONE OF COLLEGE HOCKEY’S GOOD GUYS, AND BID ON SOME GREAT NCAA AND PRO HOCKEY GAME WORN JERSEYS AND MEMORABILIA. CHRIS GARNER, HOCKEY EQUIPMENT MANAGER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, DULUTH IS CURRENTLY BATTLING MDS (MYELODYSPLATIC SYNDROME), FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRE-LEUKEMIA. CHRIS WAS DIAGNOSED WITH THIS DISEASE EARLIER THIS YEAR AND RECIEVED A POTENTIALLY LIFE SAVING BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT AT THE END OF JULY. IF CHRIS DID NOT RECEIVE A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT, THE RISK OF HIS CURRENT BONE MARROW TRANSITIONING INTO AML (ACUTE MYELOGENOUS LEUKEMIA) WOULD BE EXTREMELY HIGH. FORTUNATELY, A DONOR MATCH FOR CHRIS WAS FOUND IN JUNE OF 2010 AND CHRIS HAS BEGUN THE TRANSPLANT PROCESS AT THE MAYO CLINIC. THE BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT IS A VERY EXPENSIVE PROCEDURE AND CHRIS MUST BARE SOME OF THE MEDICAL COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROCEDURE ALONG WITH THE COSTS OF RELOCATING TO ROCHESTER, MN FOR THE TREATMENT UNTIL HE IS CLEARED TO RETURN TO WORK AT THE DECC (UMD’S HOME RINK) AND MOVE BACK HOME TO DULUTH.

JEREMIAH MINKEL,(jdminkel@stcloudstate.edu) ST CLOUD STATE HOCKEY EQUIPMENT MANAGER, MET CHRIS WHEN THEY WERE BOTH STUDENT ASSISTANTS AT SCSU AND THEY HAVE BEEN CLOSE FRIENDS EVER SINCE. JEREMIAH HAS PUT TOGETHER AN ON-LINE AUCTION THAT WILL BE STARTING OCTOBER 24th AT WWW.OBERMANAUCTION.COM TO RAISE FUNDS TO HELP OFFSET CHRIS’S MEDICAL COSTS NOT COVERED BY INSURANCE. TO DATE WE HAVE COLLECTED 82 COLLEGE AND PRO JERSEYS, OVER 20 AUTOGRAPHED STICKS AND MANY OTHER ITEMS THAT WERE GRACIOUSLY DONATED. YOU CAN ALSO CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW A VIDEO ABOUT CHRIS AND THE AUCTION ITEMS.

BELOW IS THE LIST OF JERSEYS AND STICKS AVAILABLE ON THE AUCTION:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nanooks Tame the Tigers 2-1, Greenham Earns Tourney MVP

After picking up another good comparison point against UAA with Union downing the Seawolves a game earlier, I was anxious to see the 'Nooks take the ice to play for their second consecutive Goal Rush title.

As you can imagine, Colorado College got off to a fast start, but took a quick check into the penalty box, to send Alaska to their first power play. Although the Nanooks didn't capitalize, they did get some chances but for the most part, Colorado College did a good job shutting down the lanes.

But after a few rushes back and forth, Joe Sova caused a turnover after CC got back to waive of their own icing call, Taranto started the breakout, getting it up to Granberg, who was accompanied very quickly by Nik Yaremchuk. Jarret wound up and fired a laser from the slot that Joe Howe got a glove on, but couldn't hang on to the puck and it bounced over the goal line. What partially contributed to this goal was Yaremchuks streak up the right side. He was behind the play, but Yaremchuk must have a Hemi powering those legs of his, he flat out flew up that side to get back into the play and Howe had to acknowledge his presence, which definitely helped Granberg's angle.

Not long into the second, the Tigers would get the equalizer as Jaden Schwartz, the first round NHL draft pick and expected by many to be the WCHA rookie of the year, scored on the power play off a rebound generated by Gabe Guentzel.

Closing out the scoring, Klassen collected a turnover, left it for Finucci who "...just tapped it in" for the game winning goal. Tiger netminder Joe Howe seemingly overcommitted to Klassen and could not get back in time and Finucci burned 'em for the score and ultimately the win. 

What I saw this weekend was very solid hockey. The Nanooks are still finding their way for some offensive chemistry, but their defense, currently ranked 5th in the nation, is firing on all cylinders. Every defender played some very solid hockey. Aaron Gens and Bryant Molle each played a fantastic tournament. Unfortunately no points, but no minuses either which is key.

The guys are also playing with confidence, playing aggressively. Yes they are taking more penalties than the previous year, but they are attacking the puck, challenging for possession. Granted, certain penalties we could have done without. Taranto's minor he took in the 2nd probably shouldn't have been called. The interesting part is that I can say that without worrying about anything, but when Andy told that to the official last night, he would sit out for an extra 10 minutes. Maybe that's why the ref's shirts no longer have names on them...
Anyhow, do I think the penalties are a bad thing? Not entirely. Obviously, any time you give your opposition a man advantage situation its unfavorable, but if the penalty killing units can stay solid, then it can work in their favor. Just 7 goals have been scored against the Nanooks so far throughout 4 games. Just 2 of them were scored when we had all 5 guys on the ice, the other 5 goals were scored on a power play. 2 of the 3 goals North Dakota scored were from the power play, 1 of 2 Air Force's goals was scored on the power play. Both goals allowed this weekend from Union and Colorado College were from the power play. Take that how you will.

I thought this was a solid weekend for the Nanooks. A lot of fast paced hockey, with 2 good wins against great teams. Both Colorado College and Union lived up to their expectations, maybe Union a little more than I expected.

In terms of the game itself, since we aren't doing 3 stars yet until CCHA play, again I'll proclaim my own.

3rd star - Aaron Gens
Gens has made himself a force to be reckoned with. The top defensive line of Sova and Gens is the only line that hasn't changed so far this entire season. He's a key component to the Nanooks defense, and in both the power play and penalty killing units. I know he had votes for the all-tournament team, and probably should have been there.

2nd star - Jarret Granberg
Granberg almost had my vote as the unsung hero from Friday if it weren't for Ronnie Meyers, but you can tell Jarret is headed for a good year. He has literally been all over the ice this weekend, and an integral part of generating chances and maintaining possession for that top line. I should getting some video highlights here fairly soon, which will surely include this goal, which you have to see to really appreciate.

1st star - Scott Greenham
The Great Wall of Greenham kept the pucks out this weekend, that's for sure. Didn't quite get shut outs, but only allowed power play goals, one each between the two games. Really a stellar performance. Some of those centering passes from behind the net that Colorado College connected on may have been goals against any other goaltender. It took 2 rebounds around the crease on a power play before Schwartz scored the only goal for CC. Scotty would eventually be named the tournament's MVP as the Nanooks emerged victorious on Saturday. He sure got my vote.

For those interested,  next year's Goal Rush will feature Mercyhurst and Nebraska-Omaha, and the 2012 Goal Rush will welcome Merrimack and North Dakota to Fairbanks. Again, next year's Kendall Classic will host Clarkson and Providence.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lines for Saturday - More Shake-ups

After seeing some of the line shifts, the 2nd through 4th line has seen some more renovation. Chad Gehon finds his way into the lineup tonight for the first time this season. Dustin Sather has swapped spots with Carlo Finucci to join Beck and Kunyk on the second line. Slemp and Hohl come out to make way for Henderson and Gehon. Gehon and Meyers had some good chemistry into the end of the season last year. Throwing Adam Henderson in the mix with his physical play to compliment that. You'll notice the top lines never shifted, as they were both +2 on the night.  So without further ado...

#14 Alaska Nanooks

F1 Kevin Petovello (C) - Jarret Granberg - Andy Taranto
F2 Colton Beck - Cody Kunyk - Dustin Sather
F3 Nik Yaremchuk - Derek Klassen - Carlo Finucci
F4 Chad Gehon - Adam Henderson - Ron Meyers

D1 Joe Sova - Aaron Gens
D2 Bryant Molle - Justin Daigle
D3 Michael Quinn - Scott Enders

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Colin Rundell

#18 Colorado College Tigers

F1 Tim Hall - Nick Dineen - Tyler Johnson
F2 Stephen Schultz - Archie Skalbeck - William Rapuzzi
F3 Jaden Schwartz - Rylan Schwartz - Andrew Hamburg
F4 Alexander Kruselnyski - Scott Winkler - David Civitarese

D1 Ryan Lowery - Eamonn McDermott
D2 Gabe Guentzel - Joe Marciano
D3 Mike Boivin - Arthur Bidwell

G1 Joe Howe
G2 Josh Thorimbert

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nanooks Deorganize Union Behind the Great Wall of Greenham, 2-1

After watching UAA drop the first game to Colorado College, including Seawolves defensemen Brad Gorham knocking Colorado College's Eamonn McDermott into next week. Gorham's weekend came to an abrupt finish as he was ran out of the rink with a game disqualification, which not only takes you out of the current game, but a mandatory one game suspension, so he will not see the ice against Union tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if he sits out a few more after league offices get wind of it. Nanook fans will remember Gorham getting thrown out during the second game of last years Governor's cup, after he laid out Justin Filzen with a hit that gashed Filzen's face. Justin, being the man that he is, put a band-aid on it and kept playing. Funny thing is, this won't be the last time UAA sees Colorado College, so Gorham may want to keep his head on a swivel. That is, assuming he's not suspended for those games too...

Andy Taranto celebrates with his teammates after tying the game
But anyhow, on to the game we care about. The first period got off to a very fast start, with a penalty being assessed in the first minute to Adam Presizniuk of Union. Although the Nanooks didn't capitalize, they certainly challenged Keith Kinkaid. Andy Taranto had a few good chances off of some juicy rebounds. Not long after, however, the Dutchmen went on their own power play as Joe Sova was flagged for interference. Just 45 seconds later, Union winger Josh Jooris centered a pass to Jeremy Welsh who quickly fired a shot past Scott Greenham, who really had no chance at it. The shot came off of Welsh's stick like a gun shot, which surprisingly enough didn't burn through the twine of the Nanooks' net. The Nanooks didn't give up though, they kept applying some serious pressure, doubling Unions shots 14-7 through the first period. With strong puck possession, tape to tape passing, and good cycling, the Nanooks generated chances, but were unable to solve Union netminder Keith Kinkaid.

That all changed at the beginning of the 2nd period, as Andy Taranto gloved a puck down as Union tried clearing the zone, and buried it over the glove of Kinkaid just outside of the right faceoff circle. Joe Sova also earned an assist on this play. This was Andy's first goal of the 2010 season.

Ronnie Meyers and Ryan Hohl playing keep-away.
The Dutchmen from Union came back fired up though, outshooting the Nanooks 12-7 in the 2nd period. The Nanooks also went to the box twice, which didn't help their cause. Ronnie Meyers though, give him the credit, put a clinic on in the offensive zone, throwing checks, keeping possession, even while being triple teamed. I'm fairly sure he killed about 25 seconds of penalty time on that shift alone. Not much later, Nanook rookie Erik Slemp got the crowd all riled up as he knocked a Union forward into next week on the forecheck. The Nanooks generated some good pressure to end the period, but unfortunately came up empty. A lot of momentum to build on going into third though.

Kevin Petovello gets the game winner.
As you would expect though, Union built some of their own momentum. Both sides came out in the 3rd and fought in all three zones, not getting many chances. Play did open up, with Ron Meyers and Andy Taranto trying to catch some stretch passes to get things going, but Union was up to the task. It wasn't until 17:30 into the 3rd period that the deadlock would be broken. Jarret Granberg won the faceoff, Taranto swooped in and got it back to Joe Sova who fired a blast at the net from center point that bounced right to Petovello's stick, and got it right in the net past Union netminder Keith Kinkaid. I had a chance to speak with No. 30 after the game about that second goal "In the third period, our whole team was playing really great in our zone. We kept [Alaska] to only 4 shots all period, but the one that came by was just like a pinball. Nothing you can really do about that one." True story. It took several attempts to solve the stingy netminder. Kinkaid, who played just over 96 minutes of hockey with no goals allowed going into this game, played phenomenally, but it was Scott Greenham that earned the win.

Scotty saw some good chances and turned them away. I thought he hand excellent rebound control, and saw the puck very well. The aforementioned goal he allowed was on the power play to Jeremy Walsh which was a precision shot. The defense did a great job staying in the shooting lanes, shutting down the centering plays and keeping the back door shut. There were a few odd man rushes in Unions favor, but most of them didn't make it to Greenham. Just through the second period, Union and cumulatively attempted 40 shots, just 19 of them found their way to the Great Wall of Greenham (yes... I'm coining this nickname...), just one of which found twine. Scotty had 23 saves on 24 shots, for a .958 save percentage with just one goal against.

While the media will elect an all-tournament team, there are no formal "Three Stars" selections for these games. Perani cup points only matter for CCHA games, but I'm a purist, I'll come up with my own:

3rd star - Joe Sova
Joe Sova playing solid defense in front of Greenham
Although Joe could be the one to blame for Union's power play goal, the truth is he played some very solid defense tonight. Sova assisted on both goals for the Nanooks, and made very good decisions defensively. As an offensive defenseman, I didn't see any inopportune plays from him. He played his role very intelligently and it clearly paid off.

2nd star - Andy Taranto
Andy got his first goal of the season on a play that he created. As Joe Sova put it "...do what he does best." He had some great positioning tonight, seemed like he played a little cautious but played very smart. The lineup changes coming into this game including a shake up of this top line alongside Andy. Last year, Andy and Dion fed so well off of each other, it was like bread and butter. With Peto on the top line with T.O. now, it looks like coach has found a match.

1st star - Kevin Petovello
That late game winning goal wasn't all that this senior captain impressed me with tonight. Kevin clearly plays with such a passion for the game, and has shown me that through all three games this season. After being out for quite a bit the first half of last season, he's already matched his goal totals from just a season ago in just 3 games. Just like tonight's Unsung Hero, he played hard every shift and opened up plays and generated good scoring chances.

NHB's Unsung Hero - Ronnie Meyers
The Cowboy poured it on tonight. Although he didn't get a point for his efforts, he poured it on every shift. He was on the ice in all facets of the game, and he made himself a force to be reckoned with. He must have had his Red Bull before the game...

Tomorrow night, the Tigers from Colorado College become the next victims, as they take on Alaska for the Goal Rush title at 7:05PM (not 8:05)  at the Carlson Center. For those that would like to see Union and UAA (sans-Brad Gorham) square off, their game starts at 4:05PM.

For those that made it to the Carlson tonight, what were your thoughts of the new dashers and glass? It was a significant upgrade that added a nice new feeling to the arena.

Photos by mmf. See more in his gallery.

Lines for Friday

Some more line chances for coach Ferguson's Nanooks. Each line has seen changes that should get some good chemistry going. Carlo Finucci and Kevin Petovello move up a line, Dustin Sather will move down to the 3rd line with Nik Yaremchuk, and Erik Slemp which I think will be an intriguing line to watch.

As a note, all of the guys not in the lineup tonight are out due to a coach's decision. No injuries to report.

#14 Alaska

F1 Kevin Petovello - Jarret Granberg - Andy Taranto
F2 Colton Beck - Cody Kunyk - Carlo Finucci
F3 Dustin Sather - Nik Yaremchuk - Erik Slemp
F4 Ryan Hohl - Derek Klassen - Ron Meyers

D1 Joe Sova - Aaron Gens
D2 Bryant Molle - Justin Daigle
D3 Michael Quinn - Scott Enders

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Colin Rundell

#16 Union

F1 Adam Presizniuk - Kelly Zajac - Wayne Simpson
F2 Daniel Carr - Jeremy Welsh - Josh Jooris
F3 Luke Cain - John Simpson - Stephane Boileau
F4 Andrew Buote - Justin Pallos - Matt Hatch

D1 Ryan Forgaard - Mike Ingoldsby
D2 Greg Coburn - Shawn Stuart
D3 Mat Bodie - Brock Matheson

G1 Keith Kinkaid
G2 Corey Milan

Bulking Up for the Brice

After teams around the country get a hold of the video from the North Dakota game, you can imagine other teams will be gunning for us just like they did. Responding to physical play, and even using a little of our own will go a long way this weekend. Although I haven't been to a practice yet this week, I can imagine the intensity.


I did stop by the Carlson Center to check out Union's practice yesterday. I caught a glimpse of the new glass and dasher boards and holy cow does it look nice. Here is a picture of Colorado College's practice, shot through the glass. Look at those seams (or lack there of)!
Photo courtesy of mmf.


Not really much of a preview this weekend. Hopefully we can get that many pucks past Colorado College's goaltender on Saturday. Something tells me that might not happen though. This has been quite a crazy week, and I haven't had a lot of free time to put stuff up here this week. I figure though, since my cohort to the south was kind enough to plagiarize me with my post about the Kendall, I figure that's a free ticket to do the same for his post for the Brice. As much as I don't like his team for obvious rivalry reasons, I do like Donald's UAA blog. However, one could call his puck shooting skills into question...



[Union] is in Schenectady, New York.  They play on an NHL sized rink (200x85).  Collective pollster wisdom puts them at 16th currently.  They are led offensively by a couple of former BCHL'rs in Kelly Zajac (Mrs. Zajac was a hockey player factory) and Adam Presizniuk and the current ECAC Rookie of the Week Jason Jooris who has 3 goals and 2 assists.  Their roster looks much like a typical UAA or UAF roster with good representation from the BCHL and AJHL.  

They went 21-12-6 last season finishing 3rd behind Yale and Cornell.  Significant wins came against Maine (2 wins); they tied (3-3) and lost (3-1) to St. Cloud early last season.  The rest of their wins came against ECAC and Atlantic Hockey teams.  None of that means they won't be a tough opponent for the young Seawolves.  They're neither a big nor small squad.  I'll assume that they're a competitively skating team.  They'll likely work hard.


[snip] 


As for CC, this season it looks to be the Schwartz show.  Sophomore Rylan is joined by phenom brother freshman Jaden.  Additional threats will come from Gabe Guentzel and Anchorage boy William Rapuzzi.  They'e currently ranked 18th.  Last year virtually everyone figured CC would have a down year.  They didn't.  This year virtually everyone figures CC will have a bit of a down year.  So who really knows?
Tonight's games feature UAA and Colorado College (WCHA foes playing a non-conference game, just like UND last week), and Union taking on the Nanooks. Games will be at 5:05PM and 8:05PM tonight respectively. You can stream video from the games through AmericaOne (formerly B2). There is a fee, but its much less than buying a plane ticket to watch the games here, but likely more than your latte you would buy in the morning. 


I'll have lines posted for UA and Union before the game. See you at the Carlson Center.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 2 - North Dakota Muscles Past Nanooks 3-1

The Nanooks got out of the gate very fast. A few quick chances from North Dakota were turned aside by Scott Greenham, However a penalty to Cody Kunyk in the first period would ultimately lead to North Dakota's scoring run. A quick wrister from Brett Hextall, with the primary assist going to Anchorage native Evan Trupp, with the second assist to Derek Forbert beat Scott Greenham on the rush to go up 1-0.

The Nanooks were able to maintain possession, and cycle the puck in the offensive zone, however their shooting lanes were quite limited. The Nanooks attempted just 8 shots in the first period, and just 4 made it to the goaltender, Aaron Dell who was able to turn them all aside. Not much would be different in the second period, as North Dakota came out with a vengeance.  Shots in the second alone were 9 to 1.

North Dakota would add two goals in the second to make it 3-0 headed into the third. But the game is at least a little closer than the score lets on. The Nanooks have been making good pressure, and defending pretty well, however, for the Nanooks to win, they will have to generate offensive pressure, get shots on net and knock a few in to pull out the win. North Dakota gave up towards the end of the game against UAA, we'll see if the same is true for the third period against UA.

And the Nanooks came out firing in the third, getting shot after shot on net. A 5:00 major and game misconduct went to Brad Malone, and the Nanooks capitalized on a 5 on 3 chance, generated by another 2:00 minor to Derek Forbert, but it wasn't enough. North Dakota's pressure defense did a good job limiting the chances. Going into next week, generating offense I'm sure will be a key point of practice. I thought the possession and puck cycling went a lot better than the Air Force game, but North Dakota is not Air Force. After blowing a 4 goal lead to UAA, I knew UND would be ready to go.

Looking to next week, Colorado College and Union are both formidable opponents. Both of them ranked in the top 20 so far, both have been to the NCAA tournament, Colorado College just missed out last year. Both will be great teams to get ready for through this next week and should be a great draw for fans in Fairbanks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lines for Saturday

Some good lineup changes for both sides today.The Nanooks will swap in a few new players tonight to take on the more physical team in North Dakota. Slemp, Henderson, & Quinn will skate tonight, in place of Filzen, Hohl, & Butcher.

Alaska:

F1 Dustin Sather - Jarret Granberg - Andy Taranto
F2 Colton Beck - Cody Kunyk - Kevin Petovello
F3 Carlo Finucci - Nik Yaremchuk - Ron Meyers
F4 Adam Henderson - Derek Klassen - Erik Slemp

D1 Joe Sova - Aaron Gens
D2 Bryant Molle - Michael Quinn
D3 Kaare Odegard - Scott Enders

G1 Greenham
G2 Thompson


Out:
Justin Filzen
Ryan Hohl
Adam Cardwell
Justin Daigle
Cody Butcher
Chad Gehon
Colin Rundell



North Dakota:

F1 Evan Trupp - Brad Malone - Matt Frattin
F2 Jason Gregoire - Corban Knight - Brett Hextall
F3 Mike Cichy - Brock Nelson - Danny Kristo
F4 Brent Davidson - Mario Lamoureux - Derek Rodwell

D1 Andrew MacWilliam - Chay Genoway
D2 Derek Forbort - Ben Blood
D3 Derrick LaPoint - Jake Marto

G1 Aaron Dell
G2 Brad Eidsness

Out:
Brett Brunetau
Dillon Simpson
Joe Gleason
Carter Rowney
Ryan Hill
Tate Maris

Interesting goaltending shift for UND, I thought we would see Eidsness tonight, and Dell last night when head coach Dave Hakstol indicated that both would get the start next weekend. Both goaltenders are quite talented, so it will be good to see how Dell does with his start.

Day 1 - Nanooks Down the Falcons, 5-2

The first period was a pretty even match. Both teams played some pretty tight hockey. A little conservative, but a bit sloppy. A lot of turnovers on both sides. neither side really had many chances.

A couple of penalties on the Nanooks in the first period, with the first one of the season to Kaare Odegard, which resulted in a power play goal for Stephen Carew, from John Kruse just 12 seconds later. It didn't take long for the Nanooks to rebound though.

Cody Kunyk Scores Goal # 1
The Nanooks would go on to score 4 unanswered goals over the next 35 minutes. Cody Kunyk gets the credit for the first goal of the year for the Nanooks. The 5' 11" freshman took a pass through traffic from fellow freshman linemate Colton Beck to beat Falcon netminder David Bosner stick side, which would end the first period 1-1. I wasn't too astonished with the play in the first. A lot of neutral zone turnovers, a lot of botched passes. Air Force did a good job of putting defensive pressure on, but the Nanooks have got to find guys in open ice and make plays. I thought it was a little timid, but at the same time, it was the first real game of the season.

The second period opened up quite a bit more. Passing efficiency increased, they picked up speed, and obviously so did the scoring.

Colton Beck gets goal # 2
Joe Sova took a pass from Petovello and blasted a shot from the point that was expertly deflected by Colton Beck. The deflection went perfectly, the high shot, deflected low was too quick of a change for Bosner to do anything about. More importantly, the development and the motion of the whole team on this play is ultimately how it turned into a goal. motions behind the net around to the other side forced another defensemen on the scorer, the wingers pinching out to the corners forced defenders to the outside, opening up a channel in front of the net for the scorer to occupy, shot from the point, deflection, and goal.

Just before Yaremchuk puts it in the net.
Nik Yaremchuk would get his first goal of the season, getting involved in activity around the net and burying the rebound from Cody Kunyk to go up 3-1. It was a nice shot too, Bosner left a juicy rebound, Yaremchuk buried it.

Nanooks crash the net and get some good pressure.
Klassen would get the next goal, in which everyone in the Sullivan thought that it was going to be an icing penalty as Klassen left the box just before this. Now this year, it isn't  straight up no touch icing, its a new hybrid icing rule if the team that ices the puck enters the zone and is the first to pass the face off dots, icing is waved off. If the defending team has the clear advantage to get to the puck first, icing is called. It is a very interesting situation, since it puts the power of subjectivity in the hands of the linesman. In this case though, it was a good call, and a good play. Klassen, fresh out of the penalty box, took the puck, dangled in front of the goaltender, shot, gathered his own rebound and buried the goal, all among just him and the goaltender. EDIT: Stat correction, Scott Greenham and Joe Sova will get assists on Klassen's goal per the updated box score.

Nanook captain, #9 Kevin Petovello
Going into the 3rd period, play tightened up for Air Force. They got faster, they put more pressure on the puck carrier, they cycled the puck better, which eventually paid off for them. Forward John Kruse would earn his second point of the night, getting one past Greenham to cut the lead to 4-2.

But the Nanooks weren't finished yet. Senior captain Kevin Petovello, had some serious wheels tonight, by the way, buried a rebound off of a shot from Aaron Gens and put it in to close out the scoring for the night.

To me, the game got off to a bit of a rough start. Again, I thought Air Force contained the 'Nooks well and didn't give them much, but our guys have to keep the puck moving and maintain possession to beat North Dakota. The best way to win against a team like that is to limit their chances and keep the puck away from them and out of the defensive zone, but to do that, you have to maintain possession under pressure, which the 'Nooks had trouble doing.

Kevin Petovello buries goal #5.
Tonight will be a great game, I still attest to my prediction, 2-1 over North Dakota.

Congratulations to UAA to turn a slaughterhouse into a game. Down 5-1, they rallied for 4 unanswered goals to go into a tie, 5-5. While North Dakota would win the shootout, UAA still made something out of nothing, and looked good doing it, especially for a young team. That's all I'll say. See you at the games. Be sure to check out my Twitter feed for live coverage. Don't forget about streaming audio feed from Bruce Cech.

Photos by mmf.

More Photos:


Cody Kunyk centers a pass to linemate Colton Beck

Ronnie Meyers gets it out of the corner

Junior goaltender Scott Greenham robs #9 Kyle DeLaurell of Air Force

Derek Klassen beats Falcon netminder David Bosner gloveside.


Additional photos by Paul McCarthy

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lines for Friday

Here are the line combinations for both the Nanooks and the Falcons, respectively.

Alaska

F1 Dustin Sather-Jarret Granberg-Andy Taranto
F2 Colton Beck-Cody Kunyk-Kevin Petovello
F3 Carlo Finucci-Nik Yaremchuk-Ron Meyers
F4 Ryan Hohl-Derek Klassen-Justin Filzen

D1 Sova-Gens
D2 Molle-Butcher
D3 Odegard-Enders

G1 Greenham
G2 Thompson



Air Force:

F1 Lamoureux-Fabian-Burnett
F2 Page-Bertsch-Kozlak
F3 Weisgarber-Kleisinger-Kruse
F4 Thomas-Michalke-De Laurell

D1 McKenzie-Kirby
D2 Mathis-Walsh
D3 Carew-Sellers

G1 Bosner
G2 Torf
G3 Caple

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scouting North Dakota

Before I start this off, I'll weigh in on the controversy that is the offensive-moniker-for-a-mascot UND calls themselves. Not to tout our team any more than I already do, but if you really want to embrace the native heritage of your culture, look at the 'Nooks. For those that don't know, Nanook is based off of the Inuktitut word, nanuq, which as you guessed, means polar bear. In my travels, everyone asks what the hell a Nanook is, and after I tell them "polar bear", it always turns into a debate of senseless "Well why the hell didn't they just call themselves the 'Polar Bears'??!?" After I explain that it pays homage to native Alaskan culture, honoring those who were here before us, I make it a point that doing so is important to the local culture. Now, granted I'm relatively new to the college hockey blog world, but I've got no qualms saying North Dakota screwed the pooch here. I suppose the architects of UAF athletics could have gone with "Fighting Eskimos", but it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that would be offensive, and culturally damaging. In 2000, twenty-one separate Native American-related programs, departments, and organizations at UND signed a statement opposing the continued use of the nickname and logo, saying that it did not honor them or their culture. Fortunately, they finally disbanded the name after this season. Which puts them into an interesting situation with Ralph Englestad, whose name is on UND's arena due to a $100 million donation, on the condition that UND keep the offensive moniker. The powers that be have yet to announce a new name and logo, which makes it all that much more interesting. For the purposes of making my point, I refuse to state the name of their mascot for the duration of this post.

Anyway, this blog is about hockey, so lets get to it.

Headlines to start NoDak's season are filled with the return of their captain Chay Genoway, who sat out most of last season due to a major concussion as a result of a blow to the head at the hands of St. Cloud's Aaron Marvin. A hit that would be primarily responsible in reconstructing rules addressing contact to the head penalties effective this season. His last season with North Dakota, he put up 32 points, most of them being on assists. Reviewing some game tape, he's certainly a playmaker, the quarterback from the blue line. Disrupting his passing and shooting lanes will be a key focus point for the Nanooks. It will be interesting to see how Chay rebounds from his injury. I'm recording UND's exhibition game tonight, which I'll have to check out once I get to Anchorage tomorrow afternoon and take a look at how he's playing. I'll be in attendance for the UND-UAA game as well, seeing how that pans out.

Another player to watch out for is returning 20 goal scorer in junior Jason Gregoire. Who not only is a scorer, but plays clean. Last season, Jason committed just 5 penalties for 10 minutes on a team that amassed the most penalty minutes in D-I college hockey, second only to UAA. Clean play is always commendable in my book. Aside from that though, Gregoire is UND's main offensive threat. Don't get me wrong, North Dakota has plenty of them, but Gregoire is especially dangerous. His stocky, 5' 11" 196lb frame fits like a glove in front of the net. He stays home, picks up rebounds, deflects shots, and takes out the garbage. I'm sure coach Ferguson will have his guys keep tabs on him, too.

UND forward Brett Hextall is sure to run wild. He is has consistently racked up nearly 100 minutes in penalties in each of his first two seasons, and constantly getting his hands dirty with opposing players. I think its a redundant statement when I say: "the guy just hits people"... Don't let that fool you though, he can score too. I'd just look out for the hit more than the shot...

Their goaltending is also just as stingy as ours. Junior Brad Eidsness returns off of a great sophomore season, pulling a 2.11 goals against average, and a .914 save percentage and 3 shutouts. Not too bad for the future Buffalo Sabre. UND head coach Dave Hakstol went on TV today and said that his two netminders would be splitting duty this weekend. I think its safe to say Eidsness will get the Nanooks, while sophomore Aaron Dell will likely see time on Friday.

North Dakota is a school with a storied history, multiple national championships, bla bla bla. UND has 16 NHL draft picks on their roster this season, and picked as one of the top 2 teams in the nation in all of the major polls. Last season was a similar story when Michigan came to Anchorage. Coming in to the Kendall Hockey Classic with a #2 ranking in the polls, and dropping the first game to the Nanooks 2-0. Some say that started the Wolverines downward spiral, and the spark of our season. The same can happen this year. The guys have a chance to step out and dismantle this team in front of a national audience (several cable outlets in the central area will be picking up this game) and gain some credit. Right now, everyone is 0-0-0. Lets keep the numbers increasing on the left side of that line...

The Nanooks will have to play very tight, and skate for all 60 minutes and throw everything they've got at North Dakota. I think we've got the depth, the coaching, the chemistry, and most importantly, the will and desire to win this game. Coach Ferguson has a few tough decisions to make for the line up, who will play, and who won't. From the outside, it looks like a harder decision this year than any of the past years I've known the program. We've got a lot of depth with a lot of good talent that can push this team ahead of UND this weekend...

Nanooks win 2-1.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

KFXF Fox 7 Announces CCHA Hockey TV Schedule

Always an exiting time. Thanks to the Kendall Auto group to help bring this to the fans of Fairbanks. Pasted below is the full press release, as well as the schedule itself.

Fairbanks, AK- Tanana Valley TV in Fairbanks announces today their 2010-11 college hockey TV schedule. TVTV’s FOX7 station will feature a slate of 10 games involving the University of Alaska Nanooks. Also included is a schedule of 12 CCHA regular season and playoff games, including the Dec 11th Michigan State at Michigan game. Dubbed the ”Big Chill at the Big House”, the game will be played outdoors at the 100,000+ seat Michigan Football stadium.

The entire TV package is dubbed the Kendall Auto CCHA Game of the Week. With the
exception of home contests, most games will air live in Fairbanks. In a working partnership FOX 7 has with GCI Cable, most of the Alaska TV schedule will also air statewide on GCI’s network community billboard channel Ch. 1.

FOX 7 has secured regional and national exposure for the Nanooks this season as FOX Sports Detroit will broadcast the January 21 Alaska @ Michigan road game nationally. The October 22nd game vs Michigan State will also be televised regionally on COMCAST Local out of the Detroit Metropolitan area.

"We're excited about this years' TV schedule," says FOX 7 Broadcast Coordinator, and former Nanook, Scott Roselius. "We’re pleased to be able to continue our efforts to bring Nanook Hockey into Fairbanks’ living rooms and on a statewide basis. I want to thank Kendall Auto Group and General Manager Dave Shuttleworth. for their continued support of this venture.”
“We are honored to be able to take part in offering the Fairbanks community Nanook Hockey on TV,” added, Tanana Valley TV’s General Manager, Chris Fry.

Director of Athletics Forrest Karr is also excited about this year’s broadcast agreement. “We look forward to a sixth consecutive year partnering with Tanana Valley Television. Everyone associated with the program greatly appreciates their effort to bring Nanook hockey to our fans."

 See the full 2010-2011 TV Broadcast Schedule (PDF).

Scouting the Air Force Falcons

The Falcons are lead by senior forward, ex-Hobey Baker finalist, and Northern Michigan departee in Jacques Lamoureux. The senior captain has led the Falcons in scoring in the two years he's been there, amassing 95 points in just two seasons in which he's gotten ice time. Having watched some of the Air Force games from these last few years, you can clearly tell that Jacques will be on the ice for at least half of the game. The key here is to obviously shut him down, which with the improved speed of our defense should reduce his scoring volume to nothing more than a quiet whimper.

The weak spot is their defense. With the Falcons losing their star goalie in Andrew Volkening, they will be relying on a junior goaltender in Stephen Caple, who has seen exactly 63 minutes of game time distributed across three games of his two year collegiate career. Now, in their exhibition game, head coach Frank Serratore elected to cycle all three of his goaltenders against Lethbridge, a Canadian team that just before this contest showed Denver a thing or two about hockey. Granted, Caple didn't start, sophomore David Bosner did, who held his own seeing 9 shots and turning them all aside. Caple stopped 7 of 10 shots, allowing 3 goals in a 14 minute and 42 second span. Even the freshman showed Caple how it was done. Now, coach Serratore may not rely on his more experienced goaltender, but regardless he's going to want to put his best guy (whoever that is) between the pipes.

From my perspective, I always view Air Force as a bit of a wild card. The only real measuring stick I have from last season for them is their final regular season opponent in Sacred Heart. Which Air Force defeated in their final two games, collectively outscoring the Pioneers 14-4. Then three games later, in the AHA semifinal, Air Force loses to Sacred Heart 2-1. They seem to ride a roller coaster, and its a bit tough to judge where they will be week in and week out.

The last time these two teams clashed was a meeting in Fairbanks back in mid-October of 2006, where the Nanooks put up 3-0, and 8-4 wins together for the sweep. Dion Knelsen had a 5 point night on 2 goals and 3 assists in the last contest. Former Nanook captain Adam Naglich put up a pair of goals in the same game as well.

The Nanooks will be taking the ice tomorrow for the first time on a full Olympic sheet this season. The team will travel to Anchorage tomorrow morning, settle in and get a practice or two in before the puck drops Friday. It will certainly be an interesting game. You know Air Force will be conditioned, and the Nanooks look primed to compete with anybody.

Nanooks take the first game of the Kendall Hockey Classic, 6-1. Air Force will move on to beat UAA 3-2 in OT.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2010 Kendall Hockey Classic - Quest for a 3'Peat

The reigning Kendall Hockey Classic champions will defend their title against two formidable opponents this weekend in Air Force, and the #2 ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Previews for both are coming, I just wanted to help get the word out early for those that may plan on being in Anchorage this weekend (it is PFD-weekend after all).

For those that won't be in Anchorage, both games will be broadcast on GCI Channel 1 and KFXF Fox 7 in Fairbanks. While Saturday's game will be live, Friday's game will be tape delayed until 10PM due to programming conflicts. Also, the radio feed from Bruce Cech is on 91.5 KSUA, and streaming online at http://ksua.uaf.edu.

Both games will obviously be at the Sullivan Arena. Friday's game against Air Force will be at 5:07PM AKDT, and Saturday against NoDak will be at 4:07PM.

As far as pre-game activities,


Thursday
7:15 pm the Kendall Hockey Classic banquet will be held at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown.  Cost is $35 and reservations can be made by calling Jane Pallister at 786-1225.

Friday
11:30 am the Kendall Hockey Classic luncheon will take place at the Anchorage Sheraton.  Cost is $30 and reservations can be made by calling Rhea Caldwell at 786-1250.

I've also gotten some questions about hotel deals for the classic. The Hilton Garden Inn is offering a special of $99 per night including their breakfast buffet.  The Hilton has a shuttle service that has in the
past gotten people to/from the Sullivan and their website indicates that they will attempt to accommodate the local shuttle needs of guests.

If you are interested, please call the hotel directly at (907) 729-7000.  In the past, the people at the desk aren't always told of this special, so if they aren't able to find this - the rate was arranged through Kymberly Flores, Sales Manager at the Hilton.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nanooks Rout the Lancers, 9-0

Pre-game social.
Frustrations running high.
Putting the score aside for a moment, the key point to touch on here is special teams. These Canadian teams hit hard and they keep going. They eventually forced retaliation from the Nanooks and penalty after penalty (15 total for 41 minutes against UA) was called. After UA dug their own hole, they were able to pull themselves out of it. Granted, Windsor had a few chances, but they shut the door quick enough to keep it out of the net. I'm not one to appreciate a hockey game turn to a boxing match, and I'm not gonna put anyone down for it, but the guys responded to Windsor's tough play, and handled themselves. That said, they wound up put a lot of pressure on their special teams to perform, and they did. Windsor wasn't able to really get many quality chances with the man advantage, but they really didn't get any angles, since our guys moved faster than their passes... Our speed and their offensive zone mistakes set up 4 or 5 short handed chances, including a 2 on 1 that came up just short.


Sather gets the first Nanook goal of the season.
That said, Coach Ferguson has put a very well rounded team on the ice this season. Our freshmen look like they will be very productive, and positive contributors to the team in all facets of the game. The guys worked very well together, more conducive to team play than a game of individuals. The guys cycled the puck very well in the offensive zone, held the puck in for what seemed like hours, very fast on the breakout, forechecking was great, backchecking was good (and I think that's what pissed off Windsor, aside from the score). Both Steve Thompson and Scott Greenham were great in net. Granted, they didn't really get tested, but after the 'Nooks went up 5-0 in the second, Thompson got his shot and kept the goose egg going.


Peto roofs one in, 4-0 'Nooks.
One thing I paid attention to tonight was line combinations. The top line of Sather-Yaremchuk-Taranto will be very interesting. Last season, Yaremchuk and Sather traded duties on the top line with Taranto and Dion Knelsen. Now that Dion has gotten his degree, the three remaining unite. With Yaremchuk centering that line, my only concern was faceoffs, and it didn't take long for that concern to settle. For the night, Nik was officially 15-7 on the draw, but he should have gotten the W for a few more of those but control went the other way. Absent from the lineup tonight was Justin Filzen, who lead in faceoff win percentage last season with over 70%. I've been curious where he will fit in the lineup this season, but I didn't get a chance to see that tonight. Anther notable line, which I believe is the second line was Peto centering for Kunyk and Beck. Both of the freshmen wingers were scoring machines in their respective junior leagues last year, and with Peto healthy, I would expect to see both of these top lines score some points. The other two lines that rolled tonight have strong potential too. Ronnie Meyers and Chad Gehon centered by Derek Klassen spells positive things here as well. Gehon and Klassen had some good chemistry towards the end of last season, same with Ronnie Meyers. The two hooked up on that goal in the Governor's cup series against ACC. You all know which goal I'm talking about too... where Gehon embarrased their poor captain, and got the pass to Meyers who buried the 'Nooks 2nd (of 7) goal of the night. Anyway, getting sidetracked, there is some pre-existing chemistry here that produced an even strength goal tonight.


Finucci's Shorthanded Goal. 8-0
Speaking of goals, Alaska got 9 of them tonight. There is no way in hell I can recap them all, but both Yaremchuk and Kunyk officially lit the lamp twice. I thought Yaremchuk's second belonged to Sather (which would have been his second), but was a close call either way. Kunyk's second of the night was a thing of beauty. Beck catching a rebound, and Kunyk getting a shot in, and followed his rebound through for the score, that was a spectacular play. Gehon's goal came on the rush with a very accurate shot through traffic over the blocker side. A goal that makes me wish we had cameras in the nets. Carlo Finucci put up a shorthanded goal towards the end of the third period on a developing play, set up by Beck and Kunyk. It was right at the tail end of their last shorthanded endeavor, so after getting close quite a few times, punching a shorthanded tally on the board on top of everything else is satisfying.


Well with that said, take a look at the box score from tonight's bout. You can definitely see how the penalties shaped out.

The Windsor Lancers will take on UAA on Saturday in my old stomping grounds in Soldotna, which should be an interesting match. Anchorage has historically been a very physical team, so I'm pretty sure Windsor will be up to it. I might actually tune in for it...

Photos by mmf. Check out more awesome photos at mmf's online gallery.