Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nanooks Drop a Heartbreaker to Michigan 1-0 in OT



The Nanooks came out seemingly content to play containment and try to wait for their chances. Unfortunately, a bad breakout coupled with bad outlet passing led to Michigan maintaining possession during the forecheck and skating it right back in. Fortunately, Greenham stayed very sharp. Unfortunately, it seemed to be Greenham hunting season out there for Michigan. Time after time, Greenham was getting knocked around, or otherwise hit. I guess the refs just didn't see it.

The non-calls continued in the 2nd, but the Nanooks stayed strong and played hard. Penalties kept getting called on UA, but not the other way, despite clear offenses occurring. The clear advantage going to UM. I'm not saying the calls that were made were bad, it's the no calls that created an imbalance. In Michigans favor. All I wish for is a fair game.

Obviously as a result, Michigan had some great chances, but Greenham being on his A game is gonna need a bit more than a good chance. Greenham just kept the door shut.

The 3rd went the same way, but the calls were at least balanced. A couple of calls to Michigan helped get the Nanooks going, especially with the late power play after Justin Filzen took a hard hit into the boards. He appeared alright, but always a nail buyer when someone goes down.

Overtime was a buzz kill though. Just 57 seconds in, Alex Guptill takes the puck away, and gets the shot off what appeared to be Scott Enders and in the net.

A bit of a tough loss, but all I was saying at the very end of the game was you can't be afraid to lose. The guys seemed to shell up and play a bit frazzled. Greenham played a fantastic game, should have been the first star with 40+ saves. The Nanooks had some good chances thought the game, but continued to miss the second and third chances as Michigan collapsed down. A great hockey game, but I hate to see them miss this one given their run. But ya can't win them all. Coming away with 12 of the last 18 points is still a good run.

Now, we get to settle in for a good break, get some of the guys that are a little banged up back and on the ice. I'm gonna take a little time off, but I'll be sure to get you a recruit update, and some looks at former Nanooks in the pros.

Lines for Saturday

Here are the lines for tonight.

Alaska Nanooks

F1 Colton Beck - Cody Kunyk - Andy Taranto
F2 Nik Yaremchuk - Adam Henderson - Carlo Finucci
F3 Chad Gehon - Justin Filzen - Ron Meyers
F4 Nolan Youngmun - Matt Gates - Robert Monfore
D1 Michael Quinn - Aaron Gens
D2 Justin Tateson - Scott Enders
D3 Kaare Odegard - Trevor Campbell
G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Steve Thompson

Michigan Wolverines

F1 Kevin Lynch -Travis Lynch - Luke Glendening
F2 Alex Guptill - David Wohlberg - Chris Brown
F3 Phil Di Giuseppe - A.J. Treais - Derek DeBlois
F4 Lindsay Sparks - Zach Hyman - Luke Moffatt

D1 Mac Bennett - Greg Pateryn
D2 Kevin Clare - Mike Chiasson
D3 Lee Moffie - Brennan Serville

G1 Shawn Hunwick
G2 Adam Janecyk

Game Day Saturday - Pedal to the Metal

Game Day Central
Live Internet Video (AmericaOne - $7)
Live Internet Audio (ESPN 820 AM/820sports.com)
Live Stats (alaskananooks.com - free)
Twitter (@NanookHockey)

After last night, the Nanooks need to keep the throttle down and play for the full 60 minutes. As the game wore on, it appeared that the Nanooks got quite comfortable with their lead and left the door open for Michigan a few times. Let's hope they can keep it wide open, and break the game wide open tonight.

From last night, even though I touched on his goal, I kind of want to put the spotlight a bit on Michael Quinn. You don't really get to hear his name much, especially since last night was just the 2nd goal of his career, but as a defensive defenseman, he's as good as they come. If you watched the game, I'm sure you saw quite a few plays where Quinn was able to shake a Michigan player when he's backed up in the defensive zone with nobody around. His positioning along the wall would typically favor the forechecking player, but Quinn's agility and stick skills just embarrassed guys like Travis Lynch and AJ Treais who challenged him. Tonight is going to be the defensemen making the headlines stopping a pissed off Michigan offense. Bring it on.

Another tidbit, the two goals scored by Quinn and Beck were tallied 7 seconds apart (8:31 and 8:38 of the 2nd period), breaking the previous Nanooks record of 8 seconds set by Ryan McLeod  in the 2004-05 season CCHA playoffs at Bowling Green. McLeod scored at 5 seconds and then 13 seconds of the 1st period. McLeod still holds the record for fastest 2 goals by a single player but Quinn's and Beck's pair are now engraved in the Nanooks' record books.

Check back here a bit later for the lines for game two.

Friday, December 2, 2011

(UPDATED) Nanooks Keep Rolling With a 4-3 Win Over Michigan


Both teams came out of the chute ready to play, but the Wolverines jumped out to the early 1-0 lead on the 1st shot of the game. It was really like 3 shots, but it's only going to count as one. Di Giusseppe stationed on the back doorstep when a shot came down from Brennan Serville, and after about 3 whacks at it, Phil was able to get it over Greenham's blocker. Kind of a heartbreaker, but it really got the Nanooks offense fired up.

Game Day Friday - Taking a Bite Out of the Wolverines

Game Day Central
Live Internet Video (AmericaOne - $7)
Live Internet Audio (ESPN 820 AM/820sports.com - Free)
Live Stats (alaskananooks.com - Free)
Twitter (@NanookHockey - My commentary and updates live)
Well, as we get set to go here at the rink, the Nanooks know they have to work to keep Michigan down. They aren't one of the top scoring teams for nothing. The defense has to stop them, and the offense has to score just one more goal than they do. Seems obvious and simple, I know, but that's the story this week. The 'Nooks have all of the right things in place to do win, its just a matter of digging deep and playing for all 60 minutes. Greenham has to stay sharp, he knows that. And with his performance this past weekend, I'm expecting to see some points coming our way out of this series.

A bit of a difference in the lines for tonight. Notably absent is Jarret Granberg with the injury suffered against Bowling Green. With Odegard back from last week, and the centers moving up the chart to fill in fill the role left by Granberg, Nanooks walk on Robert Monfore will play right wing on the 4th line tonight along side Nolan Youngmun, centered by Matt Gates. Filzen will move to the 3rd line, and Henderson will center the 2nd line. Monfore didn't so much as touch the ice last time around, time will tell if he'll see a shift or two tonight. 


Some more good news though, we should see Max Dumond hit the ice to start the second half of the season. The freshman had some pretty impressive marks in his junior career before arriving in Fairbanks before being sidelined the entire Fall semester due to injury. Getting him on the ice and in uniform is going to add some more scoring depth for sure. It'll be interesting to see how he adjusts to the college game, especially after being sidelined for so long. Good news though, he has the long holiday break to get back into shape

Don't forget, tonight is the Skate with the Nooks, and tomorrow is the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Check out the lines after the jump.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nanooks Look To Keep Rolling, and Over Michigan

I really don't like Michigan. If you've read my blog for long enough, this is nothing new.The best part is, the Wolverines are falling apart right now. After starting very well at 6-1-1, they have since gone 1-6-1 and have lost all of their last 4 games, which have all been at home. So much for a home ice advantage at Yost. A few weeks ago, fifth-year senior Shawn Hunwick found himself hitting the showers early after blowing his lid during a game against Northern Michigan in late October. He wasn't the only one as the story goes, they say Luke Moffat started the whole thing, but the story here was Hunwick erupting after getting nudged when Moffatt hunted Cherniwchan. Hunwick went flying, went raging and went home. Video of the event is here below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gens Rewarded, Greenham Snubbed in CCHA Weekly Awards

OK. I can't take anything away from Palmisano this weekend at Michigan State. He's a great goaltender, and he helped the Spartans to 2 pretty thrilling victories this weekend. But, contrary to that, he allowed 7 goals among those two wins, and at least 3 of those goals he probably should have had.

Seth Helgeson's goal in the Minnesota game was a pretty good example. He was in perfect position and had the angle to make the save, but he got beat high stick side.

Now one could make the argument that Greenham wasn't really tested this weekend, but at the same time, he hasn't allowed a goal in over 120 minutes. How can you not give him the goaltender of the week performance, CCHA? I know Alaska's record isn't as good, and Greenham's numbers haven't been as sharp as they have been or could be, but two back to back shutouts should say something. Palmisano did get nods as the first star both nights, but that doesn't carry a lot of weight in my opinion. I'm kinda curious to hear from someone who was at MSU's series this weekend. The camera work in all honesty was not very good from what I saw, and it didn't look like anything special from my point of view. Before someone tears my head off, I'd like to hear some rebuttal.

Aaron Gens got recognized for his 3 point weekend, and rightly so. He created at least two of those chances (I didn't get to see the second goal in Saturday's game in full as I had to board a plane) and had the secondary helper on the 2nd power play goal on Saturday. Gens has been playing really well lately, and his stick has really improved over the course of this season transitioning into a more offensive defenseman role since Sova left. Over the last few weeks, I think he's felt more confident coming down and helping out offensively. With the growth of guys like Justin Tateson and Trevor Campbell, and certainly with Michael Quinn and Kaare Odegard back in the lineup, and the always dependable Scott Enders he's got plenty of partners that are very solid defensively to slow things down a bit should the puck start going the other way.

That said, I guess I'm just irritated that Scottie didn't get the recognition that at least I thought he deserved. If you ask him about it, his always humble demeanor will tell you that it's all about the team, and getting the win. Sure, awards are superfluous, but they should compliment a good series performance. Like I said earlier, if Palmisano's performance was really out of this world, I'd like to hear from someone. Otherwise, I'm going with Greenham was snubbed.

Also, for what it's worth, Kevin Walrod went off in that first game against Minnesota. That shorty was pretty impressive.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Greenham Makes History As Nanooks Roll

The Nanooks are now 3-1 in their last 4, making a positive note on their way to a home series against the Michigan Wolverines to close out the first half of the season. Tonight's 2-0 victory marks the first series shutout sweep on the road in Nanook history, and just the second time that the Nanooks have posted back-to-back shutout performances under Dallas Ferguson's command with Scott Greenham between the pipes. A 5-0 blasting of UConn on October 11th in Anchorage for the Kendall Classic, and another 5-0 rout of Mercyhurst on October 17th in Fairbanks to open the Brice Alaska Goal Rush back in 2008, which was Greenham's freshman year.

That's also just the Nanooks' third series shutout sweep in program history. The first coming against the Korean national team in a series played back in 1983, and the other against UNO in 1999. Both of those series however came at home. Tonight also marked Greenham's 11th shutout of his collegiate career, but only 16 pucks made their way into Greenham's crease tonight as the defense in front of him really stifled the Falcon's offensive plans.

Game Day Saturday - Going Back for Seconds



Alaska (5-8-2, 2-7-2-0 CCHA) at Bowling Green (6-7-2, 1-7-1-1 CCHA)
DatesFriday-Saturday, Nov. 25-26
Times7:05 p.m. both nights
LocationBowling Green, Ohio | BGSU Ice Arena (5,000)  
TelevisionKFXF Fox 7 (Fairbanks) - BCSN (Ohio)
RadioUAF: KCBF 820 AM | BGSU: WBGU 88.1 FM
TicketsTicket Info 
Internet CoverageAmerica One Webcasts 
Social Media@nanookhockey | @bgathletics

Big win for Alaska last night. 3 more points are there for the taking tonight, but you know Bowling Green will be bringing their A game. Andrew Hammond knows he needs to be the rock in the back end of that defense, but Scott Greenham played very well. I don't know who got the 3 stars last night off hand, but my 3 would have been Taranto, Greenham, and Yaremchuk in that order. And those 3 will be a big part of tonight's game as well.

Check out the lines after the break.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Greenham's Goose Egg Propels Alaska to a 3-0 Victory Over Bowling Green

Scott Greenham extends the Nanooks shutout record to 10 games in his career, as his performance along with the scoring of Beck, Yaremchuk, and Taranto led the Nanooks to a dominating win. That also marks two back-to-back Friday night shutouts for the senior goaltender who has really stepped up his play after struggling early on.

Throughout this game tonight, the Nanooks' took control and maintained the pace and flow of play, and imposing their will in the offensive zone. Bowling Green showed quite a bit of resilience, and bounced back, but the power play goal late in the 2nd really took the flight out of the Falcons.

Game Day - Blue Friday



Alaska (5-8-2, 2-7-2-0 CCHA) at Bowling Green (6-7-2, 1-7-1-1 CCHA)
DatesFriday-Saturday, Nov. 25-26
Times7:05 p.m. both nights
LocationBowling Green, Ohio | BGSU Ice Arena (5,000)  
TelevisionKFXF Fox 7 (Fairbanks) - BCSN (Ohio)
RadioUAF: KCBF 820 AM | BGSU: WBGU 88.1 FM
TicketsTicket Info 
Internet CoverageAmerica One Webcasts 
Social Media@nanookhockey | @bgathletics
Yup, that's right, today is Blue Friday as the Nanooks look to tear the roof off of BGSU Ice Arena. The Nanooks are looking for 3 points tonight, and need to make a statement. Sorry Bowling Green, but you're in the way.

Check out the lines after the break.

On The Road Again

Not just for the Nanooks, but for me as well. Seems like I've travelled more than the team in the last few weeks. As I write this from my hotel room in central Oregon, the team is likely just finishing up with their morning pre-game skate. Should be close to perfect timing to watch the Red Wings game, then the Nanooks game near back-to-back.

But anyway, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. The team holiday was a bit short lived, as was coach Ferguson's birthday yesterday, but its back to business for this team tonight as they're looking to take two wins out of Bowling Green, Ohio.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Despite Superior Play, Nanooks Surrender a Split With a 3-2 Loss



Well the first period didn't exactly go as expected. The Nanooks clearly outplayed Ferris, but the Bulldogs got on the board twice with 2 very opportunistic shots.

Andy Huff made a pretty good play to steal the puck from Trevor Campbell and walked around him to get the score. Just 23 seconds later, right after I get done announcing the goal, Andy Taranto buries the equalizer. Honestly, I didn't even see it, but it couldn't have come at a better time. He was standing just in front of the crease as I looked over, so he had to have been down low.

A bit later in the period, Enders gets nabbed for interference and before he could even sit down, Aaron Schmit catches the Nanooks sleeping with a goal right off the face off. It's not that the 'Nooks were sleeping, Greenham just couldn't see the shot through the traffic in the circle and was just able to find the back of the net. I'll give him credit for the shot, it was pretty good.

The 'Nooks didn't care for it though, and they really picked it up, getting pucks and shots down low, but couldn't buy a goal off of CJ Motte the backup netminder that got the start over Nelson tonight.

Finally, the 'Nooks got the second one through, as Finucci found Yaremchuk who had a little trouble retaining the pass. Finally, he was able to get a pass off, spinning and putting it through the crease to find Grandberg breaking to the net to tie it at 2.

Unfortunately though, the unrelenting offensive pressure couldn't get through the Ferris State goaltender. As the game wore on, Ferris began gaining more and more offensive pressure and getting a few chances, albeit limited. One of them paid off, again shortly off the face off and Andy Huff buried his second of the game, Which was eventually the game winner.

Once it came down to the wire, the Nanooks with 6 skaters just could not hang on to the puck and set up. They kept throwing it down when they felt some pressure hoping to find an open guy, who was nowhere to be found.

Unfortunately, the Nanooks come away with a split. Ferris State was very fortunate however, as in every aspect but the scoreboard, they got outplayed tonight. The Nanooks hit the road to Bowling Green, who should be good preparation before returning to the Carlson Center to face a tough Michigan team.

Stay tuned for the recording of the post game press conference.

Game Day Saturday - Driving Momentum

Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:35 p.m. AKST

Alaska Nanooks vs. #6/6 Ferris State Bulldogs

As I said in my recap, we've got the momentum and the upper hand in this game. Capitalizing is going to be key tonight.

Following the injury to Nolan Kaiser last night, head coach Dallas Ferguson has activated newcomer Robert Monfore, a defenseman out of Wasilla who spent some time with the La Ronge Ice Wolves in the SJHL, as well as a brief stint here in town with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Robert was added as a bit of an emergency backup as injuries to Kaare Odegard and Cody Butcher have limited the Nanooks D to to 6 players, and just to think a few weeks ago, he was sitting in the student section. And now he's about to step on the ice for a Division I program for the first time. He'll be paired with Michael Quinn, who has been consistently one of our best stay at home defenseman on the blueline. Should be an interesting story to see develop.

Alaska

F1 Nik Yaremchuk - Jarret Granberg - Carlo Finucci
F2 Colton Beck - Cody Kunyk - Andy Taranto
F3 Chad Gehon - Adam Henderson - Ron Meyers
F4 Nolan Youngmun - Justin Filzen - Matt Gates

D1 Trevor Campbell - Aaron Gens
D2 Justin Tateson - Scott Enders
D3 Michael Quinn - Robert Monfore

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Steve Thompson
G3 Sean Cahill


Ferris State

F1 Garrett Thompson - Jordie Johnston - Matthew Kirzinger
F2 Kyle Bonis - Travis Ouellette - Aaron Schmit
F3 Derek Graham - Cory Kane - Nate Milam
F4 Andy Huff - Dominic Panetta - Justin DeMartino

D1 Chad Billins - Scott Czarnowczan
D2 Brett Wysopal - Jason Binkley
D3 Michael Trebish - Simon Denis

G1 Taylor Nelson
G2 CJ Motte

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bulldog Beatdown - Nanooks Win Their First in Style 2-0

Well, I felt pretty bad about not getting a preview or a pre-game post up with all of the info like I normally do. Hockey superstition would dictate that I don't write either of them again, but we'll just have to see how that goes.

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, but with the harsh temperatures, power and internet connectivity has been somewhat sparse. So far this morning, so good...

But to the game from last night, the Nanooks really came out swinging hard. They had some solid passing in the first stanza, and they were really crashing the net hard. In fact, 6 of their first 10 shots came within just a few feet of the crease.

While the Nanooks were able to keep play tight, and maintain possession. Eventually it paid off, and Colton Beck got one past Nelson on about the 3rd rebound chance. Kunyk and Finucci each got chances in tight, but the second popped toward the right post and Beck was able to bang it in I believe they call them garbage goals, which is exactly what we need be doing, cleaning up the garbage.

Conversely, the Nanooks D was doing a stout job of cleaning out the garbage at the other end to keep the Bulldogs off the board for the first 40 minutes. "We've really been focusing on taking sticks and bodies in front of the net. And when they were really crashing the net, all 5 of our guys did a really good job of coming down and taking sticks" said freshman defenseman Trevor Campbell during the post game press conference when asked about strategy to prevent chances.

Speaking of defensemen, Aaron Gens had a golden chance go off the right post during the second period. He was set up with a glorious feed, and just missed it as it gleaned off the pipe. He had Nelson beat the entire way, too. Ferris State got tighter at the point and really prevented the defensemen from pinching down as the game wore on, because they knew that Gens wouldn't miss that shot the second time.

Finucci drove the nail in the coffin there in the 3rd period as Yaremchuk threw the puck into an open area. Finucci did a great job reading it, and beat the charging defenders to the puck, which gave him the middle lane to himself. His wrister beat Nelson high stick-side for the seal.

What a game for Greenham too. In a game where they were outshot, the 'Nooks did a great job coming up big in front of Scottie tonight. As Trevor said, they collapsed down, and did a good job taking sticks and bodies and got the trash out of the way. In the few chances that Ferris State legitimately had, Greenham stood tall and made the big save when he needed to. And as a result, they put up the goose egg. Not to take anything away from anyone, but it wasn't that much different than the games that the Nanooks have lost this year, they were just more consistent this evening and didn't get caught out of position. Ferris State clearly did their scouting report and did what they could running around the back of the net and constantly cycling. In previous games, the Nanooks were caught chasing, but they did a great job of staying and not giving up their position.

Although we didn't capitalize, the power play is also looking a lot better. A lot more motion, and a lot better passing. We generated one chance on our lone power play, but they weren't able to regain control of the puck to keep it going. But conversely, Ferris State doesn't have the best penalty kill for nothing, either.

Tonight, they need to carry the momentum in and hope to come out with a sweep. With an effort like last night, I wouldn't expect anything less than 3 points. They just need to keep the pedal to the metal even when they have the lead. I thought they started to get comfortable last night, and started to lay back. Let's hope this is just the beginning of great hockey. And hey, the 'Nooks are no longer last in the CCHA!

Listen to the Post Game Press Conference

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Notre Dame Rallys Again, Takes It 3-2 in OT

Well the short of it is, they lost another lead. The Nanooks took control of the game early on in the 3rd period, but couldn't hang on as TJ Tynan tied it up. And Maday got the game winner in OT. We are turning into a lot like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole...

Game Day Saturday

Well, an unfortunate outcome to an otherwise entertaining game (to say the least). Tonight, in an attempt to shake things up a bit, Coach Ferguson has given Steve Thompson the start, his first since starting in the Brice Alaska Goal Rush against Mercyhurst, allowing two goals. He'll get a second shot tonight against a high-powered Notre Dame offense. Contrasting last night, Summerhays is listed first on the line chart again, but should actually get the start tonight after stopping all 16 shots he saw from the Nanooks last night.

Honestly, I really think we can really beat this team. We stuck with them the entire way and had a quite a few chances to win it. Some better work on the defensive side should help solidify a winning chance.

Good to see Taranto back on the ice tonight after that unfortunate technical suspension. With Garrick Perry, yet another forward now injured (I'm still not sure what the official word is yet), our roster is looking a little depleted after that.

But anyhow, here are tonight's lines. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@NanookHockey) for all live in-game updates.

Saturday's Pre-game Skate

A lot of good energy this morning was on display at the rink here in South Bend. I think the guys were a little emotionally deflated after losing that game in the final minute, but it appears that the confidence is back as the guys were making some pretty good plays happening in the brief 30 minute skate this morning.

I'm also glad to see and meet the Perry and the Campbell families in town to see their sons play. I know the Meyers are here as well, as their contingent took up residence just behind the Nanooks bench for the game last night.

Below are quite a few pictures, and a few videos of the drills from practice this morning, be sure to check them out after the jump. I left them in a low resolution since there are a bunch of them.  Just click the image to enlarge it. Videos are also available in full 1080p HD. Don't forget, tonight's game starts at 5:05PM, not 7:05PM courtesy of the Notre Dame football game going on later. So the start time if you're back in Fairbanks is 1:05PM

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kunyk's Hatty Not Enough, Nanooks Fall 5-4

From a fan's perspective, not a bad game to watch. The Nanooks were in it, and they were scoring, something that hasn't been seen as of late. And wow, what a first period. The Nanooks went up 2-0 in a hurry with goals from Cody Kunyk and Jarret Granberg. Kunyk took one hell of a shot from a sharp angle on a feed across the crease from Beck. And just 21 seconds later, Jarret Granberg hooked up with Nik Yaremchuk on a perfect demonstration of what speed and solid passing gets you. A solid scoring chance by forcing the defender to try to make desperation moves to stop you. And with a shot like Granberg's, it was like taking candy from a baby.

Game Day Friday - Nanooks and Irish

Tonight, the Nanooks play for the first time in Notre Dame's new digs here in South Bend. And like you saw in the photos, this place is nice. But the guys are going to have to block out all of the glitz and glamour and get to playing Nanook Hockey. Some good line audibles with Andy Taranto sitting this one out due to the game DQ last week, and Notre Dame electing to go with Steven Summerhays between the pipes tonight could make for an interesting evening. Check out the full lines for tonight after the break.

Gearing Up for Nanook Hockey Against the Irish


I rolled into town at about 11AM this morning and hit up the rink and got a bit of a tour of the visiting locker room. This place really is something else. There will be more info as we get closer, but I did want to share a few photos with you. Check 'em out after the break.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nanooks Visit the New Castle of the Hunchbacks From Notre Dame

OK, so I guess the hunchbacks mantra is a bit overused, and a little too obvious. Nonetheless, I hear Notre Dame's new facility is quite impressive, and I'm quite excited to see it for myself. I'm writing this post from the airport in Fairbanks as I await to catch the flight to Anchorage in a little over an hour. After that, its a long shot to Chicago direct before picking up the rental car and taking the drive over to South Bend. Should be there around 11AM tomorrow local time, right as the guys are getting ready to wrap up their morning skate. Should be quite interesting.

Also, another side note , the Ice Dogs announced via their Facebook page that local forward Alec Hajdukovich has committed to play at UAF next year. Should be interesting to see what Coach Ferguson has in store for the famous Fairbanks/local line, as the trio of Hajdukovich and other Nanooks commits Taylor Munson and Jared Linnell bring to the program. The three of them had some pretty impressive chemistry going, and I'm intrigued to see the production coming into their rookie season at the Division I level.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Enough is Enough

Fair warning, this is not going to be a typical game recap. If that's what you're expecting, I apologize but this needs to be said. I'm not going to sugar coat this any more. I've done that enough thus far, but like everything else, there's a breaking point.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Game Day - Remember, Remember the 5th of November

Well, after last night there isn't a whole lot that needs to be said except that we need a win today. Nothing less.

But anyhow, without further ado, here are the lines for tonight. No real change for the Nanooks, except Younger coming in place of Gator. One line change for Miami.

Miami Redhawks

F1 Alex Wideman - Max Cook - Patrick Tiesling
F2 Blake Coleman - Trent Vogelhuber - Jimmy Mullin
F3 Bryon Paulazzo - Alden Hirschfeld - Tyler Biggs
F4 Reilly Smith - Austin Czarnik - Curtis McKenzie

D1 Will Weber - Chris Wideman
D2 Cameron Schilling - Steven Spinell
D3 Garret Kennedy - Joe Hartman

G1 Cody Reichard
G2 Connor Knapp

Alaska Nanooks

F1 Nik Yaremchuk - Jarret Granberg - Ron Meyers
F2 Chad Gehon - Cody Kunyk - Andy Taranto
F3 Colton Beck - Adam Henderson - Carlo Finucci
F4 Garrick Perry - Justin Filzen - Nolan Youngmun

D1 Michael Quinn - Aaron Gens
D2 Justin Tateson - Scott Enders
D3 Kaare Odegard - Trevor Campbell

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Sean Cahill

Scenes From the Rink

Here are a few shots that I wanted to share from the game last night. Thanks to mmf for sharing these gems. To check out the rest, visit his gallery.




Friday, November 4, 2011

RedHawks, Reichard Hold Off the Nanooks 2-1

Despite the outcome, I will say that probably the most entertaining moment of the game was Garrett Kennedy and Ron Meyers getting their helmets stuck together on the face off. It was a repeated highlight on the Kiss Cam and at other times throughout the night. Just a classic, I hope that makes it in Ronnies send off video at the end of the season, but I digress.

After the first puck drop, a seemingly defensive battle ensued. Miami wound up out shooting the Nanooks, but a lot of shots came in from the outside. Miami was able to control the play, but the Nanooks d-men really played well in front of Greenham, only allowing a goal that kind of popped up into the air and got put in by Alden Hirschfeld. Solid play by both sides, but Miami really got on their back checking game and just did not let the Nanooks get up the ice.

The Nanooks really got after it in the 2nd, massively outshooting 14-5 during the stanza. Colton Beck notched the first tally for the 'Nooks, unassisted with a great steal and score on Reichard's infamous stick side to tie it at 1-1, but about a minute later, Reilly Smith snuck a wrister just over Greenham's glove. Becker almost got another one too, but just missed wide on an odd man rush. Cody Kunyk had a great steal as well while shorthanded with Andy Taranto but the two just missed the connection.


While the final was 2-1 in Miami's favor, the Nanooks did not go down without a fight. They put pressure on Reichard left and right, and he stood tall. I guess I jumped the gun with my pre-game assertion that Reichard was pretty much a sieve. With about 1:19 left and all of the momentum, head coach Dallas Ferguson pulled Greenham for the 6th skater and sent the crowd on an emotional roller coaster.

A sad night for the Nanooks as they let another game slip away, but they played fairly well at even strength. I'd expect them to attack the net quicker and get a faster start out of the gate. Tomorrows game, same bat time, same bat place.

Game Day Friday - Seeking Redemption

With both of tonight's teams occupying the bottom two spots in the CCHA standings, its no secret that both of these teams are going to be chasing 6 points. They need to. At least as of this writing, Western Michigan was leading 3-2 with not a lot of time left in the 3rd, which should put them in sole possession of 2nd place with Lake State playing out of conference this weekend. Always an exciting weekend for college hockey.

On to this actual series, Miami has yet to earn a point in the CCHA. Currently standing at 2-6-0 right now, the RedHawks are clearly not looking like the Miami team of old. Seeing which team comes on the ice tonight will be an interesting. Since I didn't actually write a preview like the horrible blogger that I am, at least let me tell you a little bit about this team.

Backstopped by a traditional powerhouse goalie tandem, Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp have just not performed to the same level as they did a year ago. While struggling with goaltending consistency, their offense has yet to find a rhythm after the loss of scoring monsters Carter Camper and Andy Miele. Reilly Smith is certainly still present, but his point totals have not been what it was 8 games into last year (5 versus 13).

Their blueline is just as stout as it has been in years past, as its filled with juniors and seniors, while working in a freshmen or two.

On the Nanooks side, I am really glad to see Michael Quinn back on defense tonight. Paired up with Aaron Gens should make for a real solid night on defense. And hopefully getting him back will add a spark to the team.

Speaking of spark, the Nanooks lines have been shifted around quite a bit. Beck and Finucci are centered by Adam Henderson, which should add some real strength to that line. Henderson has a lot of potential, and hes a great center. Faceoffs have been lacking a bit, but he's becoming a bit of a playmaker, even if his stats don't really show it. Gehon and Taranto are centered by Kunyk, which this might be my favorite line ever. If Gehon's stick is as good as it has been, he should really be able to help Kunyk and Taranto get back to their scoring potential. I'd be interested to see if Gehon makes a transition to the center spot and get Kunyk back to his familiar wing. Yaremchuk and Meyers are also paired together on the wings with Granberg in that top line. Meyers, Granberg, and Yaremchuk have all been paired together once again after having some great chemistry last season. I'd be interested to see if they can get it going again.

But anyhow, without further ado, here are the lines for tonight.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Humbling Experience - 2 Points in 2 Weeks

Sorry for the late post, the Thursday-Friday game gave me an opportunity to jump on a plane and go enjoy the warmth and the outdoors in south-central Alaska while it was still here. So please forgive me for the untimeliness and brevity of this post.

The first game was thrilling for me both as a Nanooks fan, and just as a fan of the game of hockey. Knowing that in a 0-0 game, bounces can go in any way, and one bounce can dictate the outcome of the game. That moment when a scoring chance is developing, and you slide forward in your seat in anticipation, and subsequently hearing the ping when it hits the post, that is what I love. That game was filled with several of those moments. The second game, not so much...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Game Day - Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

Game Info 
Live Audio: 820 Sports (Free) 
($10/month subscription covers both games) 
Live Stats: OSU GameTracker 
Twitter: @NanookHockey

After yesterday's game, a win seems even more crucial now than it did yesterday as the conference leaders are pulling away while the Nanooks still search for their first win in the conference. It's kind of unfortunate too, especially when you consider how much the Nanooks outshot and outplayed the Buckeyes yesterday in the latter parts of the game. You've got to give Cal Heeter credit. For a goaltender who's never beaten the Nanooks, he sure played like he wanted to. We'll have to keep the pressure on him again tonight, start digging for those 2nd and 3rd chances at the puck and get them to the back of the net.

I haven't received lines yet for Ohio State, but here's the line chart for Alaska.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Game Day - Buckeye Beatdown

Game Info
Live Audio: 820 Sports (Free)
($10/month subscription covers both games)
Live Stats: OSU GameTracker
Twitter: @NanookHockey

These Thursday games are a rarity, and they are really screwing with my schedule. I can't imagine what the players are feeling like. I'll bet though that they are looking forward to having a weekend off, save for travel. I pretty much covered everything from the scouting report posted earlier today. So, without further ado, here's the lines.

Scouting Ohio State

Bench boss Mark Osiecki came to Ohio State last season, bringing with him a renewed energy to the program, and a shot at success. After a so-so first year, posting a 15-18-4 overall record, Mark has brought in 12 new freshmen to renew that spirit and drive in the team. And so far, it seems to be paying dividends as Osiecki's Buckeyes sit in 2nd place in the conference this early in the season.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nanooks Rally to Tie WMU 2-2

Wow. Yet another horribly officiated game. I can not believe that someone else didn't see the same game that I did. I have a feeling that someone will be receiving a letter later this week to this effect. Seriously, you can't lower your shoulder and run our goalie without getting a penalty. Trevor Elias, I'm looking at you. That was a dirty play and everyone that saw it knows it. I can not fathom what the officials saw that made them decide not to call it. That deserves a second look, and I hope repercussions follow. That hit was blatant, and with clear intent to injure. Just classless.

You also can't take shots at Andy Taranto's head while he's down on the ice, and rip his helmet off without a contact to the head penalty. I don't understand that no call either. Now I'm not sure who actually did it, but contact to the head is a pretty well defined offense. I know a lot of it is new verbiage and such, but it doesn't get clearer than that. Good on Andy for not retaliating, that shows quite a bit of poise. Had that have been me down there, that might have been my last game for a while as I would have come up swinging.

On that note, unfortunately Ben Warda might have seen the ice for the last time for the next few months. Going hard behind the net and something happened with the planting of his foot, and he twisted awkwardly and went down. I believe the official disclosure will be something like "severe lower body injury", but he clearly broke something. It doesn't look good.

As far as the actual game goes, I thought the Nanooks actually played well for most of the night, despite playing short handed for approximately 1/3rd of it. They responded well in the face of adversity and coming back to tie the game after being down 2-0. Yaremchuk and Taranto had 2 solid goals. Yaremchuk almost had another one early on that was millimeters from crossing the goal line, hitting the inside of the post. The horn went off and all of that, but the puck didn't cross the goal line. After going to a video review, it was right there but no goal.

After overtime, the shootout did not go the Nanooks way. The initial goal by Beck was a good one, but Slubowski stood tall in goal for the Broncos. After seeing him play tonight, I suspect he'll start getting the bulk of the starts for WMU along the way this season. He's a phenomenal goalie. Definitely one to keep an eye on. I'm also going to have to suggest that Frank's nickname be established as The Big sLubowski. Or just "The Dude" for short.

The Nanooks have a short week to get ready for Ohio State. The team leaves Monday night for Columbus to get ready for a Thursday-Friday series at Nationwide Arena. They moved the games back to avoid conflict with a big football matchup between Wisconsin and the Buckeyes in the 'Shoe. I'd be interested to hear if any players take advantage of that and get to go to that game. That would be a pretty cool experience to be in one of the largest stadiums in the US packed with 100K+ people. I'd jump on that. Until then, I'll keep you posted on any further developments with followups from this game.

Also a big thanks and shoutout to all of the parents who made it up for parents weekend. Not the greatest result, but a fun weekend to say hi get to know a lot of you. I know I missed a lot of you as well, but there's only so much time! I look forward to meeting a lot more of you as the season goes on. As always, feel free to send me an email! Just click the link to the right and drop me a line!

UPDATE: The Post-game Press Conference is now up. For those of you who seem to be misinformed about what happened, feel free to fast forward to 4:30. For those of you who still choose to live with the blinds closed, don't worry I will try to get video for you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Game Day Saturday - Resetting for Redemption

 Game Info
Live Video: AmericaOne
Live Audio: KCBF 820
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter: @NanookHockey 
Coach Ferguson proclaimed that the focus after last night was to reset and come back focused on 60 minutes. And no I'm not talking about the news show. Last night was not a great showing of Nanooks hockey, but there were some shining moments after taking a look at the stat sheet. For example, the Nanooks dominated the faceoff circles going 45-28, led by Justin Filzen 14-5 record. Filzen was the faceoff leader two years ago under Derek Klassen's captaincy before losing some significant playing time last season. Glad to see him get back to that level.

After last night, the lines remain nearly the same. After dropping Matt Gates from the lineup as a game time decision last night, Gator will get in the lineup tonight replacing Garrick Perry at the right wing spot on the 4th line. Trevor Campbell will also get the go for tonight after many suspected that he wouldn't after that costly penalty in the third period last night. The truth is, the Nanooks are down to six defensemen with veterans Michael Quinn and Cody Butcher sidelined due to injury. So not much of a choice there either way. I've stated already that I didn't think his hit had any bad intentions, and I'm glad that coach Ferguson didn't have to take any extreme measures to swap around players.

On the Western side of the ice, head coach Andy Murray has elected to swap goaltenders going with freshman Frank Slubowski who has yet to allow a goal in his collegiate career. Mind you his only game was against Alabama-Huntsville, but still an impressive stat. Also Dennis Brown will sit in favor of newcomer Matt Stewart on the blueline.

Without further ado, here are the full line charts...

The Snowball Effect: WMU Defeats Nanooks 4-1

Tonight seemed to be one of those situations where you get to the top of the hill quickly, and then the snowball starts to roll and get bigger and bigger until it eventually crushes something at the bottom. I will say though, that before I get any farther with this, the officiating in this game was about as bad as the Boston Red Sox this year.  Honestly, who call minor penalties to BOTH teams for too many men on the ice when the puck doesn't even touch anyone as it glances by the bench?  Also, Ronnie Meyers' breakaway that was eventually nullified was NOT offsides. I was right there on the line, he was on sides all the way. But anyway, I digress...

In the first period though, the Nanooks held their own, and capitalized on a chance as Granberg came out of the box (on a crap call, mind you) and perching his stick on the net mouth and buried a feed from behind the net courtesy of Carlo Finucci. Boom. Up 1-0. And from there on, the Nanooks seemed somewhat in control of the flow of the game. Of which didn't last too long

After the period ended though, that's where the snowball started to roll down the hill. Into the second period, the Broncos didn't take but 2 minutes to knot the game up with Ben Warda nabbing a goal. Visualize the snowball start to roll. Once the game started to go on, Western started to control the play by their strong extended possessions, and their controlled forechecking and backchecking.

With that snowball continuing to roll, the Nanooks really started to skate a little flat. They seemed to really have lost a lot of their drive after Western scored the tying goal, and before you knew it, the Broncos popped in two more before the end of the second period. That snowball is pretty massive and rolling pretty fast by now.

At the bottom of the hill, about half way through the 3rd period, the Broncos scored goal number 4 just as that mythical snowball crashed at the bottom of the hill.  The goal came after Nanooks freshman defenseman Trevor Campbell took an unfortunate penalty that found him hitting the showers early. In an unfortunate series of events, Trevor checked a player tight who appeared to lose his footing. As he fell, Trevor's momentum continued to drive his opponent into the boards from behind. I'm not 100% convinced that it was purely intentional. I know Trevor has some hard hits to his credit, but I don't think he intended for that hit to happen like that. And as a result, both he and his team paid for it. Listening to the post-game press conference afterwards (I wasn't able to attend this time around...) you could tell that Coach Ferguson was not happy in the slightest about that penalty.

The Nanooks almost got some good scoring chances off of it though, too. But eventually WMU was able to generate a shot, and they were able to get one through to net the final goal of the game.

Coach Ferguson went on record to say that he wasn't happy with how his team responded to adversity tonight. However, this proves to be a good learning opportunity here early in the season for a lot of the new guys to learn from. Tomorrow, look for the guys to rebound, and look for vengeance. If you're a Western fan, expect tomorrow's game to have a much different result.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Game Day Friday - Points on the Line

Great showing at the coach's luncheon earlier this afternoon. Good comments from both coach's and good responses from Western head coach Andy Murray to the onslaught of questions. His experience should really bode well for this Broncos team.

I was really impressed with their skating on Wednesday. As I said in my post, I really respect this team and I think our rosters match up very well. Should be an interesting series.

Game Info
Carlson Center, Fairbanks AK
Western Michigan Broncos vs. Alaska Nanooks
Live Radio: 820sports.com
Live Video: AmericaOne.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter: @NanookHockey

Without further ado, here's the lines for tonight's game.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scouting the Broncos

If there is any team out there that I had to say matched the Nanooks, it's Western Michigan. They've got a roster full of talented upper-classmen, and nine freshmen primed to make an impact for the Broncos this season.

Junior goaltender Nick Pisellini returns to his spot between the pipes, so far going 1-0-2 backstopping a blowout, and two back-to-back ties against a talented team in Union. Last season, the Nanooks clashed with WMU right out of the holiday break and caught a fresh and hot Jerry Kuhn in net after Pisellini found himself sidelined due to injury.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nanooks Win Card Game, Defeat UNO 4-1

I was wondering how UNO would respond after taking one on the chin Friday night against UAA. They definitely played more aggresively, but I think their young roster just weren't able to keep pace with the depth on the Nanooks bench.

That was pretty apparent when Colton Beck was left unchallenged at the front of the net, and if you give a guy like him any room chances are you're gonna pay for it. And that's exactly what happened. Taranto found Beck in front, and Beck got a shot on Massa, but he made a good save but left a juicy rebound and Beck had no problem finding twine. Too bad he can't get a goal AND an assist on the same score line, but Taranto and Gens were equally deserving.

Less than a minute into the 2nd, Aaron Gens took a tripping penalty but as it was winding down, Nik Yaremchuk made the shot of his life. That rising slapshot from just inside the blue line very easily was the goal of the tournament. Watching it from the booth down on the ice was just unreal. Given the location of the shot, and the lack of traffic in front of him, I'm surprised that the goalie didn't get the save, but watching the replay that puck just barely snuck in under the crossbar just over the goalie's left shoulder. But it was just a great opportunity. That's what he had there tonight. That's what he earned there tonight. Hell, if he takes that shot 10 times, he might miss 9. But not that shot. Not tonight...

Anyway, props last night went to Meyers and Thompson. Tonight, props go to Nolan Youngmun for his first collegiate goal. Younger picked off a pass in the neutral zone and had a 2 on 1 chance with Adam Henderson in toe.  Nolan looked for the pass but hit the defender's skate and right to the back of the net. Great play by the freshman from Anchorage.

I also have to retroactively give props, last night Garrick Perry scored his first goal, also unassisted. I recapped it, but didn't throw in the fact that it was his first collegiate goal! Sorry!

Colton Beck capitalized on a turnover in the Nanooks offensive zone, and Massa didn't even have a chance. A quick stick plus high shot equalled goal number 4. Easy equation, really. Unfortunately, the math for the tournament win isn't quite as easy. ACC scored 9 goals, Nanooks scored 9 goals. However, UAA was a +7 in goal differential, the Nanooks were +6. So, the hardware gets to live in Anchorage, but congrats to them. Seriously. I thought they played a great couple of games, and they look like a pretty good team. Should be pretty interesting to follow them this season and see how things pan out come February.
----------
EDIT: So this new Blogger format is really starting to aggravate me. I somehow turned on some approval type of process, and this post got stuck Saturday night. I went to look for comments tonight and starting freaking out about what happened to the post. Sorry for getting this out late. At least I know where to check now.





Saturday, October 15, 2011

Game Day - Nanooks Versus Mavericks

Saturday, October 15
4:05 p.m.    Alaska Anchorage Seawolves vs. Mercyhurst Lakers
                    Live Video    Live Stats    Live Radio
7:05 p.m.    Alaska Nanooks vs. #15/16 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks
                    Live Video    Live Stats    Live Radio

Television

Fairbanks (KXFX Fox 7) - Tape delayed
Alaska vs. Mercyhurst, Friday at 11 p.m. AKDT
Alaska vs. Nebraska-Omaha, Sunday at 4 p.m. AKDT

Anchorage (GCI Channel 1) - Live
Alaska Anchorage vs. Nebraska-Omaha at 5 p.m. AKDT
Alaska Anchorage vs. Mercyhurst at 4 p.m. AKDT

After a first night win, the Nanooks are looking to pick up the pace and drive the nails into UNO's coffin. After watching the game between UAA and UNO, I expect this game to get pretty physical, and a much quicker pace than the Nanooks played last night, which is exactly what coach Meisner alluded to in the post game presser.

I can't imagine that UNO is too happy about their goose egg against ACC last night, either. However, their main disadvantage is as clear as their roster; 15 of the 20 players dressed for UNO are either Freshmen or Sophomores. Should be interesting to see how their experience, or lack thereof, will play into rebounding for game 2.

But anyway, here are the lines for both teams. No real change for UA, except that we'll see Greenham between the pipes. Other than that, same lines. As for UNO, John Faulkner isn't even dressed. Massa gets the start and Faulker will suit up in a shirt and tie and sit and enjoy the game from the crowd. I can't imagine Dean Blais is very happy with him after yesterday...

Nanooks Sink the Lakers 5-2

First off, a big tip of the hat to Steve Thompson and Ronnie Meyers tonight. Thompson got his first start in 2 years and came up big with the win. He looked quite solid throughout the game. He allowed a pair of goals, one which I thought I'm sure he'd like to have back. I'm glad that coach played him tonight, given the situation. I thought he played very well, had so great saves, directed pucks to the right areas off of shots. Good composure, he didn't get too frantic. He had a puck flip on him and took a funny bounce over his glove and between his legs and into the net. Don't worry too much about that one Steve, you're not the first goaltender to wear a Nanooks uniform and have that happen...


And to Ronnie, way to bury it buddy. Last year, Meyers came so close to a handful of shorthanded goals, yet never had the luck for the goal horn to follow the shot. Starting off his senior year, he's 1 for 1. Nice work, cowboy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Game Day - Nanooks Versus Mercyhurst

Sitting here in the announcers booth at ice level, watching the UAA game has gotten pretty interesting. The Seawolves were able to rattle John Faulkner's cage a bit, and they say scoring comes in bunches. Sure enough, UAA popped in 3 in about a span of 5 minutes.

Shifting focus to the Lakers, Tonight's game will be broadcast on the radio via 820am in Fairbanks, and online via the free www.820sports.com feed. I've been assured that the issues have worked themselves out, so we should be set to go there. You can also stream the video of the game from AmericaOne.com. It costs a few bucks to cover some of the operational costs The games will also hit Fairbanks airwaves on KFXF Fox 7 on a tape delay courtesy of the MLB playoffs...

Nanooks head coach Dallas Ferguson will start Steve Thompson in net tonight. Which is good, historically the Nanooks have dominated the Lakers in recent years, so if Steve-O can get his feet wet, and if he allows a goal or two, it shouldn't be a huge deal. But anyway, without further ado, here are the lines.

Ready for the Rush

This weekends tournament poses a a great opportunity for the Nanooks for two formidable opponents to challenge them before the start of conference play. I'm really glad that these tournaments exist at the start of our season, it makes it nice to go to Los Anchorage early while its still relatively warm in this state, just so I can get out of the town safely before people get desperate enough in the downtown areas that I have to worry about my own safety...

Safely back in Fairbanks, and with the arrival of the teams from Mercyhurst and Nebraska-Omaha, hockey is on tomorrow's agenda. And both of these teams pose a threat to recapturing the Goal Rush title.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nanooks Take Down Clarkson 3-1

Looking to rebound after the loss to St. Cloud, the Nanooks came to the Sullivan with a mission. Win. And win they did. In a game of tight checking and low scoring chances, the Nanooks prevailed in their first ever game against the Golden Knights of Clarkson University.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Game Day - Lines for Saturday

To win this game tonight, the Nanooks need to play mistake free. Turning pucks over and missed passes need to be eliminated, and let the systems go to work. They were working last night, for the most part, but Mike Lee wasn't giving anything up easy. Tonight, pucks and bodies need to get to the net and sticks need to be on the ice to put 'em in.

After last night's issues with the radio feed, The Voice will be broadcasting through Clarkson's online internet feed. Hopefully the kinks with 820AM's broadcast will get sorted out soon. Everyone involved apologizes to all of our listeners.

Some changes to the lines for game 2. Cody Butcher and Matt Gates will sit out, and Garrick Perry and Trevor Campbell will get the nod for game 2. Trevor Campbell has been a guy for me to watch. After seeing his speed in practice, I'm intrigued to see his speed in game. Garrick Perry is pretty much the same way. Should be an interesting story line there during tonight's.

Without further ado, here are the line charts for tonight's game.

Scenes from the Kendall Classic

Some good photos shared by a Nanooks fan, known online only as mmf. If you wish to check out more of his shots, see the link at the end to check out his gallery.

Nanooks Lose Tussle with St. Cloud in Game 1

Entering the arena, the energy in the air was apparent. With a new Nanooks team and a new season, everyone seemed anxious to hit the ground running. And nobody was about to let St. Cloud stand in the way of a 1-0 start. Except maybe St. Cloud...



In the first period, the Nanooks really started applying the body, and tried mightily to stamp the glass around the rink with the faces of the Huskies. I should have checked the glass after the game, but I'd say they did a pretty good job of that. No penalties out of any of that in the first 20 either, which is great and honestly quite surprising considering what followed. A lot of missed passes though as the period went on, but part of that can be accredited to good defense by St. Cloud, who did what they could to stifle the Nanooks' breakout. The other part was just a lack of familiarity and chemistry among line mates, something to be expected early on but somewhat excessive in my opinion.

In terms of scoring, St. Cloud capitalized on an opportunity after an extended Nanooks possession. It really was kind of a bummer after the Nanooks were taking it to St. Cloud in their zone. But their top line came back up the ice after a long shift and got bodies to the net, and Nic Dowd was able to get one off a rebound past Greenham, whose been quite sharp in the regular season opener. St. Cloud was able to get Greenham moving and occasionally out of position, but the D lines really helped him out.

The Nanooks were able to come right back and bury an answering goal a few minutes later, making the most of a power play chance as Nic Dowd sat two minutes for cross-checking. Aaron Gens is really they guy responsible for this one, carrying the puck into the offensive zone with authority and finding Cody Kunyk open on the wing. Aaron's puck possession here is really what sparked this play. He got close enough to the net to really get the defense drawn to him, and off of Cody who patiently waited open on the back door, waiting for a lane. Needless to say that once the pass came through, Cody had no problems finding the now-open net to tie the game.

The second period was quite a different dynamic as turnovers and penalties abounded the Nanooks. Fortunately, no power play goals were tallied, nor were their very many opportunities for St. Cloud to take advantage of on the power play. The problems came on the backcheck while the Nanooks were trying to transition. However, two key turnovers gave two skilled Husky forwards full access to Scott Greenham behind the D for a pair of scores. Very unfortunate that the bounces go that way, but the Nanooks look to turn things around to start the 3rd.

And they put the hammer down trying to get back, that's for sure. The Nanooks didn't allow a single shot on goal for the first 13 minutes of the 3rd period, even through three power play chances for St. Cloud, they weren't able to crack the Nanooks defense. Some stellar back checking by the 'Nooks gave them some prime chances to set up in the offensive zone and generate chances. But in the end, it was the Huskies netminder and the eventual player of the game Mike Lee that stifled the Nanooks offense tonight. Just as Scott Greenham reached the bench to start a 6 man cycle, the Huskies intercepted a pass and sent Drew LeBlanc rushing the other way and was able to bury the empty netter to make the final 4-1.

Overall, I wouldn't say it was a bad game for the team. Some unfortunate individual mistakes ended up costing 2 goals, and some interesting penalty calls both ways put more time on the ice for the special teams units than straight up 5 on 5. I'd like to see the guys rebound to night and come out ready to go against Clarkson. Starting the season 0-2 is not how I'd like this Anchorage trip to end.

After watching most of the Clarkson/UAA game last night, I was rather impressed with Clarkson's speed and determination. A lot of their players, especially number 12 Nick Trembley and 19 Julien Cayer will just flat out fly to the puck. It's actually quite an impressive thing to watch. Cayer is a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, and believe me, it was a good pick. Keeping an eye on these two tonight will be paramount. Cayer put a pair in past Gunderson and UAA last night. I'd like to not see that happen tonight...

Keys to the game: quite simple. Play mistake-free. Last night, the Nanooks succeeded in the possession battle, but weren't able to get any shots through. I was really impressed with the power play last night and the way that the guys were moving around. All of that movement can really pay off. With the Nanooks 1/4 on the power play last night, and hopefully they can further capitalize against a Clarkson team that gave Anchorage 7 chances with the man advantage.

That's all for now, make sure to check in a bit later for a game day post from Sullivan Arena. I'm going to finish my coffee here at quite possibly one of the best coffee shops in the state (Kaladi Brothers), and try to dig up some more video on Clarkson.

I've also been told that GCI is broadcasting our games on GCI channel 1 live statewide, and live online (ignore the "Next game against North Dakota" message, and click the red button to watch the game). The game is also being aired tape delayed on Fox 7 in Fairbanks due to baseball playoffs. I was told that there were some problems after the game got underway with the online radio feed last night for 820sports.com. Hopefully they can get things worked out and get that going for the game tonight.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Game Day: St. Cloud State - Kendall Classic Game 1

Not a bad day here in Anchorage. A little warmer than in Fairbanks, but still as cloudy and dry. The first line sheet turned in for this year is filled with interesting combinations. Some young blood sprinkled in among seasoned veterans. Check the charts below to keep track. I'll put numbers in the first set here, but keep track of the roster for numbers if you want them in future posts (including tomorrow). 

Tonight's games will be on the radio on 820 AM in Fairbanks, as well as online at www.820sports.com (click the "Listen Live" link in the top menu, and the subsequent big red button to grab the streaming file. If your computer doesn't know what to do with it, just open it with iTunes and you should be good to go). The games will not stream video online this time around, your only bet for video is if you're in Fairbanks on Fox channel 7 later on this evening after the Baseball playoffs are over.

But be sure to tune into my Twitter feed (@NanookHockey) during the game for live updates.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Let's Get This Hockey Train Rolling

Well after that 8-0 romping, I'm pretty excited to get this season underway with some quality games this weekend. I will say that, in defense of the Northern Alberta team, it could have been a lot worse. Shannon Szabados (for the record, it's pronounced "za" (like zap)-"bah"-"doss"), a veteran goaltender and former Olympic gold medalist played her heart out for the Ooks. She made some very impressive saves that not very many goalies can make. She stood on her head that night and stopped what very easily could have been 4 or 5 more goals. Having seemingly 5 forwards and a goaltender doesn't really bode well against a team playing at a completely different level. Kudos to her though for sticking it out. But it goes to show you how well a goaltender, even as good as she is, can stop the puck with little to no help in front of her.

Looking ahead at the future, Clarkson and St. Cloud State lie in the cross hairs in front of us and both of them should be a pretty good test.

The St. Cloud Huskies have been consistently in the top 5 in the WCHA these last few years, and have made their way into acceptance into the new NCHC with North Dakota, and those other teams. Safe to say I don't think that they will be a top 5 team any more... Somebody has to lose...

The interesting part, the Nanooks will be the first opposition that the Huskies will see this year, opting not to schedule an allowed exhibition game. Which some teams choose not to, but with both Spanchorage and Fairbanks running up the score on squad from Alberta, at least the Alaska teams have a grasp of their systems and line chemistry coming into this tournament.

Their leading scorer, Drew LeBlanc (just don't dare pronounce the "c", its silent, unlike their trolls online) returns for his senior season. Drew tallied 39 points last year in a season that ended with two losses--including one heartbreaker in overtime--to the eventual national champions in the first round of the WCHA tournament. Listed at 6' 195lbs, this USHL product and now team captain is a force to be reckoned with. Now he's not the kind of guy though that will take the puck and try to blast through coast to coast and score, he's going to hang around in the offensive zone and try to catch the defense in a spot where they forget about him and Drew will position himself to make a play. The Nanooks D will need to keep tabs on him and keep him in check. But then you've got to watch out for guys like Cam Reid and Jared Festler, who are just as sly and capable of finding twine.

The interesting wild card is their junior netminder, and co-captain Mike Lee. Andy Taranto's former team mate from the Fargo Force has had quite a career with the Huskies thus far. During his tenure, he has shown some interesting spurts of inconsistency between being cool and calm one game, and flying all over the place the next. However, as last season progressed Mike started earning the majority of the starts and really maturing in net for the Huskies.  Carrying a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage from last year, Mike very well could be a tough egg to crack for the 'Nooks this weekend. It will all depend on their defensive strategy, which as the story goes with this team, they just choose not to defend. Whether that's at the level of NAIT, I don't know. I haven't had a real chance to see them play a real team (ACC doesn't count).

While accustomed to playing the nerds at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell, Clarkson is a relatively unknown team outside of the eastern time zone. A team not known for their outlandish scoring, but for their outlandish penalties. After leading their conference with over 18 minutes in penalties a game last year, it will be interesting to see how many power play opportunities they give to Anchorage and us, respectively. Their top returning scorer coming back this year sophomore Allan McPherson who notched just 23 points in 36 games for the Golden Knights. Not bad, but not the greatest of numbers you'd like to see from the person leading your team in scoring. But it was enough to tie him for 42nd in the conference in scoring last season.

Clarkson will be an interesting game. They have a brand new head coach in Casey Jones. And they've been known to take down some pretty big name teams in recent years, too. They even took down their Kendall-mate St. Cloud last year 6-2. As the number three seed in the 2008 NCAA East regional, they knocked off St. Cloud State 2-1 (I'm noticing a trend here...) to advance to the second round. They eventually lost to Michigan that year, but an impressive outing to say the least. Clarkson went 15-19-2 overall last year and 9-12-1 in the ECAC to finish 7th.

If the Nanooks can capitalize on their power play chances that Clarkson will likely give them, this one shouldn't be too bad.

The games this weekend will be broadcast on Fox 7 in Fairbanks (tape delayed due to baseball playoffs). You can also catch Bruce on the radio at 820AM in town, or on 820sports.com by clicking the Listen Live link in the menu bar, then clicking the big play button in the middle of the page to listen to local sports broadcasts. I'm assuming GCI will be planning on airing the game on GCI channel 1 statewide, as well as their usual internet feed, but I'm not seeing it on their normal streaming page. But who knows.

If you choose to read more, feel free to venture behind enemy lines and check out Donald's write-up over at the UAA blog posted earlier today.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Impressions - Thoughts Post-Scrimmage

First of all, it was standing room only in the Patty tonight. I love seeing this much interest, and honestly, I have never seen a line like this clear out into and around the parking outside of the Patty Center like you see in the shot to the left. Truly a great site, and you know that the fans are excited to get this season underway.

That being said, what a great start of the season, getting things rolling in style. Highlighted by quite a few strong scoring plays and some great offensive flow. I do have to come out and say this now though, Cody Kunyk will flat out make things happen this year. Picking right up where he left off after his high scoring freshman campaign, Kunyk is looking as sharp as ever. His stick skills continue to dazzle, and just the playmaking ability of this sophomore forward makes me a bit worried for our opponents this season.... Kind of...

Speaking of worried for opponents, how about the play of Justin Tateson tonight? Outside of a miscue or two, this kid gets it done. Winning battles in the defensive zone going against guys like Andy Taranto is no joke. But his offensive mind is also quite impressive. With 3 assists tonight, he can find the open guy and get the play started. Should be an interesting play with him on the blueline this year, especially if coach Ferguson is planning on working him into the special teams units.

Overall, I thought this years Blue/Gold was one of, if not the best that I've seen in recent memory. Great pace, and not a whole lot of mistakes for this time of year. A few, but nothing that jumps out and makes me worried about anything.

If I had to use one word to describe the team that I've seen thus far, that word would be "balanced". Since Dallas took the helm, the team has been very defensive focused and opportunistic offensively. Tonight, I saw more players trying to create plays, and trying to open up the offensive zone, as well as taking chances keeping a forward back in the defensive zone trying to create breakaways, which Ronnie Meyers got a chance at one, and some good looks at another breakaway or two.

After the skate with the Nanooks was winding down after the game, I had a chance to follow up with two of the Nanooks upper classmen. Junior assistant captain Andy Taranto, and senior goaltender Scott Greenham (click on their names for audio of the interview).

Skills Competition Results

This year's skills competition was quite exciting. After the banquet last night, freshman Matt Gates claimed for the world to hear that he was packing a 97mph slap shot. Needless to say, expectations for him were high. Unfortunately, failing to crack the 90mph barrier made way from some other big shooters, but taking the fastest shot title this year was Kaare Odegard, with a 97 mph blast.
After trailing at the half-lap point, senior captain Ronnie Meyers was in danger of giving up his fastest skater title to a freshman. Nolan Youngmun put up a very good fight, but the Cowboy turned on the jets and cruised to the win. His official time isn't known, but according to my stop watch, I clocked him at 13.58 seconds, .12 seconds faster than his last years outing if it holds up.   

The Blue squad took the shootout 3-2 with goals from freshman forward Garrick Perry, junior right wing Andy Taranto and sophomore left wing Colton Beck. Kunyk and Enders each tallied goals  for the Gold. Steve Thompson was the winningest goaltender of the trio, only allowing one goal while Greenham and Cahill each allowed a pair.

New Jerseys Unveiled

And lastly, thanks to Taranto and Meyers for modelling this years new home and away jersey designs. Check them out.
Front
Back  
I really like these new designs. They look a lot simpler, and more elegant than the old designs. I think they're fantastic. Agree or disagree? Weigh in in the comments.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting Underway

The captains have been named, the freshmen have had their shining moment, and the consensus is clear; we are ready for the start of hockey season.

I had a chance to check-in with head coach Dallas Ferguson earlier this week. Check out the Interview

As I write this, we're just a few hours away from the annual Blue/Gold scrimmage. Just a few hours from the first real look at this years team in a competitive setting. Not to mention, getting a peek at who the fastest skater is, as well as who has the hardest shot. Should be a fun night.

The Nanooks have named 4 captains this year, 3 assistants and a true captain. Junior winger Andy Taranto and seniors Cody Butcher and Aaron Gens will back up Ron Meyers, who will don the C on his chest. After all of the talk about nicknames last night, I'm penning a new one in for Ronnie: Captain Cowboy.

Also revealed last night, but much more subtly was the design of the new jerseys. A bit more of a simple, yet elegant design make for a cleaner look. Compared to last year's jerseys, these definitely have my vote. I like them a lot. I will post pictures of them to my Twitter account just before the Blue/Gold game tonight for all of you to check them out.

Should be an interesting weekend, I'm certainly looking forward to getting this season underway. Go 'Nooks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back To Hockey

It's that time of year when the leaves start to change colors, windows are frosting over in the mornings, and freshly sharpened skates meets freshly made ice to begin my favorite time of year. That's right, hockey season is here, and in a mere 5 days the annual Blue/Gold scrimmage will draw an eager crowd to the Patty Center to catch the first glimpse of the new team. And that's just the culmination event of a full weekend of Nanook Hockey events.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Alaska Nanooks Possibly to Join the WCHA (UPDATED: Not True (UPDATED AGAIN: True after all))

Sources have indicated that Alaska may be close to striking a deal to join the WCHA effective 2013-2014, in the wake of the announcement of the Big Ten and the aforementioned CBHA (or "Super Conference", depending on how politically correct you want to be). Dispelled.

College Hockey News is also reporting that Northern Michigan is in a similar situation, meaning that the new conference--if everything pans out--would be:

Alaska
Alaska-Anchorage
Bemidji State
Mankato
Michigan Tech
Northern Michigan
St. Cloud State

I would suspect that 8th seat may be held for Western Michigan, should they need a home.

UPDATE: Thanks to Forrest for spending a good half hour on the phone with me this evening. I know he has a family, and I'm thankful for that time he spent on this well outside of business hours.

That said, the first topic of conversation was pretty obvious. UAF is NOT in talks to join the WCHA. It's likely that the information was confused before it got to me. After a conference call this past Friday between the CCHA member schools, Forrest made a point that intentions are to meet with WCHA representatives in person, but plans have not been made yet. WCHA AD's and officials are converging in St. Paul to hammer a lot of this out. After that, I would expect the two groups to come together.

The sad part is, a lot of conversations are happening one on one. School officials including our own are having one on one meetings with the head office. What this means for the league, who knows. Forrest is committed to his peers at the CCHA, and is actively searching for the best possible place to be. Whatever it is, I know he's not sitting around on his hands.

Regardless though, this new 6 team conference isn't realistic. A 20 game conference schedule leaves 14 games to look for. I would expect that these games initially will be scheduled among the Big Ten teams, who will also be searching, but the bigger teams are just going to use the smaller ones to schedule home games, it only makes sense. Forrest did say that we would be hearing another team moving next week, although he declined to mention which. Certainly the obvious choice is Notre Dame, apparently Northern Michigan, and possibly Western Michigan considering their panic attack of a marketing campaign. While the website and slide show are notable, it's all about the program's value that they bring to the table. Certainly the Nanooks should have a seat at the proverbial table.

With a very high caliber coaching staff, and competitive play that has averaged 17 wins per season since Dallas took the helm, that's very respectable. The only mark against our program is travel, which again I believe is negated with the exemption. With an 8 team conference, 7 2-game series would be played in Fairbanks with a 28 game schedule, exempting 2 games from each conference members' schedule to capitalize on however they see fit. Games at home, TV coverage to generate ad revenue, etc. A 6 team conference would be a 20 game schedule with 14 games to fill. That just doesn't seem realistic to me. If they played 6 games against each other, that's 30, also not very realistic...


2ND UPDATE:  8/24
Several sources have received word that the talks in Chicago between the WCHA and CCHA have reached "a conclusion". Doesn't seem like a conclusion as much as it looks like a hostile takeover by the WCHA.

Adam Wodon, the man behind College Hockey News has reported that all 5 of the remaining CCHA schools (Notre Dame excluded, since they've already said they're leaving, but not sure where yet) have been extended official invitations to join the WCHA beginning with the '13-'14 season.  Teams have been given a 30-day window in which to accept said invitation.

I don't anticipate that our school will decline this invitation. I'm sure it will have to be discussed, and likely the travel arrangements may be an issue, but I'm sure that can be all worked out later. Exciting times!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Black Clouds On The Horizon, Silver Lining Announced

So USCHO has reported that this, what I'm going to call the Cry Baby league (CBHA, for short...), is essentially confirmed for announcement on Wednesday. The league will feature 6 teams, North Dakota, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, and Miami. Invitations are open to Notre Dame, and a potential 8th team presumed to be Western Michigan. Whether Western stays in that spot now that head coach Jeff Blashill has jumped ship and landed in an assistance coaching position with the Detroit Red Wings with the NHL. I can't discredit his move either, a college and a pro coach's salary don't really compare.

I still have yet to decide whether to be optimistic or not. That 8th invitation on the table is potentially still in the air, but who knows. It could be anybody. I certainly laid out reasonable justifications for UAF to get that spot. Selling a trip to Alaska though is a hard thing to do. But at the same time, a lot of CCHA players have said the trip to Fairbanks is one of their favorite trips of the year.

Changing gears, I'm going to be blunt here. We kind of knew that this shake up was going to happen, but how does this make Tom Anastos look now? For those that don't remember, Anastos left in the wake of the Big Ten announcement from his position as the CCHA commissioner to become the head coach for Michigan State, his alma mater. Granted, from a personal standpoint I understand the move. But to have your conference leader abandon ship when times get tough is more frustrating now. I'm not saying Fred Pletsch isn't doing a good job, but unlike we've seen from the WCHA, who have been quite vocal and transparent as to whats going on, nobody has heard a single peep from the CCHA or any of its constituents. Forrest hasn't returned my attempts to contact him yet, which is probably favorable. I'd rather have him involved in trying to keep the ship afloat versus talking to me at the moment.

That said, whats left of the WCHA athletic directors are embarking to Minnesota to meeting with WCHA officials to try to hash things out. The Anchorage Daily News has an interesting piece including quotes from UAA AD Steve Cobb, especially the closer "I'm not offended at all they want to start a conference. I'm very offended at the way it was handled," Cobb said. "We've got two years left, and I assume it's going to be very tense and very uncomfortable." (Source). Yup. Imagine how uncomfortable North Dakota should be over 2500 miles from home playing a tournament against two teams that they cast away. 2012 Brice Goal Rush, mark your calendars should that invite still stand.

In all likelihood, expect to see a "leftovers" league with both UAA and UAF in it. I'd still like to see UAH reeled in here as well, not a lot of talk has included them, but it seems as if it's every team for theirselves. As horrible as that sounds, it's certainly the way it looks. Plus, a 4 game Governor's Cup series is certainly positive. Then UAA has nothing to complain about after the flight home empty handed.

Regardless, I think a lot of these moves, whatever way they go may attract more teams to start college hockey. Paul Kelly with College Hockey Inc. admitted in an interview back in December with USCHO that he had been working with a few institutions who were exploring the option of making the move to Division I. While the possibilities weren't discussed, the plausibility that another team making the jump would certainly be a welcome way to get to 60 DI teams.

Anyway, the silver lining in all of these black clouds is a nice breakaway from all of this mess. The Athletic Department broke news yesterday that Dallas Ferguson has signed a contact extension through 2016, which I find very satisfying. Knowing that he's committed to staying on board through all of this makes me very confident that our team is in good hands and ready for whatever this mess is going to throw our way. Dallas is not just a great coach, but a great guy with great connections to the community. To know that UAF is committed to him just as much as he is to the program, I would hope that he could write his own salary