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.
The Mercyhurst Lakers, coming fresh off a pair of losses last weekend in Omaha, have embarked on their longest trip of the year to redeem their pair of losses at the Maverick Stampede. After surviving a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of their Goal Rush-mates in UNO, the Lakers rebounded and gave Robert Morris all they could handle in a tight 1-2 loss. In a game that Mercyhurst probably should have won, the Lakers outshot the Colonials 30-25. But similar to the Nanooks fate against St. Cloud, they hit a good goaltender.
Unfortunately for them, the Lakers were outscored 7-2 last weekend, with their only goals coming from Grant Blakey and Trent Frey. Last season, the Lakers had 3 30+ point scorers, and 2 of them have moved on. Junior forward Paul Chiasson will need to lead the charge to get the Lakers back on track for success this year... just not starting Friday.
Saturday, the Nanooks rekindle an old rivalry with the UNO Mavericks. Before defecting, the Nanooks and Mavericks became quite familiar with one another after playing each other 4 times a year. Since Dean Blais took over the duties behind the bench, the Mavericks have done nothing but improve. After putting a good showing last year, the Mavericks ended their season empty handed. They don't want to repeat...
Team captain Alex Hudson has been suspended indefinitely for undisclosed reasons. Several rumors about why have found their way to me, but I don't want to divulge them since I have no idea if they're actually true or not. I've heard he's made the trip up here and may suit up, but I'll have to see for sure.
I don't think UNO has as strong of a team this year as they did last year, but they will certainly give us a run for our money.
Stay tuned for rosters a bit later.