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.
BGSU has been struggling a bit this season as well, but a decent outing last weekend took 2 points from Miami, which is more than I can say for us. Granted, Bowling Green head coach Chris Bergeron had a bit of an advantage in that particular series having coached under Blasi.
As for the Nanooks, after registering the first win last Friday, then watching Saturday's game slip away has the Nanooks hungry for a few more wins. I've emphasized in past articles that the Nanooks have been in every game, as a good article penned by USCHO's Paula Weston shined some more light on the subject. Injuries have been a plague for the Nanooks this year, as coach Ferguson has had to do some emergency recruiting, activating Robert Monfore last week for the Ferris State series. Monfore didn't skate as they were able to rotate 5 defensemen for the week. I was hoping to see Cody Butcher make it back in the lineup this week and make the trip, but I know he didn't travel. Cody, who hasn't seen the ice since game 1 in Anchorage this season has been kept out with a lingering upper-body injury.
Both Nolan Kaiser and Kaare Odegard have been missing action due to leg injuries for the past few weeks. Kaiser won't been back until after Christmas, but Kaare Odegard is back in the lineup this weekend. Kaare will be paired with Trevor Campbell who has really improved over the last two weeks, which should allow Kaare a little extra room to get his bearings back.
Anyway, as for Bowling Green, I don't see a team that's struggled with scoring even more than the Nanooks have comes away with a win. Scott Greenham has really stepped up since relinquishing his crease to Steve Thompson at Notre Dame. The Beck-Kunyk-Taranto line remains intact and looks to keep generating goals. Yaremchuk-Granberg-Finucci remains the top line that continues to impress me with their chemistry.
On the Bowling Green side, Ryan Carpenter has been the rookie responsible for keeping the Falcons afloat. With 6 goals and 14 points, only Cam Wojtala is close with 13. After that, there's a big drop off on the stat sheet, but you can't over look players like Robert Shea, the junior defensemen who's got a fast shot. And with leading the team in penalty minutes, Shea's not afraid to take shots elsewhere, either.
This really should be an interesting series. I'd like to see the Nanooks get 6 points and start to climb their way back into this thing. They're a long way back, but 6 points are on the line every weekend. Northern Michigan sits in 9th with 11 points, exactly 6 points ahead of the Nanooks and they have the weekend off. And just 12 points removed from 4th, securing a first round bye and home ice in the 2nd round of the playoffs.
The games this weekend will be aired live on KFXF Fox 7 in Fairbanks, and at 7PM on GCI channel 1 statewide. You can also connect with Bruce Cech online at 820sports.com or 820AM in Fairbanks.