Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nanooks Sweep, and Make a Statement in Rout of Buckeyes 6-2

Box Score

6-2. Wow. Great offensive production from the Nanooks tonight. Two of the Nanooks' highest scoring games this season have come against the Buckeyes, and a good statement to hopefully generate some momentum going forward.

The Nanooks were able to spend a lot more time setting up in the offensive zone, and with their puck movement, they were able to open up those shooting lanes and get some looks from Heeter, who had a lot of trouble containing rebounds. Getting bodies down low around the net and getting traffic is where the goals are at, and they definitely did that tonight.

Cody Kunyk, who has admittedly been a bit of a stranger to box scores in recent history has really got it going now. Cody is a playmaker, and when he gets hot, he can make things happen. Tonight, was a good indication of that and hopefully a taste of things to come. The whole Yaremchuk-Kunyk-Beck line played an outstanding game tonight, accounting for half of the total scoring. It'll be interesting to see if this line is left intact. The coaching staff have done a great job mixing things up to try to find chemistry, and these 3 guys are definitely clicking together.

Scott Greenham also had another phenomenal weekend allowing just 2 goals on 67 shots, a performance that should earn him goalie of the week honors from the conference. To rant for a bit, Scottie is one of the most underrated goaltenders in the country. To produce the stellar performances that he posts, and not get the credit he deserves bothers me slightly. The humble being that he is will tell you it doesn't matter much, the results are really what matters. Although I agree, but some of the other accolades would be nice to see. I'm sure this will spur a flame war in the comments section later on about how much better someone else is, but whatever. Greenham gives his team a chance to win every night by (taking a page from coach Ferguson's book here...) stopping the shots he's supposed to, and a lot of the shots he's not.

Tonight's game was a display of the potential the team possesses. Keeping this momentum moving forward will be essential for the Nanooks to succeed going down the stretch. These 6 points move the Nanooks into sole possession of 5th place, up from 8th coming into the weekend. The Ferris State Bulldogs make the trip to Fairbanks this week to stifle the Nanooks' momentum. If we see a similar outing like we've seen these last few games, all I can say is, bring 'em on.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Game Day Saturday

As I said in my recap last night, expect Ohio State to come out faster, and with a restyled breakout to get things moving a bit faster through the neutral zone. 

3 more points are on the line tonight, and the Nanooks need 'em. 





Ohio State




Nanooks Win Defensive Battle 1-0 in OT

A hard fought game for the Nanooks tonight. Not a lot of rhythm going either way, but credit the defenses since neither side allowed each other to really set up and get things going. Each team had their chances, but definitely a goaltending battle, and only one emerged with the goose egg intact.

Tonight was Scottie's 8th shutout in a Nanooks jersey, a record among all ghosts of Nanook netminders past. And he was sharp through all 60 minutes and 40 seconds. Although I gotta admit, I was worried there for a minute.

Somewhere in the midst of the second period, Scottie took a hard hit on the rush. Stopped the shot, granted, but paid for it, getting plowed over by an OSU forward who got a body full of goal post and boards, plus some jawing from guys who had a thing or two to say about their goaltender getting hit. But Greenham being the beast of a man that he is got right back up and stopped the last 13 shots of the game.

Heading in to OT, it took just 11 seconds before Buckeye forward Cory Schneider took a hooking call to send the Nanooks to the power play. Just 8 seconds later off the faceoff, Jarret Granberg and the Nanooks were rewarded for throwing the puck on net. Tons of traffic just after the faceoff, and Granny's shot careened off of Andy Taranto in his usual parking spot in front of the net, and the game went in the books.

Tomorrow's game will almost certainly be a bit more high scoring. The 'Nooks will need to tighten up the bolts in their passing game, and I expect the Buckeyes to come up with a new breakout attack to generate some faster transitions.

With the win, and a much needed 3 points, the Nanooks jump 2 spots in the standings over Ohio State and Northern Michigan to 6th. The 'Nooks are 2 points behind a Ferris State team who is idle this week, and a Western Michigan team who went to town on the NMU Wildcats earlier this evening. Every point matters, and 3 more are on the line tomorrow night.

Be there, 7:05PM at the Carlson Center.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Game Day Friday

Media Links

Good to be back again in the friendly walls of the Carlson Center. Feels like I should have been celebrating new years again, but all partying aside, its time to get back to business tonight. The Nanooks have a golden opportunity for 6 points this weekend, and they need 'em.

OSU is a fast team that plays with a lot of pace and patience. A team that maintains the puck well and keeps it moving, trying to open those shooting lanes and generate chances. As these games go though, I have a feeling they will move a bit away from that a bit and take their chances with one-timers on the rush with their speed. The Nanooks defense is too solid in my opinion for OSU to run their game as cleanly as they would like.

With out further ado...





Ohio State




Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nanooks Play Call and Answer With Michigan. Can OSU Answer?

A much different Alaska team from Friday to Saturday last weekend. A very back and forth style of a game, and the 'Nooks were much more aggressive and almost a complete style shift throughout. As far as skaters go, the Nanooks outplayed Michigan, especially in the 3rd period. The Nanooks failed to convert on a 5 on 3 power play chance, but gained enough momentum to carry through to a potential goal that was later overturned. It's not as if the Nanooks didn't have their chances, they did. The difference was in net.

For the first time since I've watched him play in a Nanooks uniform, Scott Greenham was outplayed this weekend. Hunwick was the difference maker for Michigan, and a clear-cut number one star both nights.

Dallas Ferguson and the 'Nooks will have to come up with a similar plan for Cal Heeter and the OSU Buckeyes this weekend. Despite their current streak, I don't see them stepping up much the same as Michigan just did. Especially with OSU on the road.

With the two losses, the Nanooks fall to 8th place in the standings, the lowest the Nanooks have been since Dallas stepped behind the bench. Last season, the Nanooks fell to 7th un the conference after the mid-season slump and finished with an 8-0-2 run through the first round of the playoffs against WMU.

OSU was on a pretty good run out of the holiday break, but have also struggled these past two series, taking 5 out of a possible 12 points from a surging Western Michigan team, and a tough opponent in Notre Dame.

Nobody has played more time in net than Cal Heeter, the Ohio State junior has registered 1497:11 in 25 games, 40 minutes more with 1 more game played than Scott Greenham. While the stats certainly favor Greenham, the difference the defense in front of each of them.

The Nanooks defense is much more aggressive in front of their own net, and they'll have to stifle a team whose used to scoring an average of 3 goals per game. A task I'm sure the Nanooks are up to.

With the showing the Nanooks put on last week, I'd like to see those scoring chances actually get in the net this week. I think that's been a point of contention all year long, and generally right around this time is when the guys start to play their best hockey. And they're gonna need to bring their A-game down the home stretch to the end of the season to make some moves up the standings.

If the season were to end today, depending on how the 3 way tie for 4th gets sorted out, we would likely host Lake Superior State, and assuming all of the higher seeds win, the Nanooks would travel to Michigan again to face the team who ended the long streak of earning points in every CCHA regular season series last weekend.

Anyhow, back to the weekend at hand. Those who will be in attendance can hear yours truly over the PA this weekend calling the game from the booth. You can also catch my Twitter feed for live in-game updates. You can also listen KSUA 91.5FM online at, and for $7, you can watch the games online at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nanooks Blanked by Michigan - A Series of Unfortunate (and partly hilarious) Events

I have to admit, taking a 0-2 loss is kind of disheartening, but at least I had fun watching some of it. After Michigan's first goal of the evening, tempers seemed to be running pretty high as one of Michigan's players skated by the Nanooks bench after the ubiquitous goal celebration and supposedly provoked some of our guys. Needless to say, a bit of a scene developed there in front of the bench, but my attention quickly shifted from that. While the officials were trying to sort everything out, one of the members of Yost's infamous student section chucked a bright orange ball on the ice over the netting in front of Scott Greenham. Many may remember my recount of the shoe incident from last year ("Who throws a shoe? Honestly...!"). Any how, this time around its a ball, and kudos to Scotty for having fun with this. After about 4 attempts and playing with the crowd, he had enough, and motioned Michigan forward Matt Rust over, who shot it up into the stands, pumping the crowd and getting them into it.

Here's a video of the whole thing going down last night.

Any how, kind of a fast paced game. To sum it up shortly, the Nanooks had their chances. Petovello flubbed a golden opportunity with a 2 on 0 chance and had an open net to shoot at from the back hand, but he waited too long and got the outside of the net.

Nik Yaremchuk had a good opportunity to bury one as well off a rebound, but it went off the post.

Some unfortunate bounces the other way, but that's hockey. Tonight, the game will have to be a bit tighter.

Sorry for the brevity. Game 2 is on now! Little late getting this up...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

'Nooks Look to Keep Rolling in Ann Arbor

This weekend, the Nanooks roll up to Ann Arbor for their last stop of their traditional two week road trip. After getting the carriage moving behind the horse last weekend against Notre Dame, it's full speed ahead with the crosshairs aimed right at Yost Ice Arena.

When the last time Michigan and Alaska squared off back in early November, Friday's game was a real treat for fans to see, as the Nanooks completely ripped apart Michigan from end to end. One may say Michigan had a down game, which is why they came back and had, what looked to be, a rout on their hands in Saturday's 5-2 win at the Carlson Center. I completely disagree.

I've seen our team play at such a high level earlier this season, and it sort of peaked at that first Michigan game. Fans have told me they've never seen an Alaska team play with that level of prowess on both sides of the ice in their varying history of observing the program. The unfortunate part is, they haven't seen it since. But if last weekend's series against Notre Dame was any indication, it may be coming back.

And who better to be on the receiving end than Michigan. Yost Ice Arena is a historically detestable place to play in, but the guys will have to block out the crowd and play some hockey. The Michigan team is largely the same as the last time we saw them, sans Jacob Fallon and Tristin Llewellyn who were ceremoniously removed from the roster. While Llewellyn will forego graduation for a pro contract in the ECHL, the Wolverines move on without him.

With 17 CCHA games under their belt, Michigan is leading the way in scoring defense, allowing just 33 goals in conference matches. That stat doesn't bode well for the Alaska offense, but hopefully it can provide some motivation for this weekend.

From a standings perspective, the 'Nooks have the opportunity to make a move in the conference with Ferris State just 2 points ahead. Michigan is also sitting in 6th in RPI at .5539, and 5th in the PairWise. With a strong performance, the PairWise implications could be huge and potentially bring the Nanooks back in range for an at large berth for the big dance at the end of the season.

You can watch this weekend's games on television, as Friday's game will be on KFXF Fox 7 in Fairbanks, as well as Fox College Sports Pacific (GCI channel 303), as well as Fox Sports-Detroit in other areas. Saturday's game won't be televised, but you can catch it live streamed on for something like $8 for a month subscription.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nanooks Tame Notre Dame 4-1

Not much of a different start tonight as the Nanooks still got the shot advantage, but the difference came with the 2 goals that went on the board in the first. Junior defenseman Scott Enders gets his first of the season on a backwards pass from a very aware Kevin Petovello to go up 1-0. Just 2 minutes later, Jarret Granberg's stick finds a rebound in front of the crease off a shot from Aaron Gens. Granny was money and got the puck off of his stick quickly to get the Nanooks 2nd goal of the evening.

Into the 2nd period, the Nanooks started with a few seconds remaining of power play time. The Nanooks found themselves once again trying to stifle Riley Sheahan and the ND shorthanded unit who tried to generate some offense chances, and came up successful this time around. The intriguing part was how much offense was being generated by either side. 32 combined shots were put on goal, 18-14 with 3 power play chances for the 'Nooks. So much of the Nanook's defense came in the neutral zone in the 1st stanza, stifling Notre Dame before they could even establish a presence in the offensive zone. And the Nanook offense was able to set up for more opportunities, especially with the man advantage, able to apply pressure by maintaining possession off the cycle. While Notre Dame would get the lone goal of the 2nd, the 3rd would be a much different story.

The 3rd period was full of execution for the 'Nooks, I loved nearly every second of it. One of the first times I thought the guys have really been on their game since the domination of the Michigan Wolverines earlier this season. Aaron Gens threw a shot to the net with Carlo Finucci camped in front, who made one of the best skilled deflections I've seen from a forward all year. A nice heads up play to nudge the puck from about waist height to above Mike Johnson's shoulder and under the crossbar to go up 3-1. However, a 5:00 major/10:00 game misconduct penalty called against Joe Sova opened the man advantage door for the first time all game. But a rock solid penalty killing effort limited ND to 2 shots on goal for all 5 minutes. Nik Yaremchuk also answered the call with a shortie of his own, capitalizing on a defensive mistake at the blue line and earned a breakaway and flew 114 feet and beat Mike Johnson, who looked like a deer staring at the head light of an oncoming bullet train. The aftermath wouldn't be much different either. Brutal.

Like I said, definitely one of the better games I've seen in a while from this team. Friday's game could have gone a similar way, but Mike Johnson brought his A-game and made it very difficult to get pucks in. If the guys can keep this momentum going throughout their preparations this week and into Ann Arbor, Michigan could be in for a ride.

The team will stay out and take their time getting up to Ann Arbor as they prepare for Michigan. Historically, they'll usually hang around in Detroit or even Chicago during the week and practice and take care of school work. Since school doesn't start until Thursday, I can only imagine what they'd be up to in a big city.

Tale of the Tape

This is the first series this season that Notre Dame's leading scorer TJ Tynan has been held off of the scoresheet.

The Nanooks held the highest scoring offense in the country to 3 goals total in a two game series, the fewest of any two game series Notre Dame has played all season, this includes the two game IceBreaker and Shillelagh tournaments.

Tonight's win marks the first victory in South Bend with Dallas Ferguson at the helm. The last win at the Joyce was in November 2006.

Notre Dame has scored a nation leading 12 shorthanded goals this season. Nik Yaremchuk's was Notre Dame's first shorthanded goal they've allowed, and the 3rd for the Nanooks this season.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Notre Dame Stifles Nanooks' Surging Offense

 Tough loss tonight, especially after controlling the pace and flow of the game. The Nanooks outshot ND 35-22, and scoring chance after scoring chance kept finding their way into the glove of Mike Johnson.

On to the recap...

The Nanooks came out of the gate firing. A penalty to Cody Kunyk would put the guys back on their heels a bit as Notre Dame got a bit of pressure. The Nanooks killed the opportunity though and got right back to it. Kunyk broke out of the zone with Ronnie Meyers in tow. Kunyk tried to feed it to Meyers just inside of the blueline, but the pass was just behind him, and resulted offsides. Gens also had a quality chance that actually faked out the ref. Pinching in to grab the loose puck, he shot it just wide left, but the ref thought it went in, and signaled goal very briefly.

Into the second period, the 'Nooks still had momentum going and a few scoring chances stymied by Notre Dame's netminder, and a pair off the post. After maintaining the 6-2 shot advantage through the first 14 minutes of the 2nd period, ND forward Riley Sheahan paid a visit to the sin bin for goaltender interference after shoving Aaron Gens to the ice in a scuffle in front of the crease, sending the 'Nooks to the power play. Turns out that's not where they wanted to be, going against the team leading the nation in shorthanded goals. Aaaaaaaand they got another one. Frosh forward Anders Lee tallied his first (surprisingly) shortie of the season in a 2 on 1 with Ryan Guentzel. Ryan lead the play, and saucered the puck over the sprawling defender's stick to Lee, who found an opening and beat Greenham to bump ND's total shorthanded tally to 12 on the season.

As the Nanooks pressured the zones towards the end of the third, Notre Dame's Nick Larson saw the turnover coming as the Nanooks tried to transition and hung back and took a feed from Ryan Guentzel, and found himself alone with Greenham in front of the crease. Larson's patience with the puck paid off, scoring the eventual game winning goal with 1:15 left in regulation.

But with Greenham out of the net, and the extra attacker on the ice, Mike Johnson's shutout wasn't going to come easy. With the 'Nooks in desparation mod, pucks went flying, players were diving, and pucks were bouncing. When Aaron Gens found the loose puck pinching down, the puck gleaned off a diving ND forward's shoulder and deflected just high enough to sneak into the net under the crossbar with 23 seconds on the clock.

With net empty and the faceoff at center ice, the Hunchbacks won the draw and sent it in, and hung around for a few before the 'Nooks got it back. But by that time, it was too late, and the clock had struck 0. Unfortunate too, as the majority of the game was controlled by Alaska. That shortie really took a lot out of the spark from the 'Nooks players. They would eventually regain it, but it was too late. The 3rd period was dominated by the 'Nooks, outshooting those bell tower freaks 13-4 in the last 20 minutes. But an unfortunate turnover can change everything, and it did. Although the score might indicate otherwise, the Nanooks did apply some significant offensive pressure. The one thing I thought lacked was sustaining pressure. But the 'Nooks still had their chances, just a hot goaltender kept them out of the net.

With the loss, Western Michigan has now pulled ahead of us, dropping the 'Nooks to 6th, one point ahead of the Buckeyes and the Wildcats in the CCHA standings. Tomorrow will be another chance for the 'Nooks to rebound to start pulling themselves back up into the mix. Tomorrow's game will be at 3:05PM AKST.

Other recap:
Irish Win Hard Fought Battle with Alaska, 2-1 (

Notre Dame: Busted to Big Time

This weekend, the Nanooks take on a team who spent last year losing a lot and getting busted. If that wasn't enough, the freshmen initiation must have been to imitate the upper-classmen. Probably didn't take long for ND bench boss Jeff Jackson to reign in the team and get them turned around.

Last season, the Hunchbacks had an admittedly down season, but with a stellar freshmen class they're back firing and leading the conference in almost everything. Their power play is pretty good, but their penalty kill is absolutely ruthless. They kill 86.2% of the penalties they take, but whats more impressive is the 11 shorthanded goals they've put up this year, the most in the nation. 4 more than BC, who is sitting in 2nd with 7 shorties. That's nuts.

ND scoring leader TJ Tynan has been tearing it up his freshman year with 15 goals and 33 points. He's leading the nation in rookie scoring, and likely has no intentions of falling out of that position. What's funny though, is when you look at his mug shot he looks like a transplant from a 1980's sitcom, a la Happy Days.

Senior Ryan Guentzel is trailing just behind with 26 points, and he's a dynamic forward that can take control of a game when others get bottled up. After a close loss to Bowling Green in the first half of the season, Ryan responded in the second game with a 3 point performance in a 6-3 win. Ryan's brother Gabe made the trek to Fairbanks with Colorado College back in October who made a name for himself, earning All-Tournament honors.

Since the emotional split with Miami on the road, the Nanooks are 2-3-3. In the same timeframe, the Hunchbacks have gone 4-2-1. Out of the break, the ND found themselves in a hostile environment in Marquette, Michigan in the den of the Wildcats. Turns out it wouldn't matter, as the Hunchbacks pounded the Wildcats like battering rams 8-1, 3-1. Some may argue that Notre Dame stepped over the line last Friday, but mark it 8, Dude. (NSFW)

The 'Nooks need to hit the road running with this series. With school still yet to start, they got out early this week to have more time to get ready. Notre Dame is not Western. As good as the Broncos have gotten, and they proved that last weekend, points will be harder for the Nanooks to take out of this series, especially on the road.

These games can be streamed live online for free through Friday's game is at 3:35PM, and Saturday at 3:05PM.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nanooks Blanked 0-2

You could tell both teams came ready to play for the second game. The game was a lot more even in terms of skating and shooting.

Western got themselves on the board at 18:56 into the 1st period ... and the 2nd period. Both on the power play, both on one-timers from same side. Kind of eerie.

Not really much to say. Nanooks got 33 shots on goal, yet, couldn't get any of them past Kuhn. Some good scoring chances, and obviously none went in. That's how the night went.

This game was Kuhn's first career shutout in a Broncos jersey.

Tough fought game but the 'Nooks will have to swallow this weekend and start prepping for the big two week road trip, taking on Michigan and the Hunchbacks from Notre Dame. The 'Nooks get just one of the six points out of the weekend going forward. Points are at a premium, but fortunately, most of the remainder of the schedule will be in the friendly confines of the Carlson Center.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Game Day Saturday

Tonight, the 'Nooks look to get back in it. Ohio State has officially swept Miami, and Ferris State swept Bowling Green.

Not much has changed for the lines tonight. A bit of the way through the game yesterday, coach Ferguson shook up the Taranto line with Carlo Finucci and Jarret Granberg. The fourth line has been ratcheted up as well, with Henderson and Hohl, so look for some extra physicality there...


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

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

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Colin Rundelll
G3 Steve Thompson

Western Michigan

F1 Trevor Elias - Max Campbell - Greg Squires
F2 Shane Berschbach - Chase Balisy - Dane Walters 
F3 Ryan Watson - Ian Slater - Mike Leone
F4 Derek Roehl - Ben Warda - Kyle O'Kane

D1 Danny Dekeyser - Luke Witkowski 
D2 Dennis Brown - Matt Tennyson
D3 Mike Levendusky - Ross Henry

G1 Jerry Kuhn
G2 Matthew Federico 

WMU Takes Game One 3-2 Through a Shootout

A very interesting game to watch, to put it simply. A lot of scoring chances for Western were flubbed, but with the Great Wall of Greenham in net, he stopped the rest. Scotty literally played one of the best games I've ever seen a goaltender play. He was sharp, composed, and stayed in front of the puck. My pre-game analysis was pretty much right on in terms of Westerns goal production. They really take every chance they get to put the puck on the goaltender looking for a rebound or a good bounce, and they do very well maintaining puck possession in the offensive zone. 38 shots on goal kind of proves that. But a lot of things went wrong for Western, and for Alaska on the same note. The Broncos had chance after chance in odd man rushes and open back doors, and a lot of them were shot wide, or the forward fanned on the shot. The first period alone, Western could have put up 4 or 5 goals. You'll see that in the video recap. A lot of those chances drew the 'Nooks to take some penalties, finding themselves shorthanded for 6:00 of the first period. The Nanooks penalty kill remained solid and did a good job limiting their chances, only allowing 7 shots to reach Greenham, who stopped them all.

As coach Ferguson claimed, the first period got off to a bit of a sloppy start. A couple of guys took some penalties, some warranted more than others, but thats how it goes. Western dominated the stat sheet, outshooting the 'Nooks 14-6, and were 10-7 in faceoffs. Both sides had some quality scoring chances, but no goals on the board. Andy Taranto had the highlight of the period though, snatching a puck out of mid-air with the glove on the forecheck, and found himself all alone with Bronco netminder Jerry Kuhn, who found himself in a situation he probably didn't want to be in. Kuhn came out like a theif though, robbing Taranto's chance through the five hole. The first period alone, Western could have put up 4 or 5 goals. You'll see that in the video recap. A lot of those chances drew the 'Nooks to take some penalties, finding themselves shorthanded for 6:00 of the first period. The Nanooks penalty kill remained solid and did a good job limiting their chances, only allowing 7 shots to reach Greenham, who stopped them all.

The second period I thought got off to a much quicker start. Both teams were skating a bit faster, and more fundamentally sound. I didn't think the 'Nooks were quite on their game yet, but from the first period they were heading in the right direction. Thanks to a high sticking penalty taken by WMU's Luke Witkowski, the door of power play opportunity had opened for the 'Nooks, and they took no time to go through it. Just 27 seconds after the penalty box door closed, the puck was in the net, and the door opened again. Sova and Gens kept the puck at the point, looking for a lane to shoot it through. Gens found Taranto perched just behind the goaltender, who took no time getting it off his stick, hitting Jerry Kuhn in the back of his left leg, Gretsky-style, and in the net. A bit later, a huge opportunity came for Western as Nanook defeseman Michael Quinn's stick collapsed in his hands, which resulted in a 3 on 1 opportunity in the wrong direction. The shot however, went wide. WMU forward Greg Squires found an opportunity a bit later through traffic, and got the puck through and just under the crossbar to beat Greenham to tie the game just 1:43 after Taranto's power play tally.

Carlo Finucci had a very pretty goal on the rush that had some extra meaning to it. About half way through the period, a WMU player got away with throwing an elbow into Carlo's face after he took a shot. Carlo went down, and off the ice for a short while but he wouldn't miss his next shift. Rushing up the ice with Granberg, Jarret left the puck for Finucci just inside the blue line. Carlo took it just above the faceoff circle to the right of the goal and sniped it top shelf glove side to go up 2-1. Keep your eyes peeled in the video, you'll be impressed.

In the third period, I thought the 'Nooks got back on their game. They really took it to Western and started generating some quality scoring chances. But a hooking penalty on Cody Kunyk seemed to take the momentum away, and Western capitalized. Max Campbell had an impressive shot of his own on the rush from the high slot area to tie the game, where it would end. "Moving forward in the third period, we gave up that goal but I thought it was probably our best period of the night. Where we started to do some things, simplified our game, started to win some more battles, got some pucks in deep, started to forecheck, and creating scoring chances." Ferguson said after the game, and I couldn't agree more. He had also mentioned Western getting a better start, which is what I would like to see change the most in game two tonight.

And on to the video... Big kudos to Jaime Schwartzwald and the guys at TVTV for getting this put together so quickly. At about the 40 second mark, Kaare Odegard rocks Mike Leone's world with a beautiful open ice hit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Game Day Friday - Lines, Commentary, and Interview

Wow. It seems like forever since I've been back into the Carlson Center. As the Carlson staff get back to their routine to get the ice and facility ready for game time, the players get to their pre-game rituals, I get to mine...

The coaches luncheon went well today. Again, kind of an odd feeling since I haven't been to one in over a month... But nonetheless, it was still a good time as always. Coach Blashill made some good comments about the team, the season, and his history as a coach and a player. Coach Ferguson confirmed that Kevin Petovello would be ready to go, and indeed he is. He's wearing a monster brace on his right knee though. Rumors have circulated that Kevin may be playing on a torn knee ligament, but that is unconfirmed.

Had a chance to talk with coach Ferguson before the game about the series, as well as an inquiry on defensive depth. Rather than type the responses, feel free to have a listen. Download

That said, lets move on to the lines for tonight. Dallas has once again shaken things up, so we'll see how the guys work.

F1 Kevin Petovello - Cody Kunyk - Nik Yaremchuk
F2 Carlo Finucci - Jarret Granberg - Andy Taranto
F3 Chad Gehon - Derek Klassen - Ronnie Meyers
F4 Colton Beck - Justin Filzen - Erik Slemp

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

G1 Scott Greenham
G2 Colin Rundelll
G3 Steve Thompson

Just as I suspected, Jerry Kuhn will get the start in net for the Broncos. Pisellini isn't even on the line chart for tonight, so it will be interesting to see how things go, since I haven't seen him play...

Western Michigan

F1 Trevor Elias - Max Campbell - Greg Squires
F2 Shane Berschbach - Chase Balisy - Dane Walters 
F3 Ryan Watson - Ian Slater - Mike Leone
F4 Derek Roehl - Ben Warda - Kyle O'Kane

D1 Danny Dekeyser - Luke Witkowski 
D2 Dennis Brown - Matt Tennyson
D3 Mike Levendusky - Ross Henry

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nanooks Ink CJHL Forward Max Dumond

Photo courtesy of Terry Halpenny
The Nanooks coaching staff are at it again, inking Canada East 2010 WJC standout Maxime Dumond.

Hailing from the CJHL, the same junior league that's produced NHL legends, such as Steve Yzerman, and  Max has been identified as a very high energy two way player that can play in any aspect of the game. He plays physical, and gets to the dirty areas. Sounds like a perfect fit to me.

Admittedly, I don't follow the CJHL as much as I follow the Western leagues (AJHL, BCHL), as that's generally where most of our recruits come from.

International Scouting Services listed Max as one of the 5 players to watch from Canada East's WJC team. Saying some pretty positive things, some of which I've touched on.

high-energy player ... competes every shift ... loves to play physical ... good offensive abilities ... plays a good, honest two-way game ... can play power play or penalty kill ... good skater ... hard to knock off the puck ... solid on his feet
In other words, "physical, but fundamentally sound" I think would be a good way to put it...

Max is currently tied for 23rd in the league in scoring, second on his team with 35 points in 34 games. But its the 47 penalty minutes that draws your eye. He's 18 years old now, about to turn 19 in March. With that, I suspect we'll see him in a Nanooks uniform next season. His commitment announcement didn't specify a year of entry, but he is still eligible for this years NHL entry draft as well, meaning it may be best for him to move up sooner rather than later if he'd like more visibility.

Other notes from his stats page.

Last Season: Max had a career year, scoring 28 goals and assisting on 27 for a remarkable 57 point season in his sophomore year.   Max played in all situations PK, PP, regular strength, you name it.  Dumond plays with an edge,  fearless and will go deep into the trenches to relentlessly retrieve pucks. He is Holmstrom- like in front of the net and an  absolute talent. The Braves staff and fans can’t wait to see what the 2010-2011 Dumond will bring to the City.  Max also participated in the Team Canada East Try-Out/Evaluation Camp in Renfrew, Ontario in August of 2009.  He represented Team East in the Top Prospects Game in Winkler, Manitoba in December of 2009 and represented the CJHL in the Battle of Ontario Prospect game in Pembroke, Ontario. Max was also named Captain of the team.

More on Dumond: Registered 31 points and 43 penalty minutes – 11 goals and 20 assist in 58 regular-season games playing as a 16 year-old rookie for the Brockville Braves Jr. A hockey club in 2008-2009 finishing second in overall points for 16 year-olds. Registered 10 points and 6 penalty minutes – 6 goals and 4 assists in 12 playoff games that season.   Played minor hockey for the Cumberland Barons (OEMHL) and Notre Dame Hounds (minor midget, SMAAAHL).......Played with the Brockville Braves of the Central Junior Hockey League since August of 2008.......Currently enrolled in Grade 12 at Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville, Ontario.... Was selected by the Ottawa 67’s in the 12th round (236th overall) in the 2009 OHL priority selection draft.  Registered 13 points and 62 penalty minutes - 6 goals and 7 assists in 42 regular-season games playing for the Notre Dame Hounds Minor Midget AAA team. Saskatchewan provincial champions in 2007-08 in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA hockey league....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Rebuilding Western Michigan Team Treks North

The Nanooks finally get back on the ice in a series after what will be a 26 day hiatus against a Western Michigan team that is being overhauled by incoming head coach Jeff Blashill. Don't be fooled, this is not the same team you saw last March. This series will be a fight for six points between two pretty evenly matched teams.

Statistics aside, the Broncos do have a slight edge coming into this series in terms of momentum, coming off a huge two game sweep against then 12th-ranked Union. Nanook fans should be quite familiar with the Dutchmen and their defensive play, but the Broncos ground it out taking both games by a collective score of 5-2. In addition, Western Michigan's break is a full week shorter, if that matters.

The Broncos are lead in scoring by senior center Max Campbell (9-9-18) and two dynamic freshmen in Chase Balisy and Shane Berschbach, each with 14 points. Their offense takes care of the puck in the offensive zone and put a lot of shots on net. Their offense is averaging 31.8 shots on goal per game, but its not the first shot they get you with, its the second, and the third. Rebound control will be a key to this series for Scott Greenham and the Nanooks defense.

Speaking of defense, Western's got a pretty good one, too; backstopped by a solid goaltender in Nick Pisellini, a sophomore who played his juniors with the Chicago Steel in the USHL. Nick sat behind Riley Gill list year and studied the position and the college game, and with the defense now built around him, the Broncos have given up just 2.45 goals per game this season, that's a pretty solid improvement from last year at 2.89. But, there is a twist. The 'Nooks may not even see Pisellini this weekend, as backup Jerry Kuhn has been hot as of late. The senior netminder received kudos from the CCHA head office as an honorable mention for player of the month for keeping the Union Dutchmen in check in their last series, allowing two goals in 43 shots during the sweep, good for a .953 save percentage against a top 3 scoring offense averaging 4.06 goals per game coming into that series. Kuhn is 3-1 as a starter, and has played rather solidly in relief of Pisellini, who has had some rough games coupled with an injury as of late. Blashill has gone on record to say that Pisellini would return after the break, but that was before Kuhn's role in the "Dutchmen Domination". Who will get the start? I suppose we'll find out Friday.

Stepping back from this weekend's series a bit, let's take a look at what incoming head coach Jeff Blashill has done. After departing a dominant program in Miami under Enrico Blasi, Jeff has come to the Broncos' rescue. In just his first season, he's already surpassed the win total from a year ago, with the other half of the season yet to be played. With largely the same roster, it all comes down to schemes and strategies. Now I haven't had a chance to see a full game of theirs yet, just a few highlights of their goals, but I can tell you that they play a lot tighter against the opposing defense and like I said before, get pucks and bodies on the net and try to punch it in. Blashill has indubitably improved their defense, but how his strategy differs from the mid zone collapsing defense from a year ago, I don't know. If I ask him, I wonder what kind of answer I would get... But anyway, another point of improvement worth noting is their power play. 34.6% of Western's total goal production has come with a man advantage, and they're fairly efficient at converting their opportunities, too.

This is going to be at least 120 minutes of solid hockey, battling for 6 points. Both teams are pretty evenly matched, statistically. But I'll give the advantage to the 'Nooks on home ice. Last season, the 'Nooks went 0-1-1-1 in Kalamazoo and will be looking to take more than just 2 out of 6 points this time around.

All said and done, the 'Nooks will take care of business. In a three way tie for fourth, and four points removed from third-place Miami, the guys need to hit the ground running out of the gate to start the second half.

Nanooks sweep, 2-0 & 3-1 respectively.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where Are They Now?

Happy New Year, everyone. With the new year ringing in, a lot of us are thinking about where we are going in the next year, and what we are doing with our lives. While that's all fine and good, I'll take the time to find out where some of the players we used to watch every week have gone with their lives.

While the current 'Nooks get back to practice and start prepping for the second half of the season, here is a bit of an update on some of the past players who have moved on to other leagues around the world. But first, since we are talking about former Nanooks, a bit of unfortunate news.

Sophomore blueliner Justin Daigle has been formally dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules earlier this week. Justin had been battling an injury after an unfortunate spill in practice earlier this season. Losing Daigle shortens the defensive bench to 7 players. With Bryant Molle serving his senior season, and 2 freshmen defensemen in Justin Tateson and Nolan Kaiser slated to suit up next year, the 'Nooks will continue with 7 defensemen on the roster, 4 of them being seniors.

No details will publicly surface about Justin's dismissal due to student privacy rules, but if there was a lesson to be learned, hopefully he learned it. With the dismissal, Justin will forfeit the remainder of this year's NCAA eligibility. Now, he could sign with another school, but he would have to sit out from competition for an academic year, and be a full-time student at his new school during that time. So the earliest that he could make an active roster is the second half of next season. That is, if another school decides to pick him up, and he goes to school there for this upcoming semester.

But anyhow, on to some more players who once donned the Nanooks jersey. In no particular order...

Dion Knelsen, Forward
Sparta Warriors (Sarpsborg, Norway), GET-Ligaen
In Dion's first season with Sparta, he's already among the league leaders in point totals witha 18-21-39 scoring line in 28 games played. He is second among North American players in the league, trailing 27 year old USA native, and former Minnesota Gopher star Gino Guyer. Of Dion's 18 goals, 3 of them were scored last night in a 6-1 victory over the Rosenborg Elite, put the Warriors at 23-0-5 so far this season, and number one in the league. Oh yeah, remember that sick shootout goal to win the Goal Rush against RPI? Apparently that backhand toe drag works in Europe, too...

Tyler Eckford, Defense
New Jersey Devils, NHL
Tyler took a second stint in the show this year, logging four games with the New Jersey Devils in relief to from October 29th-November 3rd before returning to New Jersey's AHL affiliate Albany. The former Nanook All-American has logged 28 games with the Albany Devils thus far, with a 2-10-12 scoring line, 6th best on the Devils roster, 1st among defensemen. Tyler's last goal came in a 4-3 OT win over the Norfolk Admirals on December 17th.

Jordan Hendry, Defense
Chicago Blackhawks, NHL
Stanley Cup winner Jordan Hendry is still rolling with the Blackhawks. After some off-season moves that sent some of his former teammates out of Chicago, Jordan's contract was renewed for another year. Despite success at the defensive position, the Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has rotated Hendry in on the Blackhawks' fourth offensive line, plugging him at right wing on numerous occasions. Jordan was a +1 in last nights 3-5 loss to San Jose. Jordan has logged one goal this season, in a tilt also with San Jose back on December 11th.

Aaron Lee, Forward
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, CHL
After graduation, Aaron Lee departed for the Central Hockey League and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Over the past three seasons, the Killer Bees alternate captain has logged 159 career games, with a 46-55-101 point total and a +7 overall rating. During his time there, he has played with other former Nanooks, such as Darcy Campbell, Ryan McLeod, and Wylie Rogers.

Chad Johnson, Goalie
Connecticut Whale, AHL
Chad has done as well as anyone could have hoped in the pros. Since my last update, "Dos Nueve" has helped lead the Connecticut Whale (formerly the Hartford Wolf Pack) back among the top of their conference. Chad has posted great numbers this season, with a .907 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average, along with a shutout. While his stats aren't the best in the league, they are quite impressive considering the style of offensive strategy they use with their defensemen. They take a lot of chances, which results in more odd-man rushes the other way. Chad has had to make 30+ saves in 10 games so far this season. Fortunately, they score more goals than they allow, which is kind of the point, right?

Kyle Greentree, Forward
Hershey Bears, AHL
Electing to forego his senior year at UAF, Kyle left after the 2006-2007 season signing an entry level free agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, being assigned to their AHL affilliate club, the Philadelphia Phantoms for the remainder of the 06-07 season. The following year, he would go on to score 24 goals and 48 points in 72 games played for the Phantoms. During which, he would get the call up to the show, playing two games with the Flyers for his NHL debut, however, he would remain absent from the stat sheet. After a season each at Quad City and Rockford, Kyle finds himself in Hershey, the Capitals AHL affiliate. Kyle sits second on the team in points, with a 15-16-31 scoring line in 31 games played, good for 18th best in the league. Number 37 also scored his 200th career AHL point this past week with his second goal in a 2 goal and 1 assist game against Binghamton on December 28th. And on an unrelated note, he still likes to make his presence known...

Yes, I know this isn't all the major players we've ever had, but its just a few that I've been following as of late. Want an update on someone else? Tell me who in the comments...