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.


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...