Alaska Nanooks vs Michigan State Spartans
7:05PM AKST - Carlson Center, Fairbanks, Alaska
Live Video ($7): AmericaOneSports.com | Radio: 820 AM Fairbanks
I apologize for the lack of material from me this past week. Going through a long week of travel to New York and back has made for some interesting challenges. I've had to reshuffle a lot with the class that I teach as well, so time has not been on my side this week. And with Hockey Week in Fairbanks going on, a lot of my spare time has been spent in the community enjoying this wonderful sport with everyone. I didn't get to watch or listen to any of the Lake Superior series last weekend, and honestly I'm not regretting that decision after seing the results...
But on to the series at hand, this is a bit of a bittersweet weekend for the Nanooks. A lot of fun and festivities around this series, but when you get down to it this is the final two game series the Nanooks will ever play in the CCHA. I know I've been talking about it ever since the beginning of the season but to realize now that this moment is finally here is kind of an awkward feeling.
Anyway, I don't think its any secret that Michigan State is not having the kind of year you would expect. Two of the winningest teams in conference history are deadlocked in last two places in the conference with four games left to play.
The Spartans themselves are the lowest scoring team in the CCHA this season, but have been able to hang around in games with herculean games from stud freshman goaltender Jake Hildebrand. He's been consistently one of the best goaltenders in the country, but his cohorts on the other end of the ice have to score more goals than they allow which is proving to be more difficult than it sounds. The Nanooks have had that problem in years past, but now as the second highest scoring offense in the conference, they 'Nooks now have the opposite problem as the second worst scoring defense. Kinda funny how that works.
For the 'Nooks, definitely time to turn this ship in the right direction. After sweeping January, the 'Nooks are 1-5 in their last 6 games, which have pulled them off of everyone's radar for the NCAA national tournament. In the last CCHA series now, it looks as if Michigan State might be making this same trip here again in two weeks if things shake out that way. Back to this series, John Keeney will get the start tonight in goal after getting pulled last weekend at Lake Superior. Hopefully that was his mulligan for the season and he gets refocused for the rest of this stretch into the playoffs.
Remember to follow me on Twitter for game updates, including lines for the Nanooks tonight. There's a little preview bar along the right side of the blog as well which will feed updates to the blog throughout the game.