Friday, March 1, 2013

The 20th Annual Governor's Cup - Going for the Senior Sweep

In the 20th installment of the annual Governor's Cup, what I consider as the greatest rivalry in college hockey is renewed once again. Every year, each home-and-home series has brought its own dash of drama and sent each set of seniors away with memories that last a lifetime. This year is no different. The seven seniors on this Nanooks squad have never had to watch anybody in a green jersey lift that cup above their heads. And they are all thirsty to raise that cup one last time in front of Anchorage's home crowd.

The 'Nooks are 11-8 so far in this series, the year-by-year results appear in the graphic above. 3 years ago, faced with the exact opposite circumstance, the Nanooks' senior class of 2010 had never had a chance to raise that cup victoriously. While that year's class was particularly small (Brandon and Dion Knelsen, Cody Rymut, and Dustin Molle), the moment still meant a lot. And after a particularly impressive 5-1 win over Lake Superior to complete the sweep, now-senior then-freshman Jarret Granberg made his appearance in the post-game press conference after scoring the game's first goal.

And after the media (including myself) put everyone through the ringer of questions, News 13's Jaime Schwartzwald asked Granny to peek ahead at the Governor's Cup series and talk about what this is like for a freshman coming into the series. Now, I don't have audio or video of this question--this is completely from memory that has stuck with me ever since... He came back and said (paraphrasing here), "It's a big rivalry, and I know the seniors are really excited to come out and get this one. They've never gotten their hands on the cup before, and they've made it clear how much it means to them, the team, and the community. I'm excited to get out there and do everything I can to make that happen."  I'm sure that's not word for word, but the impact of that statement has stuck with me for three years now, and Jarret and his classmates get to push for what only 7 others have been able to accomplish: having their names etched into the Governor's Cup 4 times...

With the tables now turned, the Seapups' seniors have only been able to watch along the boards as the Nanooks have posed for pictures with the hardware while leaving the ice. And two players will miss this series as Jordan Kwas and Austin Coldwell who have combined for a total of 5 assists all time versus the Nanooks will be out with various injuries. Jordan Kwas is in his senior season, is second on the team in points (9-11-20) and is the number one power play scorer for ACC with 5 goals.

This is the best weekend in college hockey, bar none. The entire state of Alaska clings to this series and everyone knows who won the Governor's Cup once all is said and done. As per tradition, UAF is organizing another bus trip with two full motor coaches that will be loaded up with over 100 students to watch their Nanooks play over 300 miles away.

For the 20th time, this... is the Governor's Cup...

Stay tuned in to the blog and to my Twitter feed for updates throughout the weekend. I will be flying down to Anchorage on Saturday afternoon just in time for the 1st Annual UAF/UAA Alumni game, which will be at 2PM at the Sullivan. Be sure to check that out!

Go 'Nooks!

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