Saturday, October 5, 2013

Game Day: The Nanooks Host the UBC Thunderbirds in Carlson Center Opener

Game Day


Alaska Nanooks vs UBC Thunderbirds
5:37PM AKST - Carlson Center, Fairbanks, AK

Live | Live AudioKCBF 820 Sports

Live Internet Video ($8): AmericaOne | Radio: 820 AM Fairbanks

Twitter: @NanookHockey

Tonight, the UBC Thunderbirds venture to Fairbanks to take on the Nanooks. Last night, the Thunderbirds faced off against our friends down south as ACC required two power goals to defeat UBC 2-1, including a goal on a 5 minute major penalty. 621 Anchorage fans packed the new 750-seat Wells Fargo Center to witness the victory.

Penalties were rampant last night, with 14 total being called. Anchorage took 9 for 18, while UBC had 5 for 21 including the 5 minute major accompanied by the misconduct. Officials are trying to make the game as clean as possible, I get that. But the game is an exhibition, and the officials will likely be more strict to set the tone for the regular season. So be prepared if some of the calls are a But after finishing last season 4th in the nation with an 89.9 percent penalty kill, practice makes perfect.

It should also be noted that UBC scored the only even strength goal of the night last night, either indicating that UBC's defense and goaltender are really good. Or Anchorage's offense/defense, not so good. Shots for the evening were 28-25, with a slight edge for ACC.

On the Thunderbirds, they finished with their best season in Canada West last year under head coach Milan Dragicevic before falling to the Calgary Dinos in the quarterfinals. Finishing 18-14-3 last season, they gave Denver and Colorado College a run for their money in their respective exhibitions last year. then-#8 Denver tied 2-2 last season before Colorado College (20th at the time) edged a 3-1 win over UBC in Colorado Springs. Air Force was not so lucky.

The moral of the story is, UBC is clearly competitive. My fun jabs at UAA aside, UBC is clearly a skilled hockey team with some key players, some with connections to guys on the Nanooks' roster but I'll get to that in a bit. During the offseason UBC added Nick Buonassisi to their roster, citing good offensive speed with an aggressive forecheck. Last night, that paid off as his linemate Matt Wray made a play to keep the play alive in the offensive zone on Jordan Kwas then Nick made a pass (admittedly aided by a favorable bounce) to Greg Fraser for the goal. Doyle Woody--who's journalistic opinions I actually value--also praised UBC goalie Matt Hewitt's 26 stops in the loss.


If you didn't see my tweets earlier this week, head coach Dallas Ferguson has named the captains for this season tapping Colton Beck to lead the team as the 2013-2014 Captain. Fellow seniors Cody Kunyk, and Michael Quinn will don the 'A', as well sophomore defenseman Colton Parayko.


Just like seasons past, you can't play a Canadian team without a few connections. Just for what I could easily find from their roster,

  • UBC forward Jessi Hilton played two seasons with Kunyk for the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the AJHL.
  • Marcus Toye and Justin Tateson played two seasons together on Drumheller Dragons in the AJHL.
  • Nanooks defenceman Nolan Kaiser played with UBC forwards Matt Wray and Cole Wilson for Camrose in the AJHL.

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