The guys have made it to Bemidji, Minnesota for the final series of 2013 as they get set to take on the Beavers in their home rink, the Sanford Center, tonight and tomorrow. Alaska coming off a split, including their first win in the last 6 hoping to build momentum going into the break. Bemidji salvaged a pair of ties to a Michigan Tech team that seemed to outplay them a bit both nights.
Bemidji is a new team for me. I have not yet watched them play a full game, however I did catch the final period and one overtime win they had against Lake Superior State the weekend I was on the road with the 'Nooks in Ferris State. Bemidji is a solid team, they play strong in the neutral zone, not real fast in transition but methodical--they don't seem to make a lot of mistakes. Seems like their big downfall though is puck movement in the offensive zone, finding the passing lanes and getting guys open. These opinions/assumptions are based on about 40 minutes total of watching them play, these are merely just observations.
From the Nanooks side, I liked the way they played Saturday's game against Anchorage. They were aggressive, physical, and they attacked early. When they came out of the gate like that, the 'Nooks buried two goals on 'em early, and were outshooting 8-1 11 minutes into the game. The penalty trouble aside, the 'Nooks owned them early and late. If the guys can stay out of the box, and keep the same energy, they can take over the game.
Bemidji's scoring is pretty evenly spread, save for one forward who 13 points--11 of which are goals. Cory Ward, a sophomore is second in the WCHA in conference goal scoring with 8. He's also tied with Cody Kunyk in goals scored overall with 11. Could be an interesting kid to keep your eye on this weekend.
A pivotal series for the Nanooks if you ask me. No secret that they have struggled recently, but I'm hoping that slump is over. They looked solid in Anchorage. And if they can get it together, get a big sweep here to go into the break, they could be staged for a second half run and get themselves back into this thing. A 4 point weekend would get the 'Nooks up to 10 points in a possible tie with Anchorage and with 2 games in hand.
No word on goalies for today. With Saturday's performance, I can assume Cahill will get the nod. Jones has not gotten a start in a while either, but I think coach Ferg would stick with Cahill. More on that later.
Tonight's game will be broadcast live on Fox 7 in Fairbanks, in addition to WCHA TV