Sunday, March 8, 2015

Nanooks Sweep, Bring Home Governor's Cup for 6th Straight Time

What a weekend. So incredibly proud of the guys for overcoming adversity, coming into Anchorage down 2-0 in the series and getting a sweep in their barn and a shootout win to keep the hardware where it belongs. 

Game 2 was incredibly fun to watch tonight as the Nanooks dropped the hammer and set the tone in the 1st period, outshooting the Seawolves 20-5 in the first stanza. But with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard, it remained a one shot game into the second period. 

Zach Frye was confined to the penalty box for the first 1:57 of the second due to a checking from behind minor in front of the Nanook net. A good penalty in my mind as the Seawolves would have had a 2 on 0 opportunity after forcing a turnover on the forecheck. The Nanooks were holding the Seawolves power play at bay when Brandon Morley made a great play to chip the puck out of the zone. He got the first read on it and made a B-Line (see what I did there...) to the offensive zone to retrieve it. He collected it behind the goal line and found Tayler Munson to break the scoreless tie whilst shorthanded.

Just over a minute later, Krieger won the draw over to Munson after he got waved out of the faceoff circle. Got the puck over to the far side point to Trevor Campbell who made a nice read of the traffic in front and sent the puck through which took a fortunate bounce off the skate of UAA forward Blake Lease before finding the twine. 

The 3rd Nanooks goal tonight is probably my favorite of the weekend. With about 5 and a half to play in the 2nd, Alec Hajdukovich goes on a forechecking rampage. He picked off an outlet pass on the breakout, and then forced another turnover before making a nice feed to Erickson who realizes he has time in the slot and rips it home top shelf, all they up by the Thin Mints.  Up 3-rip at this point, things were looking pretty good for the guys in blue. Cahill had some seriously good saves this weekend. Including a snaring glove on a desperation jump to close the back door on a chance by Cameron in the 2nd. 

But UAA would finally crack the scoreless draught 95 minutes and 43 seconds into this weekend series. Tad Kozun would be the benefactor of being in the right place at the right time, collecting a rebound off of an Austin Azurdia shot to put UAA on the board for the first time of the weekend. 

Then Azurdia would make things a bit interesting as he took a shot from the weirdest angle and find its way in. I didn't see the shot from about 140 feet away amidst all the bodies, but it definitely went in. 

The Seawolves tried to keep coming too, but the Nanooks stymied nearly every entry attempt, and picked off several passes in the latter stages of the 3rd period to not even give them a sniff at the goal as the clock expired. 

But the Governor's Cup is still to be determined by the ensuing shootout. A feat which has now occurred 7 times in the history of the trophy. The Seawolves used their advantage to shoot first, which Tad Kozun rang off the left goal post. Tyler Morley cashed in on a great deke past Mantha for ultimately the championship winner as Cahill came up big on the final two shooters, including senior Scott Allen who had to score to keep it going, which Cahill promptly denied as the festivities ensued. Including Colton Parayko charging his own goaltender. Feet came off the ice, by all accounts a 5 minute major. But instead he'll hoist the Governor's Cup for the 6th straight time. 

This weekend marks the first time the Nanooks have swept the Seawolves in Anchorage as far back as the history books online allow me to search, also yesterday was the first time in 10 years the Nanooks have shutout the Seawolves in their barn. 

To our seniors, thank you immensely for leading this team through the season. With the sanctions, it would have been very easy to write this season off with nothing to play for.  But you didn't. Through all of the ups and downs, you guys lead this team to an 8 game unbeaten streak, the longest in the entire country to close out the season and end your careers. Playoffs or not, you're leaving as champions. 

To Colton Parayko, please stay. If the Blues call and you head to the show, I won't be upset. But I can only imagine what next year holds with you still patrolling the 'Nooks blue line. 

And to my wife, thank you so much for this trip. Best birthday present a guy can ask for. 

I will post some of the amazing photos I've seen tomorrow, and will be taking a few weeks hiatus before my final write up of the season. 

From the runway in Fairbanks, GO 'NOOKS!


Avery Palchikoff said...

I 2nd that Parayko don't go yet. Get us back to the NCAA tournament. I have no better nanook hockey memory then Andy Taranto smashing in that rebound in Worcester to tie it up 1-1..

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