Friday, November 7, 2014

Sanctions, Parent's Weekend, and Bowling Green

Well I had a piece started about the Bowling Green series until this whole NCAA sanctions thing came down on us and totally screwed everything up. I don't understand what it is about that horrid organization and imposing sanctions on schools just to make an example out of them. There are too many cases of larger schools with far worse infractions getting far fewer penalties over the course of decades than Alaska got with these sanctions. By now I'm sure you've all seen the news that the NCAA has already imposed sanctions including a postseason ban on infractions that the university has already self-reported and disciplined themselves. Furthermore it was determined that victories with ineligible players participation from 2007 thru 2012 will be vacated. This includes two Governors cup championships as well as the team's only NCAA tournament appearance in 2010.

Could there be an appeal? Well yes, but the university has to prove abuse of discretionary power on behalf of the NCAA. And UAF has to prove that by November 26th. If you read the entire 44 page summary of the charges and infractions that were posted yesterday, you will see that they have a past precedent of similar charges at a similar school called Hobart college back in 2011. The case notes similar infractions over the course of 14 years with ineligible players participating in competition yet only received a postseason ban of one year.

Effectively, that makes the final two games against ACC this season, the 'Nooks playoffs. The WCHA's regular season title, the MacNaughton Cup, is still up for grabs as well. So there is still lots to play for. It just means that every regular season game counts that much more. Does it relieve some of the pressure on the team? Perhaps. The program's creed has always been Work Ethic and Commitment. And that counts today more than ever.

Bowling Green comes in this week with a nearly identical record at 5-2-1, coming off a split with MSU Mankato at home. But I think the most interesting thing looking at their season and their roster is sophomore forward Kevin Dufour. Who has 9 points in 8 games--all goals. Only one other player has more than 3.

Goaltending and defense will likely be the battle to watch for tonight. Bowling Green has split time pretty evenly between three solid goaltenders, who all have pretty good numbers. Nanooks have had some struggles recently between Sean Cahill and Davis Jones. Today was the first luncheon in a while that the starting goalie wasn't already decided. John Keeney has not starting a game yet, so perhaps he gets a go.

It is also parent's weekend as well! I've taken pride in meeting several of the player's parents over the years, so if you as fans get to meet some of the folks around the rink this weekend (you'll know them by their name tags and their son/grandson/brother listed) don't be afraid to talk with them and introduce yourselves. Welcome them to Fairbanks!

It was also noted in the luncheon that Nolan Youngmun got injured during practice before the Bemidji series, and will not be available until mid-December.

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