Tag: alaska

Series Preview: Lake Superior State AT Alaska

 

Alaska: 4-10-2

LSSU: 7-6-1

 

Striking Iron

It was just a few short weeks ago that the Nanooks and Lakers faced each other for the first time this season, where the Nanooks got not only their first win of the year, but the first sweep (albeit with an official tie). Since then they’ve split with Alabama-Huntsville, were swept against Michigan Tech and swept Ferris State. Last week against the Bulldogs marked the start of a three week stretch for the Nanooks of home games before travelling back south to Bemidji.

 

The top three scorers consist of Steven Jandric, Colton Leiter and Chris Jandric, all of whom have 10 points each, with Jandric having 3 game winning goals. Junior netminder Anton Martinsson has started in 10 of Alaska’s 18 games, losing all but two of them, with the two being ties. Freshman Gustavs Grigals has given them all four of their straight wins.

 

Expected Results

In the last two series, the Lakers have won 1 of 4 games, that being against U.P rivals Northern Michigan, where they currently lead in goal differential of +1, with the Cappo Cup series currently tied, and won’t reach it’s conclusion until the second to last series in February. Last weekend’s series against #3 Minnesota-State Mankato went about how I expected, a sweep in favor of the Mavericks. They’re playing at a completely different level than the rest of the league (without having seen Tech play yet), and certainly deserve to be in consideration for #1 in the country.

Nellis, Cuglietta and Torrel still lead the team in scoring, with Anthony Nellis running away with 15 points. Colin Saccoman and Jacob Nordqvist earned WCHA honors for November, those being Defenseman of the Month and Rookie of the Month respectively. Saccoman is certainly an important piece on the Laker’s backend. Nordqvist, a freshman defenseman, is looking to be that next anchor piece on the blueline after Sacco. Congrats to those two! In goal, Kossoff has pretty much run away with the starter, having a 5-2-1 record compared to Mitens 2-4-0 record.

There will be a lot for the Lakers to deal with this week: Travelling across the country, the jetlag, maybe actual polar bears and moose. But the Carlson Center features an Olympic sized sheet of ice. With our slate of international players, managing this should be easier than it has in the past, as most international leagues use the large sheet. 

 

The games this weekend start at 11:07pm local time, or 7:07pm Alaska time. 99.5 YesFM will have a feed, both locally over the air and online at  YesFM.net and on TuneIn. I am not sure if it will be Bill Crawford, Matt Pocket or if we will be hearing Alaska’s feed like we normally do. And like every weekend, FloHockey, the official streaming service of the WCHA will be carrying the game. As of now, I am unaware of any viewing parties, probably due to the late start time.

Series Preview: University of Alaska at LSSU

 

Alaska: 0-7-1

LSSU: 5-1-0

 

Bad Intros and Bad Scoring

(Seriously, look up the Nanook’s old intro video).

Alaska has had a very tough schedule to open their season which has only allowed them to score 9 points in 8 games. Their top three in scoring have a total of11 points between them, and only 3 goals. After lighting up Simon Fraser for 13, the Nanooks have faced Arizona State, #5 St. Cloud State, #9 Denver & #7 Minnesota State on the road, save for St. Cloud, which was played in Fairbanks.

This week, they travel to the lower 48 yet again to Sault Sainte Marie. They bring in 10 Freshman, with only 4 seniors returning this season. Their head coach is a man named Erik Largen, who previously coached for Marian down in Division III hockey, where he went 18-4-4.

The University of Alaska skates on a large Olympic sized ice sheet at home, so they are nearly always a good skating team, and with all the traveling they’ve done as part of the early season, they are a team that the Lakers can’t underestimate. Hell, they only lost to Denver in regulation once, losing in Overtime that Saturday night.

 

All Aboard The Hype Train!

The Lakers have started their year out at 5-1, losing last Saturday to their former CCHA rivals, Michigan and their head coach Mel Pearson. They’ll be looking to built that momentum, and on paper, there doesn’t seem much that Alaska can really do to slow it down, but the team has to give it their all.

The Laker’s scoring leaders are led by two seniors, Anthony Nellis (5-5-10) and Gage Torrel(0-7-7), followed closely by upstart freshman Jacob Nordqvist (1-5-6). Add in Hampus Eriksson, and you have 4 point-per-game players.

The goaltending save % looks good for both Mitens and Kossoff, at .933 and .900 respectively. Their Goals Against Average is a bit subpar, as they’ve been getting peppered with shots. Whoever stands in net this weekend will have to try and stay awake and not let any soft goals in.

 

Puck drops both nights at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally at 99.5 YESfm, or online at www.yesfm.net or on TuneIn. You can see the action yourself at the Taffy Abel Arena, or online at Flohockey.tv.

Alaska @ Lake Superior State – Series Preview

 

Alaska: 2016: 12-20-4. 2017: 4-10-2

LSSU: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 3-8-3

 

Bearing Down

Coming off of a tough 5-4 OT loss Friday night against the Huskies of Michigan Tech, and a Saturday night game that they’d rather forget, a 5-1 loss to MTU, the Alaska Nanooks return to Sault Sainte Marie for a two game stretch, albeit with one less player.

Junior defenseman Jack Weiss was given a one game suspension after a contact to the head call made against the player in Saturday night’s game. The defenseman has skated for only four games this season and currently only has a single goal with no assists. Despite only skating for four games, he has enough penalty minutes to come in second for most penalized player on the team, well behind senior defenseman Zach Frye.

Backstopping the team this season are a duo of sophomores, with the lead workhorse being the Sweade Anton Martinsson, with 13 games played and posting a GAA of 3.16 and SV% of .895.

Turning Up The Heat

The Lakers are in a tough spot coming off of 6-0 showing against the USNTDP U-18s last Saturday. While the team gets back star sophomore defenseman Colin Saccoman, there were a few players missing from the exhibition game and are rumored to be injured: forwards Brayden Gelsinger and Jake Hand and defenseman & captain Aiden Wright. This is in addition to Lukas Kaelble still being out and losing C.J. Hayes to the SPHL.

Despite the injuries and losses, the Lakers will have to use this win as a springboard for the rest of the season. The rest of the first half certainly doesn’t get any easier, as the #8 Minnesota State-Mankato comes to town next weekend, and the Lakers travel to Houghton to take on the Huskies the weekend of the 15th/16th. For the final weekend of the year, they will travel to Pittsburgh for the Three Rivers Classic to take on the hosts Robert Morris University, and one of either Arizona State or Providence, who is currently ranked #9 in the country (and this reporter will be at PPG Paints Arena for the tournament).

One of the keys for the remainder of 2017, and really for the season, is to stop taking stupid penalties and making easy mistakes. The top two penalty-getters couldn’t be any different. Matt McArdle has taken 10 penalties in 14 games for a total of 23 minutes. Max Humitz has taken two less penalties  but has 27 minutes.  The Lakers have a broken D-corp at the moment, so having a defenseman in the box isn’t ideal, nor is the top goal-getter of the team.

 

Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights, and can be heard locally on 99.5  YesFM in the Sault, online at www.yesfm.net , or you can watch online at WCHA.tv.

Series Preview: Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State

Alaska Anchorage – 2016: 7-21-6 2017: 0-5-1

Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 1-5-2

 

Preying Mathas

There are two things each of these two teams have in common this season: their record and starting goalie.  Alaska Anchorage has started senior Olivier Mantha in all six of their games this season where he has faced 216 shots in 356:05 minutes in net, which is good for #13 in the country for shots faced (Nick Kossoff of the Lakers sits at #15, with 211 shots faced in 321:43 minutes in net). Despite the scores and records, Mantha is having a pretty good year with such a tough schedule. They opened up at home against NCHC powerhouse North Dakota, forcing a 1-1 tie. The Sea Wolves lost in overtime the next night 3-2, allowing 4 goals in 78 shots. The next weekend they travelled to Colorado College to take on the Tigers. They lost 6-1 and 3-2 on the weekend, that Saturday night score is impressive, considering that the Tigers are now 5-2 on the season, splitting games with some really good teams. If Mantha was backstopping a more competitive team in the conference, like a Michigan Tech or Mankato (I would say Bemidji, but trying to decide between Bitzer and Mantha would be an impossible decision), I think that the WCHA could bring home a national championship.

But the rest of the team is another story. They have not allowed as many goals or shots on goal, but as a team they are sitting with the lowest Corsi For % in even strength & “close” , and for the overall totals. Lake State does sit right above them, however.

(Lake) Superior State of Sorrow

This season has not lived up to our expectations. They have been outshot 195 to 70 in the last two weekends, with two periods (one each weekend) only having a single shot on net. There seems to be a few injuries on the blue line, but that doesn’t really excuse the excessive shots on net.

The Lakers lead the nation on shots on goal against, with 332 (UAA had 219). This is dead last in the nation, ahead of Arizona State by 45 SOG. In contrast they only shot the puck on net 166 times (UAA has 150). In case you didn’t notice it, that is 2:1 SOGA:SOGF.

We’ve talked about it as a group here at Laker Hockey Blog but despite it only being the 9th and 10th  game of the year for the Lakers, and 7th & 8th games of the year for UAA, it feels like a must win series for both teams if they want to 1) make the playoffs and 2) build momentum to turn their seasons around since the rest of the season will not get any easier for both teams.

I think it’s pretty obvious what the key to success is this weekend for the Lakers: Get shots on net and limit shot attempts from the Sea Wolves. Basic hockey. This is the time for fundamentals, not fancy drop passes, zone entries or clears.

Look for this game to be one of:

  • High scoring
  • High SOG
  • A exercise in futility

No matter which team you will be rooting for this weekend, I think we may all agree that copious amounts of alcohol will be required to get through it.

This slugfest can be seen locally at the Taffy Abel Arena, with both Friday and Saturday night games starting at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at  www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.