Thursday, November 04, 2010

10 Things to Know About Alaska


2. They come into this weekend 5-2-1 on the season (2-1-1-1 in the CCHA). They're unblemished in their home rink, however, having won all four games on the big ice at the Carlson Center (and they're unbeaten in their last 11 home games). They swept BGSU, lost to FYS and beat them in a shootout, beat CC, Union, and Air Force, and lost to North Dakota. They're #15 in both polls.

3. Despite the solid record, they've struggled a little bit to score goals. They beat BGSU twice last weekend by 4-1 margins, but only scored 7 goals in their previous five games. That said, they've given up more than one goal just one time in their last 6. That team always has a friggin' goalie.

4. Said friggin' goalie is still junior Scott Greenham. He has played every minute for the Nanooks so far this year and has a 1.73 goals against (7th nationally) and a .928 save percentage (19th nationally). Our Bryan Hogan is actually top 5 in goals against and 7th in save percentage. Last year, Greenham shut out the Wolverines in the season opener, but gave up three goals in each of his other two appearances. In the first of those two, he got the hook after twenty minutes.

5. The offense is led by senior captain Kevin Petovello, who has 5-5--10 in 8 games. He has already exceeded last year's point total and is well on his way to establishing career highs in goals, assists, and points. (He had 6-12--18 as a sophomore.) Freshman Cody Kunyk has four goals. Joe Sova has chipped in six assists from the blueline, to lead the team.

6. They're tied for 36th in offense in this young season, with 20 goals in eight games. Defensively, they're #2, giving up just 1.75 goals per game. BC is the only team that has been better.

7. They're #16 overall in penalty minutes, averaging 16.5 a night. Michigan has actually fallen back into the teens. We're at 19.9 minutes per game now, #4 nationally. Woot! The power play is middle of the pack at 18.2%. Actually, for as good of a defensive team as they are, they're middle of the pack on the PK as well--28th at 82.9%. They've only given up 14 goals all season, but half have been when they are short-handed. Their PK was actually at 77% before they went 10 for 10 last weekend against BGSU. Their power play has 6 PPGs on the year, but four game last weekend against the Falcons. They were languishing at 9% prior to that series.

8. Defenseman Aaron Gens was CCHA Defensive Player of the Week last week, and Kunyk was Rookie of the Week. Gens had 1-2--3 including a GWG. Kunyk had 1-3--4. The Nanook special teams really were the story last weekend. It sounds like they dominated both games, but really took it to the Falcons when they weren't playing 5 on 5. Even shorthanded, at one point they outshot BGSU 2-0 when BGSU had a five minute power play.

9. Not gonna lie, I really like their yellow jerseys. I really like BGSU's throwback look too, actually. The games will be shown the B2Network this weekend. Each game is $7. They'll faceoff at 11:05 pm EDT.

10. Michigan is 39-8-1 all-time against the Nanooks, We're 16-4-0 at Alaska's home rink. The last meeting between these teams was the first time a game has gone to overtime in the 48 game history of the series. This will be just the third series where both teams have come into the weekend ranked. The last time was in 2005. In both cases, the teams split the series. Michigan won the first 18 meetings. Since then, we haven't won more than 4 in a row. Michigan is 3-2-1 in the last six. Louie Caporusso has 2-5--7 in eight games against Alaska. Rust has five assists. Bryan Hogan has gone 3-1-1 with a 1.58 goals against and a .923 save percentage.

I'm expecting a couple of low-ish scoring games, though only three games in the history of the series have featured fewer than three goals. Prior to Greenham's shutout in the opener last year, you have to go back almost a decade. Alaska has never gone back-to-back games without losing to the Wolverines, so that bodes well for Friday night since we tied the last contest.

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