Blue v. Gold hockey game gears up Fairbanks fans for the season

Justin Tateson signs autographs for two young fans after the Blue v. Gold game. Sept. 29th, 2012. Lauren Fisher / Sun Star Reporter

Lauren Fisher/Sun Star Reporter
October 2, 2012

The first Hockey match of the season was an exhibition game between UAF Gold and UAF Blue in the Patty Center on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.

Colton Beck, a junior studying business administration at UAF, was responsible for the two points that earned the Blue team victory over Gold.  He was assisted by Cody Kunyk for his first score at 12:40 in the first half. Nik Yaremchuk assisted Beck for his second point at 18:12 first half.  Gold kept a strong defense for the rest of the first half, leaving the Blue team in the lead 2-0 at the buzzer.

At half-time, the Nanooks competed against each other in several skill events.  Beck skated hard to add a victory in the fastest skate contest to his two points.  Chad Gehon was close behind him in the final race, but was beaten by less than a second.

The Gold team had a great show in the shootout contest, scoring 5 points against the Blue team’s goalies.  Blue team member Sean Cahill still proved himself the best of the goalies, stopping 4 of 7 shots against him.

The crowd made their own competition out of guessing how fast the slap shots were going during the hardest shot contest. Justin Tateson and Nolan Kaiser tied each other, each making shots timed at 100 miles per hour.  In the tie-breaker, Tateson prevailed with a 98 mph shot, topping Kaiser’s 97 mph shot.

In the second half, both teams fought hard and held their own until the end when Alec Hajdukovich, a business administration student, scored for Gold at 24:00. Colton Parayko assisted. No more progress was made that half, giving Blue the win.

The teams were coached by two guest coaches from Ft. Wainwright.  Colonels Brian Reed and Ronald Johnson were asked to coach after the Nanooks went to Ft. Wainwright on Sept. 14 to work with the men on team building.  The players were assigned difficult tasks that were meant to strengthen their bond.

The Nanooks were glad to have spent time working with the U.S. Military.  “They’re truly an inspiration to us,” said Andy Taranto, who played for the Gold.  “We’re pretty privileged to have worked with them,” said Kaare Odegard, a senior with the Nanooks.  Chad Gehon, also a senior, said that it gave them a new perspective on how to work as a team.

The Nanooks Hockey team has been donating jerseys, signed pictures and gear to the Wounded Warrior Project and supporting the U.S. Military for several years.  “I really appreciate the partnership between the Nanooks and the Army,” Reed said.  “The high point was spending time with these guys.”

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