Nanooks Hockey Falls Flat against Bemidji State
Aaron Walling / Sun Star
The Alaska Nanooks Hockey team has had a very challenging season against a score of nationally ranked opponents. This past weekend, the Nanooks couldn’t answer the offense and defense of the #18 national ranked team, the Bemidji State Beavers of Minnesota, losing both matches.
The Nanooks only scored three goals over the series against their Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes, losing 6-2 in the first match and 3-1 in the second.
The Nanooks have had a knack this season of losing the first match in a blowout, then bouncing back in the second match to bring the fight to their opponents. But they had no such luck this past weekend, struggling to keep the Beavers out of the net. Defense has been a challenge for UAF this season; since their Oct. 22 match, the Nanooks have surrendered 15 goals in four games. They rank tenth in their conference out of 11 teams, giving up an average of 3.70 goals per match.
Defense wasn’t the only frustration for the Nanooks, with UAF offense struggling to score against some of the defense in the WCHA — Bemidji has limited opponents to 1.40 goals per match this season.
“That was a hard one to lose. We, as a staff, even sat in the room and were trying to figure out what the message to the team was going to be,” Assistant Coach Lance West said after the Saturday match. “We had a lot of scoring opportunities but Bemidji is one of the best defensive teams in the country right now with one of the hottest goaltenders.”
The Nanooks have faced multiple top teams this year and they are now starting to slip in their conference. Their conference record is at 2-4 this season, and they will be facing the 4-3 Alabama in Huntsville team, who is third in the WCHA.
The Alaska Nanooks next series is against AIH on Nov. 11-12.