Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Northeast #4: Alaska

University of Alaska Nanooks

4 seed vs. Boston College, Northeast Regional (DCU Centre, Worcester, MA)
At-large bid from the CCHA
Record: 18-11-9
Coach: Dallas Ferguson<

Last year, Alaska found itself on the outside looking in. Behind a stingy defense and superb goaltending from senior Chad Johnson, it had secured a first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs and home ice in the second round, which it used to eliminate Ohio State in a hard-fought 3-game series, winning the rubber match 1-0. But the Nanooks ran into Michigan in the CCHA semifinals and then dropped the third place game to Northern Michigan, which left them on the wrong side of the bubble.

Still, it was a successful first year for coach Dallas Ferguson, and the Nanooks have built on it to earn the program's first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. Chad Johnson was practically irreplaceable, with his .940 SV% and 1.66 GAA, but sophomore Scott Greenham is sporting a respectable .918/2.20. One area of considerable improvement is on the offensive side of the ice. Last year's team desperately needed Johnson, as they scored only 1.90 goals per game. This year, the Nanooks are up to a much healthier 2.82 GPG. They're led in goals and points by senior center Dion Knelsen (19-23--42), who nearly doubled his team-leading 10 (10!) goals from last year. Freshman RW Andy Taranto (17-24--25) is the leader in assists and penalty minutes (50).

And then hockey bear destroyed the world, was trapped in an underwater ice prison, escaped, sunk a freighter, and flew an F-16 that bombed MSU, OSU, and Miami, before blowing up the Earth.

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