On The Alaska – Fairbanks Nanooks


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The University of Alaska – Fairbanks began their 2014/15 NCAA campaign by claiming the trophy on offer at the annual Kendal Hockey Classic in Anchorage by virtue of a tie-breaker after blanking the Wisconsin Badgers and then dumping the Maine Black Bears. In doing so, the Nanooks, who finished with the winning record of 18 wins against 15 losses with four ties last season, won their first Kendall Hockey Classic title since 2009, the same competition that saw Alaska – Fairbanks shut out the Michigan Wolverines and then defeat the Mercyhurst Lakers decisively. The Nanooks under the tutelage of sixth-year head coach Dallas Ferguson, who are now ranked # 19 according to the latest national poll put out by USCHO.com, will look to build on this achievement when it hosts the Brice Alaska Goal Rush at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks this weekend.

Alaska – Fairbanks did lose their top two scoring leaders from last season. Canadian legionnaire Cody Kunyk, the 24-year-old center from Sherwood Park, Alberta, topped the Nanooks with both 22 goals and 43 points but is now with the Syracuse Crunch in the American Hockey League after skating in one National Hockey League game for the Tampa Bay Lightning last spring while countryman Colton Beck, the 24-year-old left wing from Langley, British Columbia, who led Alaska-Fairbanks with 25 assists, looks set to begin this season with the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League after appearing in three AHL games with the St. John’s Ice Caps last spring. Also gone is defenseman Michael Quinn, the 23-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, who paced all Nanooks blueliners with 22 helpers and figures to be with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones this fall.

Alaska – Fairbanks do welcome back standout defenseman Colton Parayko, the third round choice (# 86 overall) of the St. Louis Blues at the 2012 NHL Draft. Last season, the 21-year-old junior from St. Albert, Alberta, who stands six-foot five inches tall and weights 225 pounds led all Nanooks rearguards with 26 points (seven goals). More importantly, Parayko was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Defensive Player of the Year and was also honored as an NCAA (West) Second Team All-America selection.

The highly decorated Parayko is already in commanding form this fall, as evidenced by points in each of the Nanooks’ first three games including the game-winning goal versus Wisconsin at the Kendall Hockey Classic as well as a critical third period strike that tied the contest against Air Force at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush on Friday night.

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Alaska – Fairbanks Nanooks defenseman Colton Parayko (4) pushed his career totals to 13 goals and 46 points in 73 career NCAA games against the Air Force Academy Falcons at the 2014 Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament.
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This year’s defensive unit for Alaska – Fairbanks also features a pair of seniors, Trevor Campbell, the 24-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, and Canadian legionnaire Nolan Kaiser, the 22-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, in addition to junior Josh Atkinson, the 21-year-old from Spruce Grove, Alberta, who was named to the Kenall Hockey Classic all-tournament team last weekend. Kyle Froese, the 20-year-old from Traverse City, Michigan, and Zach Frye, the 20-year-old from Spokane, Washington, are two freshman newcomers who have already earned places in the Nanooks’ regular line-up.

Alaska – Fairbanks deployed three different goaltenders who each made at least 10 appearances during the 2013/14 NCAA campaign and all of whom are returning to the Nanooks program once again this season. It does appear, however, as if Canadian legionnaire Davis Jones, the 22-year-old hailing from St. Albert, Alberta, who played in 10 games (3.06 avg, .900 svpct) as a freshman last term, has established himself as the clear number one netminder for Alaska – Fairbanks. Jones, who has now started the first three games for the Nanooks thus far this fall, posted a shutout in the season-opener against the University of Wisconsin and was ultimately named the Most Valuable Player at the Kendall Hockey Classic after the victory over the University of Maine.

Relegated to reserve status, if only at least for the time being, is Canadian legionnaire Sean Cahill, the 24-year-old senior from Calgary, Alberta, who led Alaska – Fairbanks with 17 appearances (2.40 avg, .900 svpct) and also had the best record with ten wins against six losses with one tie.

Canadian legionnaire Tyler Morley (31 ga, 17 go, 34 pts) ended up as the third-leading scorer for Alaska – Fairbanks last season and is back for his junior campaign. The 21-year-old from Burnaby, British Columbia, missed the Kendall Hockey Classic on account of injury but did notch a vital goal for the Nanooks against the Air Force Academy Falcons in the first round of the Brice Alaska Goal Rush on Friday night. The Nanooks also boast younger brother Brandon Morley, the 20-year-old who had five goals and 11 points in 37 games as a freshman left wing.

Alaska – Fairbanks will also be looking for offense from Canadian legionnaires Marcus Basara, the 21-year-old right wing from Vancouver, British Columbia, who led all WCHA freshmen with a dozen goals last season, and right wing Nolan Huysman, the 23-year-old junior from Ponoka, Alberta, who netted eight goals and 23 points in 36 games last term, as well as left wing Garrick Perry, the 24-year-old native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, who totaled 12 goals and 22 points in 37 games last season.

The Nanooks will be also hoping that left wing Jared Larson, the redshirt senior who appeared in 12 NCAA games but went pointless over the course of three year with the powerful University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, will recapture his form from last term — the 25-year-old who also comes from Apple Valley found the back of the net eight times in only 22 games in his first season for Alaska – Fairbanks.

Peter Krieger, the 20-year-old native of Oakdale, Minnesota, who played his high school hockey at the St. Thomas Academy in St. Paul, is one freshman forward to have made an immediate impact for the Nanooks — the rookie center scored the first goal in the 5-2 win over the University of Maine at the Kendall Hockey Classic and then shot the late game-winner against Air Force at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks.

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