Nanooks hockey returns home hosting Long Island University

Six games remain in push for NCAA Tournament
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 11:18 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Following the Alaska Nanooks hockey team’s road trip to Brooklyn, they return to the Carlson Center to play the same team, the Long Island University (LIU) Sharks.

In the previous two game series, the Nanooks and Sharks split. Alaska won, 5-3, Friday. LIU won, 3-1, Saturday. As Alaska is still striving for an NCAA Tournament appearance, the loss created a demanding scenario.

The Nanooks are 18th in the Pairwise which is a mathematical equation tool used to fill the field of sixteen teams that make the tournament. Alaska hosts LIU, travels to Arizona State, and ends their season in Fairbanks against Lindenwood.

“As cliché as it is, you need to take it one game at a time,” stated head coach, Erik Largen. “The game on Friday... if you don’t get that, you don’t get six (wins). We know we have to be good on Friday. We have to have our best effort, and make sure we’re ready to play.”

Making their case for an at-large bid starts Friday. One game at a time. Since the first meeting between Alaska and LIU, these teams have created a tense rivalry, and it shows on the ice. In the two games last weekend, the two teams accumulated 108 penalty minutes with four game misconduct penalties.

Towing the line between an intense style of play, and discipline can be difficult, but it will make a difference in the outcome of the games.

“I think we learned a bit of a lesson Saturday night,” mentioned Nanooks captain, Harrison Israels. “Obviously we want to play tough, but we can’t take as many penalties as we did. They have a good powerplay. I think we just have to play disciplined, forecheck hard, and don’t take penalties you don’t need to take.”

This weekends games will both start at 7:07 p.m. at the Carlson Center.