Nanooks hockey prepares for final road series of the season

T-14th in PairWise heading into the weekend
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 8:13 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team is still building their case for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, and will look to bolster it with two more quality road wins against Arizona State.

The Nanooks have won five of the last six meetings with the Sun Devils (one tie) dating back to last season. In the first series this season, Alaska swept ASU outscoring them 7-3 at the Carlson Center.

Alaska enters the weekend coming off a sweep of Long Island University. The Nanooks scored six unanswered goals last Saturday to erase a 3-0 deficit against the Sharks.

“I think the guys are just excited to get back to it,” mentioned head coach, Erik Largen. “You get to this point of the year and you’ve practiced quite a bit. I think they’re just ready to get going with the games knowing what’s at stake this weekend.”

Coach Largen referencing the weight these games hold in the Nanooks hopes of a postseason future. Arizona State will undoubtedly be looking to spoil Alaska’s season, Friday and Saturday.

“We know we have to do a good job of shutting them down,” added Largen. “We have to keep them off the powerplay and manage pucks. They’re a good rush team... Obviously we have to play a really good game, work really hard, and just play our brand of hockey to give ourselves the best chance to win.”

Alaska currently holds a 18-10-2 record with quality wins against Notre Dame (17th in PairWise) and Denver (4th in PairWise). A large part of this season’s success has been from transfer goaltender, Matt Radomsky. Radomsky has started all thirty games for the Nooks this season, and there’s no sign of a change with four games remaining on the schedule.

It’s not unusual for universities to split their goaltending responsibilities, but Radomsky has been up for the task, and it’s something he was used to at Holy Cross.

“The body feels good. I’ve had the experience at Holy Cross playing quite a few games. So I feel like I have that under my belt,” stated Radomsky. “I’ve been working with ‘Archie’ (Nate Archer) in the gym and Palmer (Trolli) in the training room. They’ve been able to keep my body feeling good and prepared to play.”

Radomsky played in 64 of Holy Cross’s 85 games over the three seasons he spent in Massachusetts. Matt is one of four players that transferred from a different university to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“It’s everything I could’ve hoped for and more,” echoed Radomsky. “The results we’ve been looking for obviously are on par with our culture and values this year, and what we’re striving for. We have a lot to prove these next four games, but I think we’re on the right track/path. We’re really happy with what’s been happening this season, and what we have lying ahead.”

As the game nears, it appears a trip to Tempe, Arizona will be in the mix for a lot of Alaska fans this weekend. Who doesn’t want to escape cold, wintry Fairbanks for a weekend and watch hockey with a high of 60 degrees? This series was well-travelled last year as well.

“It’s awesome,” said Largen. “This program means a lot to a lot of different people whether they’re alumni, boosters, fans, or family members. To be able to have that support in Arizona State should be a lot of fun. It’ll give the guys a lot of energy and extra motivation.”

Game one starts at 5:00 p.m. (AKST) tomorrow. Saturday’s game has a 3:00 p.m. (AKST) start. Both games taking place at Mullet Arena in Tempe.