Nanooks hockey finish regular season with shutout

Nanooks shutout Lindenwood 8-0
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:55 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In the final game of the 2022-2023 regular season, the Alaska Nanooks Hockey Team sweeps the series against the Lindenwood Lions in a historic 8-0 shutout.

After a successful 2021-2022 season, the Alaska Nanooks continued to improve and prove themselves worthy of attention as they finish the 2022-2023 season. As a ranked team, they are hopeful at a spot in the NCAA playoff tournament. It was “a really good regular season,” said Eric Largen, the head coach of the Nanook’s hockey program.

Facing the Lindenwood Lions as their last opponent of the regular season, the Alaska Nanooks took the win in the first game with a 3 goal advantage of 4-1.

In game two, Simon Falk was first to find the net, midway through the first period, sending the crowd into a roar. The period would close out with yet another Nanook goal from Markus Komuls with less than a minute on the clock.

Still facing no response from the Lions and a weak defense, 4 more goals would be added by the ‘nooks in the second period. Brady Risk punched the puck into the net early in the second, followed by Kyle Gaffney just after the 12 minute mark. The flurry of Nanook fire continued resulting in two more goals in the final 5 minutes of the period. Those points coming from Colin Doyle and Jonny Sorenson.

In the third and final period of game play, Alaska added two more to the board with back to back goals from Braden Nicholettes and Chase Dubois. Each scoring a minute apart from each other.

One more puck would cross the goal line before the games end but the point was retracted by the referees.

The statement making shutout victory can be attributed to the sharp skills of the Nanooks and the weak defense of the Lions, who allowed Alaska to get 46 shots on net. More than twice as many as the Lions had on Alaska. Accolades must also be given to net minders Matt Radomsky and Daniel Allin for stopping the 21 attempts made by Lindenwood on Alaska.

The 8-0 shutout is certainly a historic game for Alaska for many reasons. Most notably being that the ‘nooks haven’t put up 8 goals in a single game since 2006 when they beat the Air Force Academy 8-4. “It was a great team effort. It was great to see a number of different goal scorers,” said Largen. He added that he hopes that they get to play another game.

Moving forward the Nanooks will wait to see if they make the NCAA tournament which is highly likely. Ranked at 18 in the NCAA, the first time Alaska has been ranked in many years, they also hold a standing of 13th in the pairwise, an evaluation chart that calculates the performance of D1 hockey programs based on their performance against various teams throughout the season and the performance of those teams against the same opponents. In the pairwise probability matrix, which uses simulations to calculate the likelihood of which teams will go to the tournament, Alaska currently holds a 90% chance of making the tournament as an at large bid. However, the matrix has them slated to most likely be seeded as number 13 in the tournament, which means they will likely face a very tough opponent in game one if they make it in.

Regardless of the end call, coach said “it was nice to see them get reward,” after facing years of hardship.

Some of the conferences in the NCAA are still in the midst of their tournaments, the results of which could drastically change Alaska’s chance of competing. The announcement for the tournament bracket will be made on March 19. A wait that Largen described as feeling like “pins and needles.” If they do get to compete the Nanooks will be “pretty dangerous in the tournament,” Largen said.

While the Nanooks celebrated a phenomenal season and victory sweeping the Lions with a shutout, they also celebrated senior night and acknowledged the departure of 3 players.

Matt Radomsky, Colin Doyle and T.J. Lloyd were all honored as the three seniors on the team. Doyle is scheduled for departure from the program and he will be joined by two juniors that are expected to complete their degrees in May. Joining Doyle are Markus Komuls and Garrett Pyke. All three will be receiving degrees in business administration. While Largen described their departure as “bitter-sweet,” he also said that they had put in their time and that “they’ll always be part of [the] family.”