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Nanooks Hockey seeking 11 straight Governor's Cup titles

(KTVF)
Published: Feb. 27, 2020 at 4:40 PM AKST
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The phrase "Governor's Cup Weekend" is enough to get the teams, fans and communities riled up for battle of supremacy in Alaska collegiate hockey. Both schools, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Anchorage, have not only the sought after Gov. Cup on the line this weekend, but major playoff implications.

The Alaska Nanooks(12-9-5-2 WCHA) are currently tied with Bowling Green for fourth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings with 43 points heading into the final series of the regular season. The fourth seed is the final spot in the standings to host the first round of the playoffs. As for the Seawolves (4-16-6-3 WCHA), they sit in the 8th and final playoff spot in the WCHA standings, looking to hang on and secure a berth. There are 13 scenarios for the Nanooks to host the first round at the Carlson Center, according to UAF Athletics.

- UAF clinches home ice with six points

- UAF clinches home ice with five points, and five points or less for Bowling Green.

- UAF clinches home ice with five points, six points for Bowling Green, and zero points for Northern Michigan.

- UAF clinches home ice with four points via a win and a 3x3/shootout loss, zero points for Northern Michigan, and exactly four points for Bowling Green

- UAF clinches home ice with four points via a win and a 3x3/shootout loss, and one or more points for Northern Michigan.

- UAF clinches home ice with four points via two 3x3/shootout wins, one or more points for Northern Michigan, and three points or less for Bowling Green.

- UAF clinches home ice with four points via two 3x3/shootout wins, one or more points for Northern Michigan, and four points or Bowling Green via two 3x3/shootout wins.

- UAF clinches home ice with three points, three points or less for Bowling Green, and five points or less for Michigan Tech.

- UAF clinches home ice with two points via two 3x3/shootout losses, two points or less for Bowling Green, and four points or less for Michigan Tech.

- UAF clinches home ice with two points via a loss and a 3x3/shootout win, one point or less for Bowling Green, and three points or less for Michigan Tech.

- UAF clinches home ice with one point, one point or less for Bowling Green, and three points or less for Michigan Tech.

- UAF clinches home ice with zero points, zero points for Bowling Green, and one points or less for Michigan Tech.

- UAF clinches home ice with zero points, zero points for Bowling Green, and two points for Michigan Tech via a loss and a 3x3/shootout win.

The Governor's Cup series has been one sided lately, as the Nanooks closed the door on a decade of dominance last season, when they won their 10th straight title.

"I think there is a lot of excitement, I think there is a bit of nervousness too," Head Coach Erik Largen said after practice earlier this week. "There is just so much meaning to these last two games; we are talking about home ice for the playoffs, we are talking about the Governor's Cup 10 straight years. There is a little bit of pressure on it, but I think with a little bit of pressure also is a lot of excitement for our guys and I think the biggest thing is they are just looking forward to Friday night."

This year's edition of the Gov. Cup will be decided on Saturday night, as the two teams split in Anchorage earlier this season. UAF ignited the series with a 2-1 win on October 25, before falling 4-0 the following night. The Nanooks could place as high as third in the standings when it is all said and done, which would be their best seeding since they joined the conference in 2013.

Captain Kylar Hope is a three-time Gov. Cup champion, including scoring the game-winning goal in the final game of the series last year. He shared his thoughts heading into his final Governor's Cup weekend.

"So excited, just like any year it is exciting, obviously we have a chance to win it again and that is our goal. We know how important it is to the community and the team and the school, so we are just going to go out there and do our best and see what happens," Hope said. "...Hopefully we can secure that home ice. I know that would be huge for the program, with where it is at right now and then the community too and all the fans that have supported us."

Much of this year's success (12-9-5-2 WCHA) has stemmed from the veteran players, with the Nanooks sending off 10 seniors after this season (Jack Weiss, Troy Van Tetering, James LaDouce, Tyler Cline, Colten Leiter, Kylar Hope, Tristan Thompson, Anton Martinsson, Kyle Marino, and Logan Coomes).

"I think it is the senior class and the upperclassmen that have really led the way. They felt like there is some stuff to prove this year, and they have done a great job in handling themselves in doing that."

The Nanooks hold the all-time Governor's Cup series 15-8. The puck drops on Friday and Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. at the Carlson Center.

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