FAIRBANKS-If you compare the Kendall Hockey Classic to the Brice Alaska Goal Rush. The Kendall may have been a preview for the Nanooks in terms of competition. The Nanooks invite three teams to the Carlson Center: Western Michigan, no.12 Denver and UAA for the Brice.
UAA comes in 2-0 under first year coach Matt Thomas and another Kendall title under their belt. Western Michigan the former CCHA team is 0-2 but those losses came to no.8 Notre Dame. The Denver Pioneers are ranked twelfth in the nation. They are 2-0 with two shutout wins to start their season.
The Nanooks split their first two games of the year at the Kendall getting a win over Air Force then falling to then no.10/13 Quinnipiac.
But Colton Parayko is coming off a WCHA defenseman of the week performance with three assists in two outings. Sophomore Nolan Huysmans has two goals to start the year as well.
Friday night the Nooks will play Denver at 8 p.m. following UAA and Western Michigan at 5 p.m. Western will faceoff with UAF on Saturday at 7 p.m.
I caught up with two of the teams three Nolans and they breakdown the keys for weekend success.
"Lots of guys are working hard to get in the lineup. Not everybody's going to play every night so start playing physical with each other on the ice in practice and it turns out in the games not every team likes to get hit," junior defenseman Nolan Kaiser said.
Kaiser went on to talk about what the Nanooks players can use.
"Try to utilize our size and speed, get pucks behind their D and get physical on them."
On the offensive side of the puck Huysmans believes that team has found an early spark in terms of chemistry.
"Well I think that everyone's kind of came together pretty quick. We have a lot of new guys but I feel like everybody's fit in really well and the pieces are fitting in. So far offensively for the most part everything has been clicking and we just got to make sure we're building that consistency and making sure we keep that going," Huysmans said.