THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2011
10:48 a.m. AT
Hello from beautiful Anchorage, Alaska!
Yesterday's long travel day is, thankfully, behind us. After the team practiced at Engelstad Arena, we flew out of Grand Forks at 3 p.m. and, with a stop in Minneapolis, didn't land in Anchorage until 12:30 a.m. Grand Forks. That's a long flight to be trapped in a middle seat. I say trapped because the Larry the Cable Guy-looking gentleman in the aisle seat beside me managed to sleep for the entire Minneapolis-to-Anchorage flight, which was more than six hours. I was too impressed to be irritated.
By the time we dropped the equipment off at Sullivan Arena and had a light "dinner," it was about 2 a.m. Grand Forks time when we walked into our hotel rooms for the first time.
The team always makes this trip a day early, largely so the players have time to adapt to the 3-hour time change, which is more significant than some might think. When you wake up in the morning, your body is telling you, "Lunch time!" Yet, it is still pitch black outside. This causes your mind to do strange things, like mistaking a bottle of Static Guard for shaving cream and spraying it into your hand.
Jacques Lamoureux, who starred at Air Force, was at the Anchorage airport to greet brother and Sioux captain, Mario, as well as parents Linda and Pierre, who also made the trip. Jacques now works and lives in Anchorage and will be at the games this weekend
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2011
9:46 a.m. AT
Happy game day everyone!
We are at Sullivan Arena for the morning skate, and the mood of the team is noticeably different today. Yesterday everyone was light and loose; today seems much more business-like.
The team had a good practice yesterday, capped off with sophomore Dillon Simpson defeating associate head coach Cary Eades in the Thursday shootout. After practice the guys had an afternoon to relax before a terrific dinner.
The Herald's Brad Schlossman, whose next road trip that goes smoothly will be his first, finally arrived in Anchorage after a two-hour maintenance (for the plane, not for him) delay in Minneapolis. We were able to catch up with UAA sports information director extraordinaire Dallas Baldwin, too, which is always nice. Dallas is one of my favorite people in the business.
The morning skate is about to start, so I'm going to sign off and check it out for a bit. If anything noteworthy arises, I will provide another update before heading back to the hotel.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the latest episode of Through These Doors.
5:11 p.m. AT
The team has arrived at Sullivan Arena. On the way here, the bus driver was kind enough to tell Coach Hakstol that this is "the sharpest, most professional-looking group" he's drive this year. It's always nice to hear those things.
Not many lineup changes tonight for the Sioux. The big news is senior Brad Eidsness getting the start tonight. No need to worry about Aaron Dell, he is fine. Eidsness was perfect in his relief effort one week ago tonight against CC, and he's being rewarded for it.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2011
10:37 a.m. AT
A few random thoughts on last night's game:
*The freshman line and Brock Nelson received most of the headlines last night, and rightfully so, but I'm impressed with the leadership of UND's three seniors. Mario Lamoureux and Ben Blood both spoke candidly in the days following the loss at Bemidji State, and the fan in me was reassured by Blood's postgame interview after that game. Lamoureux has led by example ever since, Blood is physically dominant on nearly every shift, and last night Brad Eidsness turned in a very solid effort between the pipes. In the hours leading up to the game, Eidsness was as loose as I've ever seen him on a game day. The team is in good hands with those three.
*Many, including myself, were wondering about the lengthy review of Carter Rowney's goal. I was told that the video review equipment was not working properly, causing the long delay. I'm not sure if the goal ever ended up being reviewed or not.
*Through 15 games this year, Brock Nelson has 12 goals. Through 15 games last year, Matt Frattin had 12 goals. It's amazing that Nelson has matched that torried pace so far. What's just is impressive is how much more under-the-radar it has been. Eight of Nelson's goals have come on the power play, already just two shy of the team-leading 10 PPG Frattin scored last year.
*A great big 'thank you' to Anchorage Daily News beat writer Doyle Woody, who was kind enough to give myself, Brad Schlossman, Kris Holm and Andy Rannells a ride back to our hotel after the game, sparing us the time and expense of calling a cab. Doyle and UAA radio man Kurt Haider are as likeable a media tandem as you'll find in college hockey.
5:19 p.m. AT
"Please do your very best tonight."
Those were the words of our bus driver, possibly the nicest man I've ever encountered, as we pulled up to Sullivan Arena tonight.
UND will start Aaron Dell between the pipes tonight. Otherwise, the Fighting Sioux will do their "very best" with the same lineup that produced Friday's 5-2 win over the Seawolves.