FAIRBANKS — Alaska Nanooks head coach Dallas Ferguson hasn’t dwelled on the Lake Superior State Lakers losing their last four Central Collegiate Hockey Association games.
“One thing about streaks, whether it’s a winning streak or a losing streak, is they come to an end,” Ferguson said Wednesday by cellphone during the Nanooks’ bus trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., where the sixth-place and nationally ranked Nanooks face the eighth-place Lakers on Friday and Saturday nights.
“I didn’t watch their previous four games but I know what they’re capable of after we played them in Fairbanks,” Ferguson said.
The Nanooks, ranked 20th in this week’s USCHO.com poll of NCAA Division I teams, split with the Lakers on Nov. 2-3 at the Carlson Center. Alaska prevailed 2-1 in the opener and Lake Superior won 4-2 the next night.
“They have some guys up front who can play, they have a solid defensive corps and they have strong goaltending,” Ferguson said of the Lakers.
The Nanooks (11-10-3-1 CCHA, 13-11-4 overall) are facing a group of Lakers (8-13-1-1, 13-16-1) who are coming off a bye week. The Nanooks are fresh from a weekend split against the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Carlson Center, winning 6-1 Friday and losing 3-1 Saturday.
“On Friday night, we did a good job of creating scoring opportunities and creating traffic in front,” Ferguson said. “On Saturday, we couldn’t get inside as much.
“For us to be successful this weekend, we have to play strong away from the puck and we have to capitalize on our opportunities, whether it’s off of an odd-man rush or a cycle,” Ferguson said.
Lake Superior State’s bye week followed respective losses of
4-1 and 7-3 to Bowling Green in Ohio on Feb. 1-2. Head coach Jim Roque had his players practice only three times last week because he wanted to help heal from injuries.
“We just tried to keep it fun, short and sweet, and we did some skill stuff,” Roque said during a telephone interview Wednesday.