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Junior goalie Joseph Palmer blogged from the team’s trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, this weekend, where they split a series with the Alaska Nanooks, including a 6-2 win in the series finale Saturday.

Saturday:
It was a cold morning here in Fairbanks and 9 am came pretty early for the boys. Breakfast was ready for us once we got downstairs. We all ate and waited for instructions from Coach Lammers on what we were going to do this morning. He told us the bus to the rink was going to leave at 11 am and we were going over to get a stretch and watch some video. Once at the rink we got a light sweat as a team and went over some details that were going to help us succeed in tonight’s game. By 12:15 we headed back to the hotel for our pregame meal. Another solid meal of chicken and pasta and guys were for a nap. It’s very easy to take mid-afternoon naps here, seeing how it doesn’t get too light out during the day. Once I crushed a nap for about two hours, I was up and ready to pack my clothes and get ready to leave for the rink. We had to pack all our clothes before leaving for the rink because we’re taking the red-eye tonight after the game. Once we arrived at the rink, it was the normal pregame routine of taping sticks and quick meetings with the coaches. There was a feeling in the locker room tonight we hadn’t felt in a few games now. It was the feeling we were going out there to send a message from the first puck drop. The first period was total Buckeye hockey. We were getting pucks deep and establishing our forecheck right off the start. Sergio Somma had some great hits in his first few shifts to really get us going. Sergio also opened up the scoring on a tic-tac-toe play from linemates Peter Boyd and Mathieu Picard. Once we scored that first goal, the flood gates opened and we ended up scoring four goals on eight shots against one of the top defensive teams in the league. The second and third periods were pretty much dominated by our fantastic penalty kill and hard-hitting forecheckers. The UAF defensemen looked scared to go back for the puck whenever they needed to break the puck out. Taylor Stefishen had a breakout weekend, earning two points and a second star of the game. It was a great game all around for us tonight and we did a lot of good things to build off of for next weekend vs. Notre Dame. Once the game was over, we ate a meal at the rink and had some time to relax and unwind, while we awaited our long travel back to Columbus. I got my hair gelled back with flow that only Erick Belanger could appreciate. Hopefully these plane rides won’t be too packed so I can sit next to my good buddies Todd Rudasill and Ian Boots. We’ll probably tell funny stories about fellow teammates. Cory Schneider is usually the most entertaining. Thanks to everyone reading this weekend and thanks to Joe Diesel Murphy for his critiques during my writings. Go Bucks!

Friday Night:
Well we dropped a tough game to the Alaska Nanooks tonight, but the good thing is we get another shot at them tomorrow night. Our first period was just a bit off, as our forecheck and breakouts were a bit sloppy. The travel wear and tear cannot be used as an excuse as to why the game went the way it did. Luckily, everything we did wrong tonight can be easily fixed and executed correctly tomorrow. Unfortunately during the first period, one of our defensemen went down with an injury and we played the rest of the game with a five-man rotation back on the blue line. The second and third went a bit better, but UAF still happened to get the best of us. After the game, the team got a “flush” in. A flush is where we stretch and try to get the lactic acid out of our legs, to be ready for tomorrow nights game. Once we finished the flush, guys got ready to head back to the hotel for dinner. For dinner we had raviolis with garlic bread and it was delicious. It’s 11:45pm Alaska time, 3:45am EST, and that means time for bed. Talk to you all tomorrow. Good night.

Friday:
The alarm rang at 9:15 this morning and that meant it was time to wake up. I told roommate Chris Reed it was time to wakeup and when I went to open the curtains to let in some sunlight, I realized the sun doesn’t rise in Alaska till almost 11 am. We brushed our teeth and rushed down to breakfast with the rest of the guys. Eggs, home fries, ham, waffles and oatmeal was the line-up this morning, which seems to never get old among guys on the team. I had a few riddles that I looked up online last night to try and puzzle Todd Rudasill with, and after solving one quickly, he was stumped on the other and had to rely on JB Bittner to help him out. JB was the only one to solve the riddle, as I had stumped roomie Chris Reed with the same one the night before.

We headed off to the rink for our usual Friday pregame skate. After a few drills to get the legs moving, there was time at the end to play a few games of rebound. Rebound is a game where there is one shooter at the hashmarks and other guys forming two lines from the shooter to the net. If the shooter scores, or any of the other guys put in a rebound, it is one point for them. If the goalie stops the puck and freezes it, or directs it past the goal line into the corner, it is a point for the goalie. Needless to say I dominated two games of rebound and headed off the ice to get undressed. After we left the rink, the bus stopped at the grocery store so guys could buy some Gatorades and snacks. The pregame meal was what was really on our minds though. Once we got back to the hotel, it was right to the room where our meals had been setup. Salad, chicken, pasta and some veggies were on the menu and I personally thought it was quite tasty. After eating we all headed up to our rooms and that’s where I stand now. I’m watching the intense tennis match between Nadal and Verdasco in the semifinals of the Australian Open and it is a great match. Roommate Chris Reed is already asleep and I find myself starting to doze off as well. I didn’t know who won the match, until the ESPN commercial that just said “Nadal to face Federer in the Australian Open final” just ruined it for me. I guess there’s no sense in watching the rest … time for a nap. Talk to you after the game. Go Bucks.

Wednesday:
5:45 came pretty early Wednesday morning as we had to be to at the Schott by 6:30 to pack the bus and get ready for our trip to Alaska. Scraping the ice and snow off the windshield of my car, the first thing I began to think was how our plane was ever going to leave on time for Minnesota. Once I arrived at the Schott, I asked Leann if our flight was on schedule and she said that some flights had been canceled, but ours was set to leave without any hassle. After packing the bus, we headed to the airport through freezing rain and snow, along with all the others trying to get to work through the weather. Once we arrived at the airport, we went through security and headed to our gate. Well some headed to the gate, others stopped to eat breakfast and some even got subs at Quiznos. Surprisingly, we were set to leave on time and were excited to get out of the bad weather… little did we know what we were in store for. We boarded the plane at 8:45, and set to take off at 9:05. The pilot immediately came over the loud speaker telling us how we would have to wait for the de-icer truck and we would be waiting in line for a bit. Three hours later, we were next in line to be de-iced, when all of a sudden the pilot says we are heading back to the gate and we would be postponed for the time being. After a lunch in the terminal, and about an hour and a half, we were back on the plane with hopes to get to Minnesota, seeing how we already missed our first connecting flight. This time on the plane, the pilot tells us the de-ice truck will be right over to get us on our way. Another three hours went by and three full trucks of de-icer and we were finally on our way. After a brief lay-over and dinner in Minneapolis, we were headed to Seattle to spend the night and get up early for another flight to Anchorage. We arrived in Seattle at 11:30 their time, which is 2:30 EST, and guys were thrilled to get into a bed and relax. Unfortunately it would be short lived and we were all getting up at 4:30 to be ready for our flight at 6 the next morning.

Thursday:
4:30 came pretty early and guys staggered out of their rooms to meet down in the lobby. The packed airport shuttle bus reminded a lot of guys of the bus we have to take to the OSU Ice Rink from the Schott, which wasn’t a good feeling. Once in the airport, guys scrambled to eat quick before boarding, because it was a three and a half hour flight that you don’t want to take on an empty stomach. Luckily it wasn’t a very full plane and most guys had rows of seats to themselves. Almost everybody slept, with the exception of insomniac Todd Rudasill, who I sat with and did puzzles in his puzzle book, after sleeping for two hours myself. After arriving in Anchorage, we had no tickets to Fairbanks, but Coach Lammers and assistant athletics director Chris Schneider took care of things and we were set to board the plane in less that 30 minutes. After a quick IPOD charge, I got on the plane and was seated right behind Corey Toy, who always makes people laugh with his crazy antics. The flight was a short 45 minute one and descending down through the clouds to see the mountains and awesome landscape of Alaska was really something special. They announced the temperature was -17 degrees and I was glad I packed my long johns. Waiting at baggage claim only to find out Patrick Schafer and my hockey bags hadn’t made it was not a good thing. Luckily Coach Lammers came to our rescue again and told us the bags were in Anchorage and would be on the next flight to Fairbanks. A quick ride to the hotel and lunch was there waiting for us. After lunch everybody headed to their rooms for naps and they were well deserved! We went to the rink a bit early and began a quick stretch for our pre-practice warm-up. After that we went to the lobby for another one of Coach Lammers’ famous team builders. Guys were divided up into three teams and after getting dogged by roommate and friend Corey Elkins, I decided our team would have to beat his. The object was to get through the obstacle course setup by the coaches while keeping a balloon between you and the person in front and behind you. The key to the activity was good communication and teamwork through adversity. The team I was on with Zach, Sergio, Peter and Shane tied for first place with Sean Duddy’s team, after they were given a time penalty for excessive celebration. Once that was over we got dressed and went out for a normal Thursday practice. A few shooting, breakout, power play and penalty kill drills later, we headed off the ice and guys were excited because they knew it was time for dinner. The dinner was great and we all headed back to the hotel to watch some TV and unwind. Tomorrow should be exciting, as we take on a team that we’ve been trying to catch in league action for quite some time now.