Hendry's Happy Return
Legendary American author Jack London
once spent an entire winter effectively icebound in
a tiny cabin in the Arctic wilderness. The solitary
experiences he had during his time in what became
Alaska were the foundation for much of his genius
– and fueled his iconic writing career.
Alaska-Fairbanks junior defenseman Jordan
Hendry didn’t face quite the same hardships
as he spent last winter recovering from a blown knee,
but he says he might have felt just as lonely at times.
So when Minnesota fans got a look at
Hendry and his blazing slap shot last weekend, as
the Nanooks opened their season with a surprising
win and tie at Mariucci Arena, they might have been
witnessing the start of a stirring comeback in the
making. On at least three occasions during the Friday
night game, Hendry let fly from the blue line, and
his opponents paid notice. One of those three shots,
which according to UAF coach Tavis MacMillan, routinely
reach more than 100 mph, found the net in the third
period, giving Hendry his first goal in more than
a year and helping the Nanooks earn a 4-3 overtime
win – the first victory over a No. 1-ranked
team in school history.
In October of last season, Hendry went
down with a bad right knee in a game versus Alaska
Anchorage. A visit to the team doctor revealed he’d
torn his ACL, MCL and meniscus.
“I figured I might as well go
for the full package,” Hendry joked Friday.
He spent the winter in recovery, and
missed out not only on nearly an entire season of
action, but all of the team’s road trips as
well. He says it was the first time he’d sat
out more than one game at any point in his hockey
“It was probably one of the hardest
things I’ve had to deal with,” he said.
“It was a pretty long winter up north.”
While the Nanooks advanced all the way
to the third-place game at the CCHA championships
in Detroit, Hendry was stuck back in Fairbanks, listening
to “afternoon” games on the radio, and
working to get his knee back into playing shape. In
May, he finally got back on the ice, and needed a
little more than 45 minutes of the season to record
his first goal.
“I really feel like I missed out
on some big stuff, so this feels unbelievable,”
he said of the season-opening upset. “It’s
definitely a good time to score in my first game back.”
Hendry’s knee appears to be fully
healed, as evidenced by his third straight fastest-skater
title in the Nanooks’ preseason skills competition.
“And he was in cruise control
coming around the third corner every time,”
MacMillan reminds. “He wasn’t even pushed.
“I’ll stand on my soapbox
any chance I get to talk about him. He’s a man.
He’s strong as a horse. And if you polled our
team about who our leader is, who is the guy they’d
follow, it’s Jordan every time. Him coming back
makes a big difference for us.”
– Jess Myers
AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
New in the Soo – Something
different is afoot at Lake Superior State. Offense.
New Lakers coach Jim Roque opened his
tenure with a win and a tie against formidable Colgate
last weekend, and although they only scored five goals
in doing so, there seems to be more flair in their
“We’re a lot more creative
now,” senior defenseman Mark Adamek said. “There’s
not as much structure where you have to be in a certain
place all the time. Coach Roque has been telling us
to take our time and try things and not to worry about
losing the puck if we’re trying new things.
He’s giving us the green light to take chances.”
The Lakers averaged 2.21 goals per game
under Frank Anzalone’s conservative system last
year, second-worst in the CCHA. So Roque decided to
open things up a bit.
“He’s even given me the
green light to jump up into the play,” said
Adamek, a stay-at-home defenseman if there ever was
one. “I think it shows that he trusts us.”
In the rearview – CCHA
commissioner Tom Anastos tries not to put too much
emphasis on a weekend or two – whether the results
are good or bad. But fans of the league have to be
pleased by the early part of this season.
Michigan, thought to be severely weakened
by attrition, has ascended to No. 1 in the country
after a weekend sweep of Boston College and Merrimack.
Alaska-Fairbanks took a win and a tie at Minnesota.
Nebraska-Omaha won its Maverick Stampede by beating
New Hampshire in the final. Michigan State is 2-0
with a win over North Dakota. Ohio State split on
the road at Colorado College (snapping the Tigers’
unbeaten streak at 20 games). Lake Superior State
got the win and tie against Colgate.
The only league teams without victories
are Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Notre Dame
(the Irish haven’t played yet), and the conference’s
cumulative record is 14-7-2.
“We’re off to a good start,
but I like to looking at things over a period of time,”
Anastos said. “It’s a marathon, not a
Further measuring sticks are on tap
this weekend as UAF plays for the Governor’s
Cup at Alaska Anchorage, Northern Michigan has a home-and-home
against Michigan Tech, Notre Dame plays at Colorado
College and Denver, and Western Michigan travels to
CHA contender Niagara. Six of those seven games are
on the road, so we might know more about what the
CCHA is made of in a few days.
Great Weekend Getaway
State at Michigan (Sat.)
of these teams have passed serious tests already
(MSU over North Dakota, Michigan over Boston
College), but this is conference play. This
is when it counts. A major question will be
how well the Spartans’ battered defensive
corps can stand up to the speedy Wolverines
forwards. Saturday is the only meeting in Ann
Arbor between the rivals this season. Fortunately
for the Yost atmosphere, both schools’
football squads play early in the day.
You’re There: Look for INCH correspondent
James Jahnke. He’ll be the one wearing
the handsome costume up in the press box.
Who said Ferris State was
going to struggle to score this year? They obviously
weren’t considering the play of Matt
Verdone, who scored the final four
FSU goals in a 5-2 win over Army on Saturday.
It was the first four-goal game by a Bulldog
since Doug Smith on Feb. 19, 1994. Verdone,
a junior, had just eight goals in his first
two seasons in Big Rapids combined. He’s
on pace for 72 this year.
We know that indirect wins
don’t mean all that much, but it still
doesn’t look good when Western Michigan
loses to Robert Morris, which previously was
beaten by Penn State’s club team.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Want a confusing end to a confusing
story? Lucky you! Northern Michigan senior forward
Andrew Contois sat out Friday’s series opener
against St. Cloud State as a stipulation of his NCAA
reinstatement after a muddled
transfer from Lake Superior State. The thing is, Wildcats
coach Walt Kyle woke up Friday morning thinking Contois
was eligible to play that night. NMU was under the
impression that Contois had served his penalty by
sitting out an exhibition game against the U.S. National
Development Team on Oct. 7, and Kyle even told INCH
last Thursday that Contois would play both games against
St. Cloud. But Kyle said the university finally got
a hard copy of the NCAA’s ruling on Friday morning
and realized that they still needed to scratch him
for a regular-season game.
“It wound up being nothing,”
Kyle said, “because we won the game. But it
was a strange situation.” Contois, as would
be expected, scored in his return to the lineup Saturday.
• Northern Michigan continues
its tour of WCHA Huskies by playing its annual series
against archrival Michigan Tech this weekend. It starts
a stretch during which NMU plays its four biggest
rivals – Tech, Lake Superior State, Michigan
State and Michigan – in back-to-back-to-back-to-back
series. Think the Puckheads are amped up?
• Michigan State forward David
Booth suffered a shoulder injury during an exhibition
win over Western Ontario and very well might not play
against Michigan on Saturday. He joins a list of injured
Spartans that includes top-six defensemen Chris Snavely,
Jeff Dunne and Brandon Gentile, who is definitely
out for Saturday. The others are questionable.
• Quick, who are the top two scorers
in the nation? Why, Michigan’s T.J. Hensick
(10 points) and Matt Hunwick (nine) of course. The
Wolverines’ Jack Johnson is tied for third with
eight points. Both Hunwick and Johnson are defensemen.
• Longtime Michigan backup goalie
Noah Ruden made his first career start at Yost Ice
Arena against Merrimack. The senior’s previous
five starts had either been on the road or at Joe
• Ferris State’s Matt Verdone
got the stick salute and Nebraska-Omaha’s Alex
Nikiforuk got the INCH Player of the Week, but don’t
forget about Bowling Green’s Jonathan Matsumoto
and Michigan’s Kevin Porter. Matsumoto scored
three goals in the loss to Boston College while Porter
had a natural hat trick in the 9-2 romp over Merrimack,
giving them the third and fourth CCHA hat tricks of
• Bowling Green went over the
2 million mark in all-time attendance at BGSU Ice
Arena on Saturday. The 37-year-old rink has averaged
about 55,555 fans per season.
• Former Ohio State All-American
linebacker Randy Gradishar addressed the Buckeyes
after their win Friday in Colorado Springs. I bet
he never got called for checking from behind.
• New Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson
made a concerted effort not to look at any game film
from last year’s 5-27-6 debacle because he wanted
every Irish player to enter this season with a clean
slate. That means the first time Jackson saw his players
pitted against another team was Friday’s 4-0
exhibition win over Waterloo. Big Wes O’Neill
got the night started right with a goal 4:29 into
the game, and David Brown and Jordan Pearce combined
for the shutout in net.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.