The trip there, which spans more than 3,000 miles, will take more than two days, at least two flights and countless hours in airports to get the Ohio State men’s hockey team to Alaska on Friday night, just in time to face the Nanooks.
Then the players will have to turn around and do it all over.
Senior forward John Albert, who has made the trip three times before, said he knows how hard of a trip this is and that it can be hard to start off well Friday after spending so much time in the air.
“It’s pretty hard. It’s tough to get out there; it’s pretty long,” he said. “The game on Friday night is usually a tough one.”
OSU coach Mark Osiecki has made the trip both as a player and as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, and said he believes it is better not to talk about the trip and just focus on playing the games.
“We don’t talk about it much … really try to not make a big deal out of it,” he said. “We’ve got to make the most of it.”
Osiecki said it’s more important to focus on the mindset of the team once it returns from Fairbanks, and make sure that everyone is focused on getting back to work.
The entire trip will last at least five days and will land the Buckeyes back in Columbus sometime Sunday or early Monday.
The last time the Buckeyes traveled to Fairbanks was two seasons ago for the CCHA Tournament Quarterfinals. They didn’t fare well, as they dropped two of three games and were shut out in both losses.
Albert said conditioning has played a key factor in the team’s third-period performance, helping the Buckeyes secure wins.
“We skated and worked hard a lot in the beginning of the year to get where we are,” he said.
In all but two of the Buckeyes’ 13 wins, they have scored in the third period.
Conditioning has played a role in how the team has been able to finish games strong, and Albert said it “absolutely” will make a difference in this weekend’s matchups.
The two-game series in Fairbanks will be the second-to-last road trip of the season for the Buckeyes. Both games are scheduled to start at 11:05 p.m. EST, 7:05 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.