After thirty games played, here's an overview of the team and where it currently stands at the midpoint of the season.
The Fairbanks Union leads the Silver Hockey League in scoring, and is currently 2nd in defense, power play and penalty killing. The team is known for a high-octane "crash the net" offense which puts an emphasis on getting to the net with physical play and speed, putting pressure on the defense almost immediately and forcing the opposing goalie to work hard and utilize as much of his stamina as possible. The defense follows up the energetic play on offense with highly aggressive forechecking. The team has also used a more conservative, but equally effective 1-4 forecheck, which makes the opposing team work harder before entering the offensive zone. The team currently is responsible for 123 goals scored, and 61 goals allowed. On the powerplay, Fairbanks has a rather simple approach with an Umbrella attack, putting an emphasis on one-timers. With their penalty kill, Fairbanks often switches between a mobile Diamond formation and a more conservative box, which allows them to utilize the team's size and physicality.
Fairbanks has drawn criticism from rival coaches and press for their physicality and rough play. They have often been called "dirty." Indeed, the team puts an emphasis on using their superior physical players to get the opponent out of rhythm and frustrate them, limiting any momentum developed. Call it dirty if you want, but Fairbanks has seen success in taking the best players out of their game despite sometimes drawing a fair amount of penalties. With a better than average penalty kill, this approach has worked for them for three straight seasons dating back to their second run in the BHL. However, in recent games, Coach Eric T has instructed the team to play a more disciplined and finesse game, which has yielded five straight wins. This may enable the team to be more flexible as the season moves on, but definitely expect Fairbanks to rough up other players on the ice. The team has no defined scoring line as each line plays very tough on both ends of the ice, forcing the other team to work incredibly hard to meet Fairbanks skate for skate.
It is said that the Fairbanks organization, in general, has a "us against the world" mentality instilled by the coaching staff. The coach is known to speak his mind during press conferences, often drawing fines or warnings from the league. The players respect the approach, however, and are extremely loyal due to their coach being the first to defend them.
Dustin Reinke is the leader and best player on the team. At 38 years old, his speed isn't what it used to be, but the Fairbanks native continues to utilize some of the best passing, shooting, and puckhandling in the league. At 6'5, Reinke is also among the best defenders and physical players in the league while fitting the prototype for Fairbanks' tactical system. Anton Murogov is a veteran from the Russian League and has seen some successful campaigns in the SHL with other teams. Murogov is another talented center despite his age and is a great two-way player at 6'1, with the speed, physicality, and offensive skills to back it up. Murogov's compatriot, Vladislav Chirkash, is another solid two-way center that has recently started playing as a winger with great success. Chirkash, like Murogov, can dish out assists and score when needed all while playing solid defense. Jack Andrews is the tallest player on the active roster, standing at 6'8, but carries tremendous speed and firepower, as well as the defense and physical play that is to be expected from someone of his size. Andrews can be seen leading the team's checking line, or as the fans like to call it, the Grind Line MKII. Sacha Leroux-Provencal is another 6'5 player, and leads the team with his energetic play that allows him to utilize...you guessed it, speed and physicality.
Jonathan Bucher is a diminutive Austrian and is a member of the first line, providing fantastic two-way and offensive player. With speed and surprising physical grit, Bucher also carries a hard shot and has racked up 27 points with 15 assists and 12 goals. Joe Carriere is a player of similar physical stature and has perhaps the best shot and speed in the league. Carriere is also a member of the first line and has 11 goals and 12 assists. Leading the second line, Jedediah Gaynor is a 6'2 two-way and power forward and is often seen charging the net while setting up scoring chances for others. Accompanying Leroux-Provencall on the third line, Hugo Sandgren is the team's captain and has been with Fairbanks since their Prince Rupert days in the BHL. At 6'7, Sandgren isn't the fastest player, but is energetic and experienced at 35 years old, providing plenty of offense and grit to help lead an energetic line. Mathis Jarret is another power forward playing for the third line, and also provides plenty of energy and grit. Rounding out the 4th line are Winston Guin and Karol Balog. Guin, standing at 6'7, is perhaps one of the best checking players in the league and often utilizes his size and defense to initiate successful offensive attacks. Balog, a veteran from Slovakia, is the team's leading grinder and has no problems getting down and dirty to help the team gain momentum. Balog, despite being 35, is a speedster and is more than capable of throwing his body around.
David Kucer is a former first-round pick and has shown his tremendous ability this season with a league-leading 38 points, including 15 goals and 23 assists. At 28 years old, it is a miracle how this guy was let go by his former GHL team. Kucer has certainly found a home for himself in Fairbanks, becoming a fan favorite. Rushan Simonov accompanies Kucer on the first line and is the third Russian on the team. Simonov is a speedster, but also knows how to set up teammates, racking up 16 assists. Don't underestimate his ability to play defense either. On the second line, Irving McAdoo and Martin Demjanovic are the "do everything" guys, having the ability to the support the offense, play tough checking defense, and help the team with solid two-way play. With the third and final pair, Olaf Swartz and Jan Silvestri are the "rocks' in Fairbanks' defense, standing their ground in the defensive zone as "stay at home" defenders and adding an overall balance to the team's defensive approach. Maxime-Oliver Raeburn is the seventh defender on the team, and is featured regularly in the rotation, and can play both on the second and third line. Both Raeburn and Demjanovic stand at 6'7, adding both power and size to the top defensive corps in the league.
Angelos Rudolf is the team's leading netminder. The German 31 year old made a name for himself in the net with the Rigolet Robots before being traded to the Union in a sign-and-trade deal with the Barrows Red Foxes. Although noted for being somewhat inconsistent, Rudolf is one of the best goalies in the world and is known to be aggressive, acting with a "sweeper' mentality. Remy Bastrash, despite the name, is a solid backup netminder and could his own as a starter if needed somewhere down the line.