So my 6-0 prediction was actually pretty close, but I should have stuck with my instincts and not gone with the shutout, and I would have been dead on.
The game, expectedly, started off fast and pretty sloppy. Passes were missed, and turnovers were made by both teams. But the Trojans, coming off of their 9-0 loss against UAA on Friday, were looking for vengeance. They were skating hard, fast, and roughing up our players. For about the first 8 minutes of the first period, I counted about 5 penalties that probably should have been called. Then, at about the 10:30 mark, Trojans Brad Plumton (#7) was called for his first of three penalties for interference. Then, 27 seconds later, sophomore Cody Butcher (#24) took a pass at the right point from assistant captain Kevin Petovello, then buried the puck in the back left of the net to make it 1-0 with 9:40 remaining in the first. Brandon Knelson also was credited for the assist on the play. So the Nanook season starts off 100% on power play scoring. If only that could stick, right?
Well it wasn't long after that, that another power play opportunity came and gone for the 'Nooks as Trojan Sean Goodwin (#19) was called for holding at 13:23 into the first period. But it wasn't but 5 minutes later that our Nanook captain Derek Klassen capitalized off of a missed shot from Brandon Knelson that bounced back off of the end-boards and there was nothing between Klassen and a goal but air as Trojan goalie Ryan Nieszner was WAY out of position. Needless to say, Klassen buried one to take the score up to 2-0 to end the scoring in the first period, which ultimately became the evening's game winning goal.
The second period started off very well. Passes were connecting, and plays were going well, and just 30 seconds into the second period, Dion Knelson had a SWEET shot on a 3-on-1 opportunity that SAIT goaltender Ryan Nieszner had no hope of stopping. Coming off a center ice steal by freshman Andy Taranto (#29), who passed it forward to fellow freshman Nik Yaremchuk (#7), and you saw my review of him from last week, he was definitely aware of his surroundings and as the defender came up on him, he fed it to Dion who netted his only point of the night, which unfortunately the hat trick I predicted didn't happen, but oh well... Just after this play, SAIT pulled Ryan Nieszner from the game after 3 goals against (18 saves of 21 shots), and replaced him with Tommy Tartaglione.
Seemingly, after going up 3-0, the Nanooks seemingly eased off a bit, and passing accuracy dropped, and predictably turnovers increased. It wasn't very long before the Trojans finally got on the board when Mike Ullrich tipped Brad Plumton’s shot over Scott Greenham's left shoulder to net their first goal in SAIT's trip to Alaska, and cut the score to 3-1 at the end of the second period.
I'm sure Dallas Ferguson had some things to say to his players during the break, because the Nanooks really tightened up defensively in the 3rd period. They held the Trojans to just 3 shots for more than half of the period, and only 5 throughout the 3rd period. They picked it up offensively as well, playing 14 minutes and 31 seconds of the 3rd period were either in the neutral, or Trojan's zone. But it wasn't until SAIT took two back-to-back penalties to give the Nanooks a 5-on-3 power-play for 1:41. But just 23 seconds later, junior forward Dustin Sather took a pass from right to left across the front of the crease from Andy Taranto and beat Trojan netminder Tommy Tartaglione for the Nanooks 4th mark of the evening.
Now with one of the Trojans out of the box, the Nanooks are still working on a 5-on-4 powerplay with 1:23 left, and just 26 seconds after the face-off from the previous goal, junior forward Ryan Hohl buried the puck on the right side of Tartaglione off of a pass from Cody Butcher with 3:17 left in the 3rd period. Freshman Jarret Granberg also got credit for the assist.
With the Trojans back to full strength, the Nanooks scored again just over a minute after the previous goal. Sophomore forward Justin Filzen got on the board with just 2:01 remaining. With assists coming from Dustin Sather and Ryan Hohl, Justin Filzen took a good shot from straight in front of the goal and put it right in the 5-hole. Sather did a good job blocking Tartaglione's view of the shot, and by the time he saw the puck, it was too late. Nanooks go up 6-1, which will stay that way to the end of the game.
Scott Greenham looked sharp in his first start after assuming the number one goalie position, stopping 20 of 21 shots for a 95.2 save percentage with just 1 goal against. On the same note, the Nanook defense picked up right where it left off last year, killing all 5 of the Trojan's power play chances.
The Nanook power play looked much sharper than last year, capitalizing on 3 of 8 chances for a 37.5% power play scoring.
Stars of the game
3rd Star: Andy Taranto (2A)
2nd Star: Ryan Hohl (1G 1A)
1st Star: Brandon Knelson (3A)
The Nanooks put their mettle to the test next week as they face #5 Michigan on Friday at 5:05PM in the Sullivan Arena. The Nanooks are one of four teams partaking in the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage this season, going against Michigan (CCHA), Mercyhurst (Atlantic), and our rivals to the south, the UAA Seawolves (WCHA).
Last year, the Nanooks defeated Northeastern (2-2 tie, win in shoot-out), and UConn (5-0) to win the Kendall Classic title. They hope to retain that title next week as UAF enters non-conference play.
I will try to make it to Anchorage next weekend to live-blog the game, but I'm not making any promises at this point. Check back for updates.