As it tends to do, history repeats itself as the Ferris State Bulldogs leave Fairbanks with no points last weekend as the Nanooks handed them 3-1 and 3-2 (OT) losses on Friday and Saturday respectively, bringing the aforementioned winning streak to 15-0-2.
Unfortunately, I was out of town for these games. While residing in the central time zone, where Alaska hockey games don't exactly air in prime time, I wasn't able to tune in for this series. However, sources say that Ferris looks much improved from last season, and fought us until the bitter end both nights.
In game one, all of the Nanook goals (with the exception of the empty-netter at the end) came on the power play, capitalizing twice on four chances for a 50% power play conversion. From my observations watching the films between FSU and RMU, their defense has really tightened up from what I remember last season. With that, Ferris got on the board first at the 14:31 mark of the first period as Blair Riley sneaks one past Greenham just outside the crease off of a centering pass from Cody Chupp. The Nanooks answered with just 1.1 seconds left in the first when freshman Nik Yaremchuk beat Taylor Nelson and the clock to knot the game up at 1-1 with a man advantage headed into the first intermission.
The Ferris defense really clamped down in the 2nd period, but got a little rattled as Ferris' Eric Alexander took an infamous 5 minute major penalty for checking from behind, and had a 10 minute game misconduct penalty tacked on to that as Mr. Alexander found his new home in the locker room for the remainder of the game. Already down a man, Blair Riley becomes the second guy to go to the box at the 12:00 mark to give Alaska a full 2 minutes of 5 on 3 power play action. Ferris defense did a good job defending in their zone and clearing the puck, as the Nanook power play unit failed to convert on the 5 on 3 chance. With Blair Riley out of the box, the Nanooks still have 2 minutes left to work on the 5 minute major, and a minute later, Aaron Gens took a shot from the right point that Nelson had no chance of stopping. Obviously, I didn't see it, but I wished I had. Supposedly, outside of Ronnie Meyers goal in game 2 (trust me, I'll get to that in a second), it was the prettiest goal of the weekend. Gens' goal would become the game winning goal as Cardwell's empty netter at the end of the 3rd just puts the icing on the cake.
In game 2, there really is only one story here. Not taking anything away from Taranto's or Sova's goals, they both capitalized off of a pair of good rebounds. But the real gem comes from sophomore Ron Meyers. This guy has become pretty famous for his last minute antics around Fairbanks. Last year, as Alaska played host to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Meyers notched the games only goal in game three with just 50 seconds left in the 3rd period to send UA to the Joe. This season, he's back at it, with just 15 seconds left in overtime. I won't begin to describe the beauty of his play. Just watch for yourself...
Ronnie knows how to make a blogger proud.
Also, congratulations are in order for UA Athletic Director Forrest Karr for being selected in AKJOC's Top Forty Under 40! He will be recognized in a special luncheon on January 14th at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage.