Gotta hand it to both teams tonight. Some seriously great hockey was played here in Fairbanks tonight. There was some moments greater than others, but neither team allowed an even strength goal. Definitely a tight game, but the Nanooks and the Red Hawks skated a great game. There wasn't a lot of shots, and it was a defensive oriented game.
Not sure if any highlights are going to go up, but Aaron Gens power play goal off of his rear end was pretty slick. He got jammed up by Miami's D, fell over and swept the shot past Reichard. Not the prettiest goal in the planet, but thats what was there, and most importantly, it went into the net. And the Nanooks went up 1-0 with very little time left in the first period.
Pat Cannone had a very sharp angled shot get through to the net on the power play. Again, that was the only shot there. There wasn't a myriad of scoring chances on either side, really. The game was very solid, very tight, just a great defensive game of hockey.
One thing I thought Alaska did extremely well that I think they had struggled with in the past is maintaining puck possession in the offensive zone. Once the Nanooks got into the offensive zone, they did a great job cycling the puck down and keeping it away from the pressure. Doing that set up a few chances that the Nanooks almost capitalized on.
Miami and Alaska were very strongly able to neutralize the others rush. There were a few odd man rushes in Alaska's favor, but I can't recall a rush that was in Miami's favor. The Red Hawks got a few shots on Greenham, but the Nanook defense stepped up, got in the shooting lanes, and forced Miami to take low percentage shots
On a similar note, Alaska did a superb job keeping pucks to the outside in the defensive zone. Coach Ferguson alluded to this in the post-game conference as well, but seeing it done, again forces the opposition to take low percentage shots, and Greenham was up to the task all night.
The crowd really got into it towards the end though. The Nanooks were ramping up the pressure, and a goal seemed imminent while Miami was a man down. The Red Hawks, however, stood tall in front of their goaltender and kept pucks away from him.
Again, it was a great game of hockey tonight. Both teams played very very well, and Miami skated away with the extra point tonight. Keeping our season scoring streak alive (scoring at least one point every series). Tomorrow, should see a bit of a different game, as the Nanooks look to get all three points and hopefully take sole possession back of fourth place (tied currently).
Other worthy notes: Coach Ferguson and his staff have historically put an emphasis on the educational aspect of college hockey, and the team has really responded to that. This past fall semester, the Nanook Hockey program has posted its highest cumulative GPA in memorable history of 3.57, an average number derived from the entire roster for the fall semester of 2009. A very deserving applause burst from the crowd when Coach Ferguson made that announcement in support of the players' efforts in the classroom. Great job guys.
See everyone at the Carlson Center tomorrow.