I think Scott Greenham had a little inspiration from his former peer Chad Johnson, who had a pretty similar performance against the Atlanta Thrashers in his first start as a professional goaltender for the New York Rangers.
It's basically been a full month since the Nanooks last took the ice, and though there were some signs of some rust, they sure got the job done. Shots were definitely not even, but the defense stood strong in front of Greenham and didn't give the Mavericks (a term that until recently, was far overused in the Last Frontier) much to shoot at. In fact, UNO's only goal was nothing but sheer luck, taking a light bounce off of Greenham's right shoulder, and trickled over him and into the goal.
Greenham, who made 41 saves on 42 shots, was rock solid. I'm surprised he didn't get the shut out, but the powers that be didn't make that happen. He was very good in his positioning, didn't get phased by the fakes. In the 5-3 loss against UNO in December, Greenham bit into some fake shots that game that must have stuck with him over the break, because he wasn't going to budge. He didn't over-commit, he was very sharp and very outstanding the entire game.
I didn't like the 12:00 in penalties we took though. Some of them were more blatent then others, but for the least penalized team in the country, not a great outing. Kind of interesting that the least and pretty much the most penalized teams in the NCAA are both from Alaska, though.
But anyway, there are three players I want to spotlight in this recap though: Derek Klassen, Ronnie Meyers, and Dion Knelsen. Derek and Dion were absolutely stellar on the penalty kill. Dion did what he does best... Dangle. Instead of trying for the short handed goal, Dion ducked behind the goal and danced with the puck as his teammates did a full change. When 3 defenders crowd you and jab at the puck, sure, you're gonna lose it, but he killed about 15-18 seconds of valuable penalty time...single-handed.
Derek and Ronnie were killing the Mavericks on the forecheck tonight, causing turnovers and pressuring the puck, which gave the 'Nooks a chance to change. Though neither names will be in the scoring columns, 27 and 12 helped create those chances. One of Klassen's forays in forechecking university created that chance for Dion. After Derek came off the ice, Dion, while backchecking, knocked the puck up ice and beat Faulkner for the unassisted tally.
Although that was only one of two unassisted marks in the game. The first one coming much earlier. Just after the Nanooks first possession of the game, and just as the Mavericks thought the puck was going the other way, Andy Taranto picks one off just past the Maverick blue line and went top shelf for the first score of the night, just 51 seconds in. It's been a month... and he hasn't scored in a while...
Nik Yaremchuk got in the action to, snapping in a rebound that came his way while on the power play. Good awareness, and strength on his part too as the shot gleaned off Faulker's pads. A defender had him pretty tied up, but the little guy had other plans, scoring his fourth goal of the season.
I mentioned some rust the players were exhibiting up the page a bit, and that comes from passing and turnovers. We've had some troubles with passing a bit towards the end of the first half of the season, and although we showed that tonight, I don't believe they're related. I think the first half kind of wore us out a bit. Like I've said before, we've had some injuries and I think a lot of it had to do with that. Tonight was our first game back from being off for nearly a month, and although the boys have been in Omaha for nearly a week practicing, that time off showed in the form of turnovers. A lot of the players, some of the starters included, had some puck handling issues that UNO, who played last week, were happy to take the puck off their hands.
I'm one to believe that with the refreshed team, these won't be issues for long.
I spoke to a couple of guys yesterday who are involved with the Carlson Center, talking about the plans for the rink upgrade. If you don't follow the blog closely, the Carlson Center is [over]due for an upgrade to the boards and glass surrounding the olympic-sized ice. The treasure in this conversation comes with the fact that we are getting seamless glass!
As it exists today, the Carlson Center is surrounded by very aged plexiglas, supported by metal supports at each seam between the glass. The new surround, made of tempered glass, due to its strength, will not require supports that go along the seams. The glass is held together by caps at the top, which are also made of glass.
The benefit is, you no longer have an obstructed view of play. The fact that its real glass, being a stronger material, will make scratches and scruffs a rarity and make them last longer.
Searching for an example to prove my point, led me to a forum post from a discussion about the same type of upgrade for the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. Take a look at the difference...