A valiant effort tonight was demonstrated at the Carlson Center, and the Nanooks get back into a 2 way tie for 4th place in the CCHA standings, right up with Michigan, who have 3 games in hand against UA, with 11 conference wins.
MSU took an interesting stance and did not start their starting goaltender, Drew Palmisano, and went with Bobby Jarosz, who is finishing out his senior year. He appeared pretty solid, and the two UA goals, he didn't really have a chance at.
I could summarize the goals, but I think Dion does the best job, as said in the post game conference; "Both of my goals, I was just in front of the net with my stick on the ice. I had a couple of really nice passes from Andy and Aaron". When asked about the close call for the hat trick, Dion commented that he had broken his stick, and he was using Nik Yaremchuk's stick, so that was his excuse. I can understand that. His shot was only off by just a few inches. The Easton S19 that he typically skates with is a pretty specialized and fine-tuned stick. If he was slashed and it broke, I'd be yelling at the guy that did it to foot the ~$250 bill for a replacement.
Assistant coach Brian Meisner said during the conference that the team has been focusing on aggressiveness, keeping the hammer down in recent history, which is exactly what I think is key for this team. If you saw the end of that game against Northern Michigan last week, you would have seen at the end of the 3rd period exactly the kind of pressure that the Nanooks can put on a team. During that period, all 5 guys on the ice were working together and working hard. In unison, the team worked together and very nearly came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at the end. The Nanooks played like that all game. They kept pucks out of the middle and to the outside, gave Greenham the easy looks, kept the Spartans out of the crease, and out of Greenham's vision. More importantly, they generated a lot of chances.
Playing like they did tonight, it would be very tough for even the best of teams to beat the Nanooks. If Alaska can keep up this drive, and use their motivation to keep that same mentality alive, the Nanooks will be a very difficult team to beat in the playoffs.
Tomorrow, UA better come to play. This was the first time this season that Michigan State has been shutout, and I'm not so sure they are going to lay down and take it. Who knows, maybe they will. But another three points this weekend will do nothing but help the Nanooks as this race through the standings is incredibly tight, as these three points earned tonight catapulted Alaska from 7th to 4th.
Tomorrow's game will be televised nationally on several networks, so be sure to check your local listings for all of you out of state folks. The game will also be on B2 networks, so you can watch the game there online, for $7. KSUA internet streaming radio is, of course, always available as a free alternative.
And as always, you can follow my Twitter feed to get live updates during the game. One of my followers even said I was faster than the internet streamed radio. Also, just a big thanks to all of my readers here and my followers on Twitter. It's the Nanook community that makes this worth my time. I don't make money for this, I do it to give some more exposure to the team that we all love.
I'll see you at the game tomorrow.