At 10 games unbeaten (8-0-2), the Nanooks now own the longest streak in college hockey after Denver fell last night.
The Nanooks once again put up 40 shots on goal, and Riley Gill posted a .900 save percentage, rightfully named one of the 3 stars for the game.
It's unfortunate for Gill that he doesn't have a better defense in front of him. He's a very solid goaltender, but the defense collapsed and left players open, that ultimately, turned into Nanook goals. Klassen's goal in the first period is a testament to that. Petovello made a nice centering pass when two Bronco defenders, namely Collins and Levundusky both collapsed on him, but they neglected Klassen in the slot. Big mistake. 1-0 'Nooks.
Not long after, Western broke the wall off Greenham and got their only goal of their last 120 minutes of the season. Kudos to them, I suppose that can be a high note to end on.
I will honestly say, regardless of the score, I couldn't be more disappointed with the way the Western team conducted themselves this weekend. Look, I know your coach is out the door, and that's kind of an unfortunate situation for any team to be in, but as a player, yelling the "F" word as loud as you possibly can so the mother in front of me in the stands apologizes to her child for what she heard is inexcusable. I don't want to say they played cheap, but they certainly took a few cheap shots. I think a lot of our penalties were instigated by Western players. In my career here, I don't think I've ever seen Dion called for unsportsmanlike conduct. I'm honestly surprised it happened. I don't know exactly what he said, or what Jared Katz said after that incident in the faceoff circle (Katz slashed Dion's stick before the puck was dropped. Katz got a penalty for slashing, then the words were exchanged), but I'm pretty certain they weren't discussing dinner plans.
As I said in the beginning, the streak is now at 10 games, with the Nanooks now outscoring their opponents 37-13 in that span.
On another tangent, I wanted to touch on something that was said in the post-game conference. During the crowd questions, a fan asked Coach Ferguson how he prepares the team for a game against another team that is "much weaker on paper", which is a great question that I never really thought about asking. But Dallas's response was even better. "These guys want to be a great hockey team, they want to be successful... They want to be great, they don't want to be just average, they don't want to be .500..." Coach has gone on record several times this season talking about goaltending, with his coined remark "You want your goaltender to stop all of the shots he's supposed to, and a few that he isn't supposed to", and the same could be said for the games themselves. A great team needs to get the wins they are supposed to, and a few they're not. Though, the Nanooks, while working in a few new faces in the lines, got off to stellar start, but kind of fell shy of their expectations towards the end of the first half of the season, such as the series in Kalamazoo against Western Michigan. Now, the Nanooks are surging. They definitely weren't supposed win, yet alone shut out Michigan State last month, but they did. Feel free to download the recording of the post game conference to hear it all.
The Nanooks saw the number one team in the country come in and shut them down in their own barn. Since that incident, Alaska has responded with their own run of dominance, and looks well prepared to take on Miami in the CCHA championship game, and even beyond.
Standing in their way, the Northern Michigan Wildcats. The Nanooks are a much different looking squad than they saw earlier this year. Look out Marquette, the Nanooks are coming to town... again...