But we'll set that aside for now, and get on to the game...
The Nanooks skated very well, and skated very fast. I mentioned in my preview that I thought they ought to take more chances, well I saw some of that tonight, with forwards getting aggressive and getting three breakaways, which spawned conversations between breaks from MSU commentators that they couldn't believe how fast Alaska was. Although none of these rushes resulted in goals, one resulted in a drawn penalty ask Nik Yaremchuk was tripped up as he was driving the net.
The Nanooks would have 4 power play chances, one of which would result in the Nanooks' lone goal of the evening. Freshman Cody Kunyk will earn his 3rd goal of the season off of a blocked shot by fellow freshman linemate Colton Beck. Beck's shot was blocked, and whacked out of mid air by Kunyk over Palmisano's glove to go up 1-0.
The only other goal scored in regulation was during a second period pounding that the Spartans would inflict, outshooting the Nanooks 20-7 in those 20 minutes. Four minutes of that would be spent on the power play, which amassed 12 shots in that situation. The Nanooks had a power play as well in the second period, one in which they could not get a shot on goal, and almost allowed a shorthanded breakaway goal, but was saved by the Great Wall of Greenham. Greenham wasn't able to save a spinning shot from the slot by Trevor Nill, who got a shot through some traffic and snuck the puck in over Greenham's shoulder, just under the crossbar to get the goal.
The Nanooks did rebound of sorts and outshot MSU 11-5, but couldn't capitalize, despite applying some good pressure. Michigan State did things well here, that both Union and Colorado College let up on last weekend in Fairbanks: positioning. Both Union and CC got aggressive in their defensive play towards the end, which allowed the game winners for Alaska in both of the 2-1 victories last weekend. This game was looking very much the same, and the Nanooks nearly capitalized on a few scoring chances by several players.
It wasn't until the third period that I thought the Nanooks were really playing their game. They had some good looks in the first period, some struggles in the second and overall just couldn't get a lot generated to get things going. The 3rd period was very much the best for the Blue and Gold tonight, but unlike last weekend, it wasn't enough to put the game out of reach for MSU, who will ultimately earn another tie and remains undefeated on the season.
The overtime period wasn't a lot different. The Nanooks did take an unfortunate penalty just 48 seconds into the period as Sova was nabbed for tripping, but the Spartans would only be able to put one shot on goal throughout the whole period. The Nanooks did have their chances, but they appeared to play a bit conservatively as to not give MSU any chances either, and the game would eventually be decided by a shootout...
After Chelios' aforementioned shot was botched by the ref, Andy Taranto threw a wrister that Palmisano was up to the task for. Greg Wolfe would shoot second for the Spartans, but I use the term "shoot" very loosely in this sense, because you have to maintain possession of the puck first, in order to actually get the shot off. Either Wolfe is really bad at puck handling, or Greenham poke checked him with his mind. I choose to believe the latter.
Colton Beck and Ryan Hohl notched the two goals to pull off the shootout victory. Beck and an incredibly quick series of dekes, going forehand-backhand-forehand that beat Palmisano low glove side. And so the old adage goes ... "the hand is quicker than the eye, my friend".
Ryan Hohl would eventually get the game winner after Brett Perlini's equalizer ala-Alex Ovechkin. Hohl channeled his inner-Ovie, with the leg kick, snapshot, and everything. As Ryan skated in, post leg twitch, he ripped a shot that caught Palmisano by surprise it just blazed by him glove side. I'd give him two goals for one, just on style points. But, since I didn't write the rulebook, we'll have to stick with the one. Even if I did write the rulebook, its not like my rules would have been enforced anyway...
On other news, I apologize (sort of) for the lack of depth on yesterday's game preview. I wrote it from my iPhone while trying to watch the Oregon Ducks and the Red Wings games, all at the same time. That made it kind of hard. Doing so, I missed a pair of storylines coming into the game.
- Scott Greenham is now 2-0-2 against Michigan State in his career. He has now posted a .973 save percentage, 0.72GAA and a shutout against the Spartans, dating back to January 3rd, 2009 in his first CCHA start.
- Nanook newcomer Adam Henderson travels back to his former home in away colors. He got a lineup spot tonight and used it to his advantage, throwing his weight around. One of which, he almost earned a major penalty for, but turned out to be a CFB minor.
Saturday's game is set to drop at 5:05PM Eastern, that makes for a 1:05PM AKDT puck drop. Unfortunately, tomorrow will not have the luxury of televised coverage on KFXF, or any station around the country for that matter. If you want to watch it, you'll have to shill $10 to watch a postage stamp sized feed from msuspartans.com. At least the AmericaOne feeds are somewhat high quality, makes it a little more worth the investment. Don't forget about Bruce Cech either, the Voice of the Nanooks is