The Nanooks and the Spartans both hit the ground running, continuing what they had going the night before. The 1st period didn't have much flow to it, a lot of stoppages, a few penalties, and a lot of miscues.
The Nanooks were able to get things going in their way for a bit in the first, as Jarret Granberg would get the deflection from a Petovello slapshot to go up 1-0.Peto caught a puck in center ice, slowed up at the point, blasted one through traffic that found Jarret Granberg before it found the back of the net. Not a bad goal, but not the prettiest. I liked Petovello's "just shoot it" mentality here, but certainly low percentage pay off, but they got it done. The goal is a testament though for getting shots off. Can't score if you don't shoot.
In nearly every game this year--Air Force, the only unranked regular season opponent thus far, being the exception--the 'Nooks have been taken for a ride in the second period. Not sure what happened, but the Nanooks have not been able to overcome the 2nd period slump so far. Whatever the beef is here, the guys have got to chew it and eat it soon. I honestly don't have a real understanding why this is. I haven't noticed a real reason why. Saturday, we took some penalties, and nearly spent half the period down a man, which explains that, but what about past games against CC or Union? I have no explanation.
Ultimately, this was the first real road test of the season. Michigan State is always a tough opponent, and although Greenham has been able to contain the Spartans in their past duels, MSU was able to crack his code Saturday for the upset. The 'Nooks were able to get their first power play goal since the 5 on 3 power play goal scored by Cody Kunyk against North Dakota--kudos to Maine by the way, huge sweep against UND this weekend, very impressive--back in the Kendall Classic in Anchorage. I do like coach Ferguson's call to play the rookies this weekend. All of them did respond well to the travel, but as a team, I think they're still trying to figure some things out.
Scott Greenham and the defense, despite the Saturday numbers was extremely impressive throughout the weekend. But with the impressive defense, you have to outscore the opposition, but with just 7 goals in the past 5 games, the Nanooks rank in the bottom 10 in the country in scoring offense with a 2 goals per game average (1.4 GPG in the past 5, excluding the 5 goals against Air Force). Too many little things, like offsides, icing on the power play, and bad penalties prevented a win this weekend.
The Nanooks will have this weekend against Bowling Green at home to get things going again, before another stronger run, beginning with Michigan at home, then a road trip against a team considered by many to be the number one team in the nation after this weekend in the Miami RedHawks. Coming back home for the Northern Michigan Wildcats, followed by two back to back road series against Ohio State and Ferris State to close out the first half of the season. Definitely a rough schedule, but once the systems are fine-tuned, I have no doubts that coach Ferguson's Nanooks will be successful.
Check out USCHO's photo gallery of the weekend for some good shots!