Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nanooks Blank the Wolverines Behind the Great Wall of Greenham, 3-0.

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November..."

Congratulations to Scott Greenham, who is now tied with Chad Johnson and Wylie Rodgers for the career shutout record with 7. Tonight also marks the second time in program history that the Nanooks have held the goose egg  against Michigan, and the Great Wall of Greenham was between the pipes to record both of those shutouts. "It's an honor to be in the same bracket as those two guys. They were both great goalies when they were here, and they're both having really good professional careers as well. It's great to be in the same category." Greenham said after the game.

Cody Kunyk off the faceoff leaves it for Kevin Petovello
After about 30 seconds of feeling out the Wolverines, the Nanooks took it to them. Pass after pass was intercepted off the forecheck and in the neutral zone, and the 'Nooks would just take it back and start running the offense again. Like I said on my preview, Michigan heavily relies on passes through the middle, and the 'Nooks just plugged those lanes with guys and took the puck away from them, and kept it in the offensive zone. The Nanooks attempted 29 total shots in that period alone, with 11 getting to the goaltender, and 1 finding twine from Cody Kunyk.

The second period wouldn't be much different. The Nanooks were causing turnovers, getting chances, and just 49 seconds into the 2nd period. Finucci did an excellent job forechecking the puck from Chad Langlais in the corner, and Derek Klassen picked up the puck just inside the blue line, got it back to Carlo Finucci just behind the back line, who skated right out in front of an aloof Bryan Hogan and buried his second goal of the year. "I was just the first guy there, and I just put some pressure on him" Carlo said during the post game conference. "I just finished my hit on him, and didn't know what had happened behind me, but I saw [Derek Klassen] had picked up the puck and I was just yelling at the top of my lungs. I don't think Hogan saw me behind him, and I was able to walk around him.".

Carl Hagelin hagglin' with the puck.
Carl Hagelin would be the next UM player to go through the seemingly revolving penalty box door for hooking. During the power play, the Nanooks were able to get the puck in the net...I thought. However the official said no goal, but

After Michigan's A.J. Treais went to the box, Cody Kunyk  made a pass from the slot area back to Joe Sova who blasted one from 70 feet out at the blue line above the left side faceoff circle that seem to pinball its way to the net. Not long after, the Nanooks first two penalties of the game came just 19 seconds apart, and Alaska's special teams were tasked with 1:41 of 5 on 3 penalty time to kill. I'll tell you what, the Nanooks defense stood tall. They blocked shots, literally occupied every shooting lane. When Michigan was able to find ways around them, Greenham was there to close the door.

Jarret Granberg gets the puck back on the forecheck.
Michigan would continue to pressure through the 3rd period, outshooting the Nanooks 10-6 through the final stanza. But again, most of the shots they took in the 3rd period (33 total) were either blocked by the defense, or shot wide.

Defense was the name of the game.
Michigan is a forceful type team, who seem to have a comfort zone of play. They rely on certain things to happen for their game to work and when a team like the Nanooks disrupt those types of things like strong neutral zone defense, and a strong forecheck leads to turnovers to Michigan's disadvantage. Their opportunistic style and strong skills make for a team that usually can dictate the flow of the game. Not tonight. Scott said afterward "a team like Michigan really likes to run and gun, and they like to dictate the pace of the game, so if you get on them early, and forecheck like we did, and get an early goal like we did, that kind of sits them back on their heels. They don't really like playing when they're behind, and if they get that first goal, then that's when they're really comfortable, and they start getting the pressure."

Tomorrow, expect Michigan to be a little angry. I would expect a more physical game from them, but who knows. Tonight was Bryan Hogan's first loss, and also Michigan's first CCHA loss of the season. With other top CCHA teams in Notre Dame, and Miami both losing tonight, the Nanooks are now in a three-way tie for first place in the CCHA standings. This shutout also puts the Nanooks in the number one spot in the country for team defense, at 1.56 goals per game. Scott Greenham owns the same average and is now 3rd in the country among all NCAA D-I goalies for goals against average (among goalies who have played a minimum of 33% of total team's playing time).

Again, this is a big win for the Nanooks tonight. Tomorrow's game will surely have a lot on the line, as Michigan makes some adjustments to try to get a win. The 'Nooks job is to not let that happen.

Photos courtesy of Paul McCarthy

Download a copy of tonight's post-game press conference.


Amanda M said...

Small edit :)
It's Wylie Rogers, not Rodgers.

Ori said...

It didn't make it to the highlight reel here, but one of the best saves of the game came almost exactly 1/2 way through the second - the puck literally rolled up Greenham's arm, across his back and down the other arm!!! That guy has some serious composure - the slightest jerk or backward move and it would have gone in. I don't know what that looked like from other angles, but from mine it was awesome!

I am so impressed with this years' team. Everyone is contributing and playing their best. I love it that EVERY single member of our team will put themselves between a puck and the net. No exceptions.

Also, while we're helping you out with small edits: we are unbeaten at home in 12 games, but 1 was a tie where we lost the shootout. :)

Amanda M said...

Ori, I saw that too, I was SO nervous. Would have been nice to see the standing ovation Greenhame/the rest of the team got for the offensive stand they took and the saves Greenham was making! Haven't seen that in quite some time, it was almost like it was a playoff game with how in to the game the fans were!!

Anonymous said...

Watched the game online from Juneau. Great performance.

Question: Who's responsible for the video cameras at the Carlson Center? The quality is bad bad bad. My Flip Video has a better picture than the ancient cameras they use. Surely it wouldn't cost that much to upgrade the equipment.

The drastic rise in ticket costs over the past few years seems to have seriously effected attendance. Before my family moved, we had to cut the number of games we went to in half. I know there are economic realities that need to be addressed, but it's a lot nicer when the Carlson Center is packed.

Anyway, great performance by the Nanooks.

Anonymous said...

See that girl in the pink coat during the slow motion goal? THAT'S ME!!!!