Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nanooks Tame Notre Dame 4-1

Not much of a different start tonight as the Nanooks still got the shot advantage, but the difference came with the 2 goals that went on the board in the first. Junior defenseman Scott Enders gets his first of the season on a backwards pass from a very aware Kevin Petovello to go up 1-0. Just 2 minutes later, Jarret Granberg's stick finds a rebound in front of the crease off a shot from Aaron Gens. Granny was money and got the puck off of his stick quickly to get the Nanooks 2nd goal of the evening.

Into the 2nd period, the Nanooks started with a few seconds remaining of power play time. The Nanooks found themselves once again trying to stifle Riley Sheahan and the ND shorthanded unit who tried to generate some offense chances, and came up successful this time around. The intriguing part was how much offense was being generated by either side. 32 combined shots were put on goal, 18-14 with 3 power play chances for the 'Nooks. So much of the Nanook's defense came in the neutral zone in the 1st stanza, stifling Notre Dame before they could even establish a presence in the offensive zone. And the Nanook offense was able to set up for more opportunities, especially with the man advantage, able to apply pressure by maintaining possession off the cycle. While Notre Dame would get the lone goal of the 2nd, the 3rd would be a much different story.

The 3rd period was full of execution for the 'Nooks, I loved nearly every second of it. One of the first times I thought the guys have really been on their game since the domination of the Michigan Wolverines earlier this season. Aaron Gens threw a shot to the net with Carlo Finucci camped in front, who made one of the best skilled deflections I've seen from a forward all year. A nice heads up play to nudge the puck from about waist height to above Mike Johnson's shoulder and under the crossbar to go up 3-1. However, a 5:00 major/10:00 game misconduct penalty called against Joe Sova opened the man advantage door for the first time all game. But a rock solid penalty killing effort limited ND to 2 shots on goal for all 5 minutes. Nik Yaremchuk also answered the call with a shortie of his own, capitalizing on a defensive mistake at the blue line and earned a breakaway and flew 114 feet and beat Mike Johnson, who looked like a deer staring at the head light of an oncoming bullet train. The aftermath wouldn't be much different either. Brutal.

Like I said, definitely one of the better games I've seen in a while from this team. Friday's game could have gone a similar way, but Mike Johnson brought his A-game and made it very difficult to get pucks in. If the guys can keep this momentum going throughout their preparations this week and into Ann Arbor, Michigan could be in for a ride.

The team will stay out and take their time getting up to Ann Arbor as they prepare for Michigan. Historically, they'll usually hang around in Detroit or even Chicago during the week and practice and take care of school work. Since school doesn't start until Thursday, I can only imagine what they'd be up to in a big city.

Tale of the Tape

This is the first series this season that Notre Dame's leading scorer TJ Tynan has been held off of the scoresheet.

The Nanooks held the highest scoring offense in the country to 3 goals total in a two game series, the fewest of any two game series Notre Dame has played all season, this includes the two game IceBreaker and Shillelagh tournaments.

Tonight's win marks the first victory in South Bend with Dallas Ferguson at the helm. The last win at the Joyce was in November 2006.

Notre Dame has scored a nation leading 12 shorthanded goals this season. Nik Yaremchuk's was Notre Dame's first shorthanded goal they've allowed, and the 3rd for the Nanooks this season.

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