Congrats to the Nanooks in their victory over Michigan State. This win marks the 50th victory for Dallas Ferguson in his head coaching career in just three seasons, just the second Nanooks bench boss to accomplish that feat. The other would be now-Gophers head coach Don Lucia.
The first period had some good back and forth action, as the Nanooks dominated the first half of the period, but a penalty to Carlo Finucci sent the Spartans to a power play that started to change the tide. At that point, the Spartans didn't even have a shot on goal, and they got 4 in right at the tail end of it, and really tested Greenham's rebound control. Scottie was definitely on top of his game to keep it 0-0. The Nanooks were able to turn it around with about two minutes left in the first period, but weren't able to get one to the back of the net. Kaare Odegard had some great offensive chances, which is good to see from a defensive defenseman. He had some nifty moves in transition to get past a couple of defenders and even found himself pinching down to help out. Probably the first time I've seen such moves from the sophomore defenseman.
The second period got much of the same back and forth action, but found Aaron Gens going to the box, and the Spartans once again getting a momentum swing in their favor, and Jake Chelios tallied a power play marker down low from a pass from the point by Tory Krug. But the Nanooks didn't take too long to respond, tightening up on both sides of the puck and really started forcing the issue. Watching the game, you couldn't tell that the score was as it was, the Nanooks really were skating circles around the Spartans at that time. And finally, 9 minutes later, the Nanooks defensemen Michael Quinn led a strong breakout up the boards to Enders, then over to Yaremchuk on the right side, and over to Meyers who brought it into the zone, found Yaremchuk down low, who found Quinn trailing in on the play streaking down the slot, who was left all alone by the Spartan defense and buried his first career collegiate goal. Good to see him get rewarded, too. He's been really stepping up these last few games, and getting a bit more ice time and experience. He's aggressive, which has gotten him behind the play a time or two, but it paid off here.
In the 3rd, each team also notched a goal. MSU got what I would call a lucky one, after a puck ricocheted off the post, it trickled in the crease as Greenham kind of lost track of it. The Spartans got bodies down in front of the net jamming at it, and Tim Buttery was able to get his stick on it to go up 2-1.
But the Nanooks again were able to answer the call, again off of a good transition. Nanooks captain Kevin Petovello caught Carlo Finucci streaking in, who maintained some patience and found Jarret Granberg cutting in front of the cage, who got a stick on the airborne puck to deflect it past the blocker of Palmisano to knot it all up 2-2.
After 60 minutes, the teams went to the locker room to arm themselves for period number 4, a sudden death 20 minute overtime. And it took 19 minutes and 40 seconds of it for the game to come to an end, as Sova hit Yaremchuk in the chest. "...it kind of hit me in the chest, and fell in front of me, and I didn't even look, I just shot the puck and it just went in" Nik said of his goal during the post-game conference.
Definitely a long tiring game, but the adrenaline must be pumping through the guys veins as they are one win away from advancing to the CCHA quarterfinals, likely against the Michigan Wolverines. Look for the guys to keep the throttle open tomorrow, and grind out another victory over the Spartans.
Looking at the other scores around the CCHA, both Northern Michigan and Lake Superior posted dominant victories over Bowling Green and Ohio State, respectively as all 3 home teams won the opening game of the first round series.