From a fan's perspective, not a bad game to watch. The Nanooks were in it, and they were scoring, something that hasn't been seen as of late. And wow, what a first period. The Nanooks went up 2-0 in a hurry with goals from Cody Kunyk and Jarret Granberg. Kunyk took one hell of a shot from a sharp angle on a feed across the crease from Beck. And just 21 seconds later, Jarret Granberg hooked up with Nik Yaremchuk on a perfect demonstration of what speed and solid passing gets you. A solid scoring chance by forcing the defender to try to make desperation moves to stop you. And with a shot like Granberg's, it was like taking candy from a baby.
However, that 2-0 lead was short lived, as ND rallied back with 3 unanswered goals of their own to take the 3-2 lead, including a goal on a penalty shot by Riley Sheahan as Granberg was flagged for closing his hand on the puck. As a result, the officials called a penalty shot and naturally their best shooter got the shot, and consequently the goal as he head faked Greenahm and shot it high stick side. A pretty high percentage shot for a right handed shooter.
But the Nanooks weren't done yet, two more goals from Kunyk rounded out the first period. The first, an unassisted marker as he capitalized on a bad pass by a Notre Dame defender. The other from a great play by Beck, who had two defenders on him, yet he was able to grind andwork the puck out to Kunyk who was crashing the net. If I had a hat on, and of course continue to be able to deliver awesome content to you awesome Nanook fans for free, throwing said hat on the ice from the press area is probably not a smart idea. Needless to say, I really wanted to.
Sadly though, Kunyk's hatty was not enough to put it away. Honestly, I didn't think I would see the day that our defense wasn't there to stop them from getting more than our 4 goals. Last year, if we scored four goals in the entire game, it would be enough to win, because the defense just wasn't going to have any part of budging. This year, its seemingly a bit more porous. Not being in the PA announcers booth like back at the Carlson, I noticed that Greenham isn't doing a lot to challenge the opponents that are trying to screen him. He managed them well last year, actually standing his ground and moving people out of the way, not so much this year. And screens are exactly what led to two goals getting scored on him tonight. You can call it what you want, but 5 goals allowed is not his fault. For the most part, the defense played well, but you could sure tell when they broke down, and the puck started moving faster than they could. That's when things turned sour.
Tomorrow's game is at 5:05PM here local time, so 1PM there in Alaska. Be sure to tune in to my Twitter feed for live, in-game updates from the Compton Family Ice Arena, in South Bend.
UPDATE: Here's some video highlights and a great recap from Jamie Schwartzwald from CBS 13 in Fairbanks.