The game got off to a great start, as the Nanooks continued what they started last night controlling play and the flow of the game. As a result, they got quite a few chances but were unable to come up with the 2nd and 3rd chances to beat Jared Coreau who got the start in net tonight. But the wheels started to fall off the bus after Garrick Perry allegedly slammed a Northern player into the boards from behind in the epitome of a delayed penalty. Both referees didn't call it, include Berkebile who was right there, but about 2 minutes later, after a conference with the linesman, Perry was issued a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind. An NMU reporter indicated that the video replay showed that Perry raised his shoulder into the back of the player's head as he was finishing the check. I didn't get to see the same replay, but if it was as described, I can see why it was called.
9 seconds in to the major, Andrew Cherniwchan puts the first goal on the board, but that would be the only goal on the major that the Nanooks would allow as they took the 1-0 deficit to the locker room. In the second, with renewed energy, the Nanooks seemed to be eager to tie it up, and just over 2 minutes into the 2nd, Aaron Gens ripped one for his first goal of the season on a laser set up by Finucci.
Now with the game tied, a monumental mistake results in a turnover in the Nanooks defensive zone as an outlet pass landed right on the stick of Tyler Gron who had Matt Thurber on the backdoor for a 2-on-0 chance which resulted in what was described as "the easiest goal ever seen with the goalie in". That wasn't quite the turning point, but it was close. Northern seemed to take over a bit there, and notched another one, Cherniwchan's second of the evening for a 3-1 lead.
At that point, the Nanooks seemed back into it, getting aggressive, and eventually got a power play chance as Jake Baker was called for holding, then during the delayed penalty, Mitch Jones was also flagged for holding, resulting in a 5 on 3 power play for the Nanooks that Cody Kunyk was able to capitalize on, redirecting a shot from Colton Beck over the glove of Coreau to cut it to 3-2.
Into the 3rd, the play was back and forth quite a bit, each team generating some pretty good scoring chances, but defenseman Mitch Jones got his 3rd of the year on a pretty fast play that seemed to develop quickly. The shot deflected off of Greenham's left shoulder and went in just under the cross-bar.
5th goal just came minutes later as Thurber notched his second of the game, seemed to be catching the defense napping a bit, as the Nanooks were getting quite a bit of pressure, but a rush the other way, and a few passes, then boom, the horn sounds.
While Michael Quinn gave the Nanooks a glimpse of hope with an unassisted blast from the point, a laser that had eyes found the inside of the post and went in. I honestly love the sound of the puck hitting the post, and watching the light go off. At least I have that good moment to relish. But anyway, a great shot by Quinn, who still has bragging rights on Gens as the top goal scoring defenseman on the team.
After getting another power play opportunity, the Nanooks pulled Scott Greenham electing for a 6th skater on 4, but Matt Thurber intercepted the puck towards the point and fired it the length of the ice into the empty net for his third goal of the game, which goes in the books as a short handed empty net goal. Then with 4.2 seconds remaining, not to be outdone, Andrew Cherniwchan seals his hat trick with a goal off the rush.
While Scott Greenham did allow a career-high 6 goals against, I can't put everything on him. The 'Nooks seemed to be playing too offensively, and didn't keep the defensive aspect of the game in focus. Couple that with a few mistakes in their own zone and you about have the recipe for a night like tonight.
The Nanooks certainly had their offensive chances, but give Coreau credit, he's good. And in case you didn't know, he's 6' 5". He barely needs to move at all to stop shots. I'll give the team credit here though, the Nanooks' offensive effort was valiant. And generally, with 3 goals scored, you could generally say that couple with a normal defensive outing from this team, a win would be earned. The guys were missing that tonight.
The Nanooks will stay on the road throughout the week and make their way down to Big Rapids to take on Ferris State. As always, stay tuned for coverage!