Tonight's game had a much better start for the 'Nooks. Even coming out for warm-ups, they had a bit of jump in their step. Taranto put it well after the game, "...we played desperate from the drop of the puck in the first period, and that's something that we need to do a lot more of." And they did. I kind of felt that my recap from Friday's game may have been a little harsh, but it probably wasn't anything that they didn't hear already. But as coach said last night, they needed to take it in, reset, and come back and take it to them, and that's exactly what happened. Although they did surrender the first goal, they didn't let that deflate the momentum or change their attack. Cody Kunyk and his usual wizardry put the Nanooks even at 1-1 after picking off a pass and driving the net. He had Nolan Youngmun in toe across the crease, but Kuny was going for a shot all the way, and he didn't miss.
The Nanooks had a bunch of momentum at the end of the period, and a glowing 5 on 3 power play chance that they weren't able to capitalize on. The play seemed to be there, but the shooting lanes just weren't. The power play still seems to be a weak point of the team, although it really seems to be improving. I really like the motion that the coaches are implementing. The goals haven't been there yet, but they're headed in the right direction.
The second period saw a lot more action as Kunyk picked up his 2nd goal of the evening after Beck picked off the outlet pass in Bowling Green's zone. Beck and Kunyk combined for the go-ahead (and eventual game winning) goal just 41 seconds in.
Finucci had a very nice looking wrister a bit later in the period to make the win that much more of a statement. The guys did a great job staying aggressive on the forecheck to create the play and driving the net, forcing the Falcons to play the pass. Odegard set the play up by being aggressive and staying up at the blueline and picking off Bowling Green's outlet pass. 'Nucci got the puck and buried it high near side as the goalie was sliding left, giving the Nanooks the two goal lead headed into the 3rd.
They say the two goal lead is the hardest lead to keep in hockey, but I was quite impressed though with the Nanooks drive. They didn't sit back, and kept taking it to Bowling Green, playing much of the 3rd period in the Falcon's zone. Bowling Green then started to look flat, and just started taking the beating. But they showed flashes of brilliancy and getting a few quality scoring chances. Greenham looked like he was back to his normal, stellar-goaltending self. After their goal in the 1st period, Scotty put up a wall in the crease and didn't let anything through it. As the 3rd period progressed, and Bowling Green remembered that there was a hockey game going on, they started causing some havoc in front for Scotty, screening him and backing him into his net. They had a few shots that I couldn't see how he made the save, but he did.
After Bowling Green pulled Hammond late in the period, Justin Filzen made them pay with a shot right on the money from just outside the blue line. I think a lot of people were secretly hoping that Kuny could have gotten his hat trick, but I'm glad to see that Justin got the goal. He's a good center that works hard, doesn't get a lot points, but makes plays on both sides of the ice. You'll notice he never thinks twice about grinding in the corners, or taking the body. That's why you see him paired with Meyers, as they seem like they're wired the same way. Good to see him rewarded with that opportunity.
A solid 60 minutes of hockey for the Nanooks tonight results in a win. That's the best way to put it. I think last night was a blessing in disguise, as the guys kick things into high gear to drive into the seemingly difficult second half of the schedule. They know what it takes to win, it's just a matter of executing.
The guys' stay at home this week as they prepare for Notre Dame. It's been awhile since they last met, but I think the 'Nooks still have that sour taste from the losses in South Bend back in November. With the Irish coming to our barn, vengeance seems to be in order. Until then... Go 'Nooks!
Listen to tonight's post-game press conference