The Nanooks didn't start the way they wanted, and coupled with some "interesting" officiating tonight in Kalamazoo, the end result did not favor the Men in Blue, but they finished strong. Seems to be the story of a lot of this season, as the guys just can't get that extra goal in the net when it matters the most. In the first period, the 'Nooks gave up several costly penalties, playing much of the period shorthanded. With the efficiency of the Broncos power play, they took advantage and went up 2-0 quickly. But a major penalty taken by Kaare Odegard for contact to the head (contact was initiated shoulder-to-shoulder), seemed to be both a hardship, and a blessing in disguise as it kind of woke the guys up, and they started to get a bit of jump in their step.
But I'm sure a stern speech during the first intermission helped clear the cobwebs a bit, because even with a good chunk of power play time leftover to begin the 2nd period, the Broncos didn't even get their first shot on goal until about 14 minutes in. The Nanooks kept grinding, and grinding, and getting chance after chance until finally Western had enough of it and called timeout. Talk about your all-time backfires as Colton Beck was able to get his stick on a puck from Andy Taranto to bring the Nanooks within a goal just seconds after the puck was dropped again. But missed opportunities abounded, as shots missed open nets, and Slubowski's glove is cited for multiple counts of robbery. I'm not kidding when I say that guy is good. If you don't consider him one already, he's one of the top goaltenders in the country, and he's just getting started in his freshman year. He was kind of left alone behind a Broncos defense that seemed flat compared to the first period. The Nanooks looked better offensively for sure, but the Broncos just didn't adjust until about five minutes were left on the clock in the second.
Both teams came out firing in the third, each team trading shots, getting rushes and driving the net, but the goaltenders kept coming up big for each team, making the stop when it counted to finish the scoreless period with Western's one goal advantage. The key difference was the early penalties from Campbell and Kunyk that gave Western the early 5 on 3 for the score.
The calls tonight were really inconsistent. The calls that were made were actually there, but some of the smaller stuff was whistled while some of the bigger stuff was let go. I know that's how the cookie usually crumbles, but I just wish for things to be more balanced and consistent. Is that really too much to ask?
Apparently Taranto got himself a little involved at the final whistle and found himself with a misconduct. I have no idea what happened as I turned the game off pretty much right as the game was over, so maybe someone can fill me in. But if I understand the rules correctly, Taranto will not be suited up tomorrow as the suspension will carry over into the next game.
Anyway, redemption is tomorrow night. I know this team has the game to bring down the Broncos, it's just a matter of executing for 60 minutes. In the end, its going to come down to whoever wants it more.