Dallas Ferguson elects to go with John Keeney in goal tonight as the Nanooks look to avoid another loss in the Black Hole... And Coach Ferguson looks for his first win against the NMU Wildcats in his career on his 40th birthday no less. What a great birthday present that would have been.
The first period had some chances as the Nanooks seemed to have the flow of the game in their favor, although the shots were tilted a bit in NMU's favor.
A lot of those shots weren't top quality scoring chances, but with 3 first period penalties on Alaska, all of them called on Tyler Morley. The Wildcats would capitalize on their first of three chances on what turned out to be a nice play as Reed Seckel made a no look backwards pass to the side of the net where Stephan Vigier was waiting. Keeney moved to the other post to cover the wraparound, but wasn't able to swing back to cover Vigier in time.
The Nanooks would answer right back 48 seconds later to tie it though as a strong 3 on 2 rush created by Chad Gehon up to Nik Yaremchuk. Yammer fed Nolan Kaiser who came up to fill the right wing spot and Kaiser rifled it for his first career goal. If you recall, we thought Nolan had his first goal last week in the Western Michigan series in the first game, but it turned out to be Huysmans. That's the downside when you have three Nolan's on the team all numbered sequentially (Kaiser, Huysmans, Youngmun as 23, 24, 25, respectively). This time, no question about it.
Then on NMU's lone penalty of the first period, Jake Baker goes to the box for holding, and just 8 seconds later, Tyler Morley who is well rested at this point gets one on the board from Trevor Campbell (his 3rd point of the series) and Josh Atkinson as the puck cycled the point after the initial faceoff.
Tyler Morley would get his 3rd penalty at 18:24 of the first period, as the Wildcats would get the remainder of that penalty call to start the 2nd period.
Into the second, no scoring came around but certainly some scoring chances on each side. The Wildcats had a strong showing against the Nanooks 4th line with a good extended possession. The Nanooks had some chances of their own with some quality chances on the rush. The Nanooks however unable to extend any of their possessions.
Then with 5:05 remaining, senior captain Adam Henderson puts a big hit on Jake Johnson, which was eventually ruled a 5 minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind. That opened the door for the second coming of the Wildcats infamous second period from a day previous, but the Nanooks definitely did not lean back on that kill. They pressured the Wildcats the entire time and held NMU to just three shots on goal that entire penalty. Taranto had a glorious shorthanded chance that Coreau wasn't able to contain. The rebound popped way up and came right to Tyler Morley who effectively had a wide open shooting lane, but Coreau came WAY out to make the save.
In the 3rd, NMU got a goal right off the faceoff after a media timeout as a defensemen blasted a shot in from the point. Reed Seckel got a stick on it midair and deflected it through the five-hole.
Into OT, the Nanooks had a chance to even the score as Andy Taranto butied what he thought was his 100th point. The goal was initially waved off due to contact with the goaltender. After a lengthy review, it looked like they couldn't get enough evidence to overturn it. From the broadcast replay, it looked like Taranto was pushed into the goaltender, but the officials only have the camera above the goal to look at. Shortly after that, Taranto was called with an extremely weak roughing call on a clean check against the boards. Regardless, the Nanooks were able to kill it off.
In the waning seconds of the Overtime period, Jarret Granberg had the Wildcats dead to rights as he connected with Cody Kunyk on the backdoor with a beautiful pass, but Jared Coreau made the save of the game right there. I couldn't believe that puck didn't go in the back of the net.
Into the shootout, Coreau stopped both Colton Beck and Tyler Morley, and Keeney was unable to make the save on either shooter for NMU.
The Nanooks return back to the Carlson Center for two straight back-to-back home series against Miami and Bowling Green. The RedHawks currently sit in 1st place in the CCHA as the Nanooks only close the gap by 1 point, and are back by just 2 points out of 1st place.