Saturday, January 26, 2013

Make It Six - Top Line Rolls as Nanooks Sweep NMU at Home

Colton Beck's back-to-back game winning goals and a 4-point weekend (3-1-4) helped the team roll the Wildcats and pick up the sweep. In the luncheon Friday, coach Ferguson explained his desire for the top line to bump up the production, and this weekend they produced points like crazy in this series.

The first period looked a lot like a continuation of the first game. Northern did a good job controlling play for the better part of the 1st period. As a result, Stephan Vigier was right on queue behind the net, disrupted a pass behind the net, and got a shot on Keeney that Daugherty was able to collect and bury.

Late in the first, the Nanooks repeated the same play as Taranto sniffed out the play and intercepted a pass near the half walls and put a shot on net as Beck collected the rebound and buried to even the game up through the first stanza.

Into the 2nd, much more intense checking. Hits and pleasantries were exchanged early and often. Mitch Jones took a tripping penalty just 32 seconds into the period to even the advantage 4 on 4 as about 1:35 was left on Perry's penalty for holding at 19:26 of the 1st.

But just about 5 minutes into the period, Yaremchuk made a great feed through traffic to find a breaking Tyler Morley, who with a few quick strides made a clean breakaway and with a few dekes had Jared Coreau out on Cushman Street. If ESPN wasn't already on cruise control with replays, that could have made the top 10 plays of the night. I'm really looking forward to that video highlight online and seeing where the CCHA guys put it this week in their top 10 plays.

Colton Beck buried the eventual game winner with his second of the game on a nice feed from Colton Parayko which clearly pissed off the NMU players. They started checking like mad men from that point forward. Eventually it got a little bit out of hand as Erik Higby was tossed for a vicious hit on Nolan Huysmans right in front of the Nanooks bench. Higby got the arm up and collided elbow first with the neck of Huysmans who wasn't ready for the hit. Just about a minute into the major, NMU defensemen Wade Epp takes a bad high sticking penalty down low out of clear frustration. Which puts the 'Nooks on a 5 on 3 advantage for a full two minutes.

Of which they only needed 14 seconds after a faceoff win, a quick shot down low that was blocked. Nanooks players all over chasing the puck trying to get there. Coreau was down and was having trouble covering ground, but eventually Parayko found his stick on the puck and buried it for his 4th goal of his already impressive freshman season. But the Wildcats still had some fight and a fighting chance, as the captain injected a little bit of life back into their lineup with a shorthanded tally from Thurber to round out the scoring for the evening.

A great home sweep for the Nanooks as these two wins come against a great Northern Michigan team help catapult the Nanooks up to 12th place in the pairwise standings, and a tie for 4th place in the CCHA with Ferris State in the very tight conference race. The 'Nooks fly south to take on Miami in Oxford in a pivotal match that will be a great challenge and a measuring stick going forward after the results of the home series against the RedHawks during the slump in December. 10 games remain, with 8 left in the conference, 5 at home, 5 on the road. Let's do it! Go 'Nooks!

No comments: