Wow it feels good to get the monkey off the back. The way that the 'Nooks held on and kept the pressure off of John Keeney, who was very sharp tonight at controlling himself and staying square to the puck. The Nanooks' defense totally locked out the Wildcats tonight, with the only goal being allowed was a 5 on 3 power play chance after Kaare Odegard was wrongly accused of charging. If college hockey had an appeals process, that would have been a great candidate. It was a great check, and clean but they deemed it a charge.
But what a way to get the game started. Cody Kunyk ripping a shot past Jared Coreau's glove up high in the corner, it was a thing of beauty. Earlier today at the Face Off club luncheon, coach Ferguson said that he wanted to see Kunyk shoot more. And his first shot of the game is just a sweet laser. Simply put. The video highlights will be great.
Into the second, Kunyk did it again as he forced a turnover at the blue line with Northern on the power play. Beck hustled in and made it a 2 on 1, and just a beauty of a saucer pass from Kunyk put it right on the tape of Beck's stick on the back door to take a two goal lead.
A few minutes later, Northern gets their lone goal of the game in the aforementioned 5 on 3 power play chance as the Nanooks clamp down defensively. I think where the Nanooks benefitted the most tonight was in their neutral zone play. They did a phenomenal job disrupting the Wildcats transition game and forced them off of the puck on the entry time after time. And say what you want about the 3 stars of the game, one of the best players out there tonight and had a terrific performance tonight was Trevor Campbell. He is very quietly making waves and earning the accolades of an elite defenseman in the conference. Tonight, he played with a confidence that seemed to radiate to his teammates and collectively they all rallied together and won this as a team.
I know I've said this about Trevor before, and he's had great games. But this kid is only a sophomore. He's playing at a very high level right now, and it excites me to watch him play and continue to get better. Exciting for the future.
Just a few quick housekeeping items before I turn in for the night. Firstly, a huge congratulations is due to the hockey team for posting up a 3.51 GPA average among the team for the fall semester of 2012. A tremendous achievement with the travel schedule, and just the rigors of being a student athlete. These guys didn't choose slack majors either. A lot of them are either business administration majors, but a few have even chosen the engineering route, which is one of the most time consuming majors I've had the pleasure to take part in. It was just as much of a pleasure for me to switch out of it. I couldn't handle it when I was a bit younger, but great for these guys.
Also on another note, Mike Smith was injured for the Phoenix Coyotes early this week which has left a hole in the goaltenders position. Jason LaBarbera played in net and allowed 3 goals in the final 7 minutes of the game as a 2 goal lead vanished. But with Smith sidelined, the Coyotes recalled former Nanook Chad Johnson from their AHL affiliate in Portland and was on the bench Thursday against the Sharks. Given the situation with LaBarbera yesterday, Chad Johnson does have a pretty decent shot to see his first action of the season between the pipes. Their game starts at 4:00PM AKST. I'll have to check that one out before I head over tomorrow.
Come out to the Carlson Center tomorrow and get the barn packed! The 'Nooks look to complete their sweep and move up the chain. Of note, with the win tonight, the 'Nooks are now 11th in the pairwise rankings... And no, its not too early to look at that yet.