Saturday, November 23, 2013

Comeback Falls Short Ferris State Completes the Sweep, Remains Unbeaten in WCHA

Davis Jones got the start in goal tonight for Alaska, but game two started just as the first did. 3 goals from Ferris State early forces the Nanooks to fight back from behind yet again. All 3 goals fairly quick plays from Ferris who was just given too much room in the zone. I only got to see the highlights after the 1st period was over, thanks to the hotel WiFi after I made it to Green Bay.

But just like last night, the Nanooks again dialed up the pressure and turned the game around yet again. A late period penalty to Zach Dorer for hooking at the end of the 1st gives Alaska a power play to start the 2nd with a great opportunity to jump start the offense to get an early goal. And getting that goal they did as Cody Kunyk made a great pass through traffic to Parayko in the high slot creeping down, sniping one past Motte to cut the lead to 2 just 22 seconds into the period. 

Cue the momentum changing penalty as Atkinson was called for holding while fighting for the puck, but it only added fuel to the fire as Parayko dished a sharp outlet pass to a breaking Cody Kunyk who buried his 1st goal and 2nd point of the game one-on-one with CJ Motte shorthanded.

Just over 5 minutes later, the Nanooks had the Bulldogs chasing and out of gas after Garrick Perry and Michael Quinn made great plays to keep the play alive and trap the lines. Some smooth single changes got Kunyk free on the ice, who cut in front of the goal on a shot from Perry that Kunyk redirected through Motte's pads to tie the game up at 3.

Garrett Thompson for Ferris State banked in the ultimate game winner from behind the goal, getting some puck luck and a bounce off of Jones' right skate and into the net. 

A series of unfortunate results as the Nanooks hit a hot goaltender. The guys played well enough to win, despite getting down early in both games. Ferris was outmatched for the final 40+ minutes both nights, but the Nanooks need to find a way to start at that pace and dictate the flow of the game from the start. Looking at all of the facets of the game, from transition through special teams and O and D zone play, the Nanooks won each of those battles with the exception of the one stat that matters - goals. And in close games like this, the usual difference maker is the goaltender and CJ Motte is debatably the best in the country right now. 

With that, Ferris State's unbeaten streak extends to 8 games, and remains undefeated in WCHA conference play and further distance themselves from the rest of the conference. Meanwhile Alaska remains in a tie for 7th with 4 points. Granted, the Nanooks have two games in hand yet to play this season. Of which the final series of the season will be a rematch at the Carlson Center against Ferris State on February 28th and March 1st back in Fairbanks. 

And the Carlson Center will get the ice back in after the holiday bazaar this past weekend as the Nanooks return home for their first series in a month versus Michigan Tech. Somewhat unfortunate for the Nanooks as the next two home series both fall on holiday weekends. Next weekend against Michigan Tech over Thanksgiving, and then Minnesota State comes to town New Year's weekend. 8 of the last 10 games on the year will be in Fairbanks though to finish the season. A lot of travel in the middle, and starts and finishes at home.

Tonight I'm sleeping in Green Bay getting geared up for the Packers/Vikings game tomorrow. Should be an interesting one there as the Nanooks pack up and loads the bus in Big Rapids to get to Chicago for their return flight in the morning. 


Avery said...

Did we really just lose to Michigan Tech. I had high hopes for this season. :(

Britton said...

Yes we did. And so do I, but still a lot of hockey left to play yet.