Well after a 1-2-1 road trip, the positive thing is that the momentum is in the Nanooks favor now. Coming off the program's second ever win in Northern Michigan, the 'Nooks are back on track as they return home for a 4 game stand heading into a bye week. The Nanooks tied, then rallied for a 5-1 Beaver slaughtering in Bemidji back in mid-December.
The Beavers, like the Nanooks, have struggled a bit with the new schedule. The last time these two teams faced, Bemidji had finished 18 straight games without a bye week. However, through that point, they have not yet recovered, despite a two game sweep at Lake Superior two weekends ago. However, two stars continues to shine for BSU, sophomore forwards Markus Gerbrandt and Cory Ward. The two have combined for 26 of the teams 69 goals scored this season, or nearly 38%. A pair the Nanooks will need to keep in check yet again. In fact in the first game against the Nanooks, it was Cory Ward who sprung ahead during the 1st period early to tie the game, and it was Cory Ward in the 3rd, who won the crucial draw in the Nanooks zone to set up the eventual game tying goal.
The Nanooks now have 8 of the last 10 games this season at home starting this weekend, but the 'Nooks can't look past this one. I think they caught Lake Superior looking ahead at Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago, and the home and home with North Dakota was anything but a sure thing. They aired those games on Fox College Sports if you get those channels, albeit tape delayed and Bemidji played them tough. North Dakota plays strong and plays offense first, and the BSU defenders contained the zone well, and got pucks out and up to give the forwards better chances with odd man situations.
The 'Nooks team though looks poised to make a run. Jared Larson returned to form along with Nolan Huysmans, who were both coach's decision scratches Friday night at NMU. They both admittedly had some performance challenges at Bowling Green, but to their credit they came back with a vengeance and proved their mettle. They played opposite of freshman center Shawn Hochhausen, who has played in every single game thus far this season as coach Ferguson stated that he is a well rounded player and can be put in any situation and play confidently. I like the way Shawn compliments these two and they seem to work really well together.
I also liked seeing Garrick Perry up with The Beck and Kunyk Show, his mix of speed and size compliments the others better in my opinion than Basara. Obviously both work, but I like Perry's play. If he's not at the top, I'd go for the Morley brothers with Perry on the right.
Here's how my forward lines would look, with Perry and Basara being interchangeable.
B. Morley-T. Morley-Basara
We'll see how my predictions line up come game time as the puck drops at 7:07PM at the Carlson Center, despite the road conditions.
Also a big weekend for the Nanooks women's club team as they will host their first ever home games this weekend against the University of Delaware. Their games are today and tomorrow. Today at 4:30PM at the Patty Center, then at 3PM tomorrow at the Carlson Center. If you can, get out their and cheer them on!