With Campbell out, I had assumed that Kaiser would be in to fill in but I didn't expect coach Ferguson to scratch J.D. Peterson in favor of Tateson, who has played just 2 games up to this point. But I think it worked out. Tateson and Kaiser are both more of stay at home defenders and they are strong on the backcheck. As a result, the 1st period was a little bit slower than we've seen in this series, but I think the Nanooks took it to the Seawolves late in the 1st after Quinn Sproule was flagged for interference.
Then with under 29 seconds on the clock, Parayko just ripped a shot from just inside the blue line as he caught the goaltender out of position to put the Nanooks up 1-0. Beck got the primary assist with the pass through the neutral zone, which ended up being his 100th career point, the 31st Nanook to do so. Big achievement there.
But in the second, the bounces just started going the other way. Every chance the 'Nooks had, the puck would be rolling just enough to miss the stick, or come off the toe of the blade just wrong enough to completely miss an open opportunity. Couple that with 2 quick goals for the Seawolves just 1:28 apart early in the 2nd gave the 'Pups some unnecessary confidence. But the 'Nooks didn't quit, and after the 2nd media timeout they came out firing. Despite the penalty, I thought Atkinson had a hell of a period. He handled the puck well and took defenders and contained to the outside. Very solid.
In the 3rd, much of the same, although a bit more even keel. Sean Cahill kept the 'Nooks in it, but the officials kept them out of it. Terrible offsides calls, terrible penalties both called and not. Was not called fairly. I don't criticize officiating often, even if its terrible as long as it goes both ways. Last night, not so much... Hard to win a game when you're playing more than just the other team.
A deciding game three is now on the books and if the 'Nooks hope to make it to Grand Rapids, they need a coordinated team effort top to bottom. Hard to believe that with one offensive cog missing from the gears, things just didn't roll the same way. Everything seemed a little off... If the 'Nooks want to win, they need to channel individual effort into a team strategy and not just have 20 skaters banging around uncoordinated. I would have much preferred to have most of the lines gelled like they have been, especially the Larson-Hochhausen-Huysmans line who had been creating havoc for defenses, but the only line that hasn't been shuffled is the top line with Beck-Kunyk-Basara. But as the game went on, Perry subbed in on the right wing to try and get things stirred up and eventually moved to center to try and help get Kunyk going.
Hard to say if the lines will be shuffled further for the final game. Time will tell.