Friday, November 28, 2014

Davis Jones and the Nanooks Blank the NMU Wildcats

Great effort tonight by the Nanooks tonight early in the game. The first period didn't have a lot of flow to it, but the 'Nooks took advantage of the chances they had and mustered 11 shots on goal in the first stanza to NMU's 4. Not a lot of flow at all as both teams stifled the rush and neutral zone quite well. Most of the scoring chances came from the boards or the point. NMU tried to get some offense going from behind the net to no avail, and the Nanooks had some trouble connecting passes early on.

Into the second, things started to get going in the Nanooks favor. Garrick Perry made a great play to keep the puck moving on his stick and found Kyle Froese creeping down from the point into the slot with some traffic in front of Dahlstrom, the NMU netminder. Dahlstrom came way out front of his crease to make the save, but the rebound came right to Tyler Morley who didn't get picked up by the defense and buried it into an open net.  

Peter Krieger almost took it home right off the faceoff draw after the goal. Would have been a bang bang play as he caught Mitch Jones sleeping off and just went right around him but Dahlstrom made the save. 

Tyler Morley would be at the center of the play for the rest of the 2nd period as well as the junior alternate captain caught a feed on the power play from the point courtesy of Trevor Campbell just to the goaltender's left side. After drawing the defenseman towards him, a hole opened through the crease and Tyler got the puck through it to Marcus Basara on the backdoor to bury his 7th goal in the last 6 games. 

Up 2-0 with just over 5 minutes left to play in the 2nd period, the offense kept rolling for the 'Nooks as they held the Wildcats without a shot on goal in the final 10 minutes of the period. Their best chance came at 12:29 as Luke Eibler rang the iron for arguably the Wildcats' best scoring chance of the night.

Colton Parayko capped off the evening with a beautiful slapper from above the slot, ripping a feed from Tyler Morley earning his 3rd point of the night. After the puck went in, Tyler found himself upending the goaltender Dahlstrom with 9 seconds left of the period to start NMU on the power play to begin the 3rd. I wasn't too sure on that call. I thought Tyler was pushed, and it didn't look like anything was intentional but the camera angle didn't do much to sway me either way.

That said, the play ended Dahlstrom's night, as NMU head coach Walt Kyle put in Michael Doan for his first action of the season. In fact, they were the first minutes logged between the pipes by an NMU goaltender not named Mathias this season. Oddly enough though, Matthias Dahlstrom has had stellar statistics thus far, .954 save percentage, 0.99 goals against average coming into tonight. He has given up seven goals in the past two games, despite allowing just SIX goals in the previous NINE games. On tilt? Perhaps just tired. 

On another interesting note, the Nanooks were 2/2 on the power play tonight, doubling the power play goals surrendered total by the #1 penalty killing team in the nation. And continuing a hot power play run, converting four goals of their last eight advantages. These trends have catapulted the Nanooks to a 54.1% (53/98) combined special teams (anything north of 50% is good) for 15th best in the country. Prior to WCHA play, the Nanooks were 42nd at 47.8%.

Tonight's shutout by Davis Jones extends his season and career mark to two, and more importantly his record to 4-2-0 on the year. I imagine he'll be starting tomorrow as well. He wasn't stressfully tested tonight, but he stopped all 18 shots and did so confidently. He kept himself in good position and made every play that he needed to. 

Also a shoutout to Nanook equipment manager for designing up some new alternate jerseys this season. The new gold jerseys look pretty sharp. Sad I didn't get to see their unveiling in person, but they're a nice cut, with clean lines. Blue numbers on gold, with white nameplates on blue.

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