Sunday, October 4, 2015

Nanooks Conquer Mt. Royal 4-0

Nolan Huysmans with a close chance
Mt. Royal is a lot better than I think a lot of people realized. Granted, neither team could get a lot of passes through, but a close hockey game. The Cougars are probably the toughest CIS matchup the Nanooks have faced since I've been around the program. I can't recall a team that kept the Nanooks out of their element for such extended periods of time. They outshot the 'Nooks pretty badly, 21-12 at one point, but the perseverance paid off.

Mt. Royal had two goals overturned by the end of the 2nd period. The first was an easy call, distinct kicking motion into Jones' pads. The second, they called goalie interference. Specifically that the goalie's process to make a save was interfered with. AKA a guy was chilling in the crease for no reason except to disrupt vision. But he got a little too close.

Tyler Morley bags goal number 3 for the 'Nooks.
The Nanooks goal was a squeaker from Ryker Leer. Goalie never saw it sneak inside the far post. But with under 3 seconds to play in the 1st period on the power play, it was well timed at least. Peter Krieger would wrist in goal number two early into the 3rd period off a flip from Nolan Huysmans. Not too much later, Tyler Morley capitalized on a similar play from Peter Krieger as this line continued to click all night long. The Cougars pulled their goalie with about 3 minutes to play, but Josh Erickson's shark-like nose smelled the blood in the water and really pushed hard to force the turnover and get back down the ice and bury the empty-netter.

After last week's Blue/Gold, I was pretty anxious to see how the rookies would get along with the upper classmen on the ice. I got some of that sense last week, but with all of them on one bench seeing the shakeups throughout the night was great. John Mullally will be a good dynamic forward. A lot of speed, good skills, and not afraid to get a bit physical. Ryker Leer has some great composure and patience, but it comes off as hesitation sometimes and there's not nearly as much space or time at this level to wait around. I wouldn't call that a mistake so to speak, but an observation throughout the evening that I found myself waiting for him to do something.
Things got a bit chippy at times.

Chad Staley--this kid can play. Doesn't have a lot of size, but in almost Datsyukian-fashion he had a rush 1 on 3 in the 2nd period and he deked out all but the last defender. One of those moments you wish would have paid off, especially as a player. Hope to see more of that.

Peter Krieger with the nice hand-eye coordination.
Defensively, the 'Nooks look solid. Obviously losing a guy like Parayko hurts. But the team is going to have to fill that void collectively. Two guys suiting up this year by the names of Jordan Burns and Nik Koberstein are equipped to do just that. As the season wears on, we'll see more of their offensive sides develop at this level but both guys should be solid contributors. Great to see J.D. Peterson doing so well too. With the work he's put in, he's got the ability to been a great shut down defender for the team.

For the goalies, each played a period tonight. Par for the course. Jones was tested a bit more as the Cougars got the better start. Technically neither goalie allowed a goal. Jenks looked good too, composed in the crease, doesn't over-commit. Keeney looked great too. A lot of juicy rebounds left out there, but he had a LOT of really good saves too, including a Class A Robbery on a back door feed. Not going to be easy picking a starter for the Anchorage tournament, that's for sure.

All that said, Mt. Royal was a good challenge. But it's a short week for the guys and St. Cloud, a pre-season top 20 team looms around the corner. Let the season begin!

 All of the photos here are courtesy of MMF Photography. Check out the full gallery of photos at his SmugMug page!

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