Hockey team finds flow in split decision vs. Mich. State
By Lexi Black
Sun Star Reporter
This weekend, the Nanooks took on the Michigan State Spartans at the Carlson Center for two hockey games. First they won and then they lost.
Friday night, an evenly matched first period left both teams scoreless going into the second. Behind the generally strong offensive play of the Nanooks, senior center Dion Knelsen scored the first of his two goals against Spartan netminder Bobby Jarosz at the 9:14 mark, and quickly followed that with another, a little over a minute later. The Spartans were not able to respond. Knelsen’s goals would be the only goals scored in the game. Even an extra skater at the end of the third period could not overcome the stifling defense offered up by the Nooks. Alaska goaltender Scott Greenham added another shutout to his stat sheet, but said that, in a game where there were only 16 saves, he wasn’t the one who deserved the credit.
“It’s not one of those goalie shutouts, it’s a team shutout,” he said Friday night. “I think it’s pretty evident when you watch the game that the guys were blocking every shot that they could.”
Saturday night, the Spartans were more prepared for the Alaskan attacks, but the Nanooks were still able to get on the board first. Knelsen sent the puck past Spartan goalie Drew Palmisano 11:12 into the first period.
This time the Spartans answered back. When a holding penalty sent freshman Jarret Granberg to the box with just one minute left in the first period, Spartan defenseman Jeff Petry was able to slip the puck past Greenham, evening up the score at 1-1.
Throughout the second and third periods, both teams were on the attack, but neither was able to come up with another goal, sending the game into over-time. The extra five minutes were also scoreless, and the ensuing shootout was the downfall for the Nanooks.
In the first round of the shootout, both the Spartan’s Corey Tropp, and the Nanook’s Ryan Hohl scored, but Nanook Andy Taranto wasn’t able to match Spartan Andrew Rowe’s goal in the second round, leaving the Spartans up 2-1. The third and final round saw Spartan Dean Chelios’ shot stopped by Greenham, but Knelsen wasn’t able to capitalize on it and the Spartans got the win, 2-1.
Head coach Dallas Ferguson said he would have liked to win on Saturday, but that the level of play he saw from the team was exactly what he has been looking for.
“I don’t want to let the shootout take away from how we played this weekend,” he said after Saturday’s game. “I thought we did a nice job. I thought our team played extremely hard. “
The Nanooks will spend next weekend in Columbus, OH, where they will take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State University before returning home the weekend of Feb. 19 and 20 to take on the Lakers of Lake Superior State University.