Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nanooks down the Buckeyes, 3-1

Buckeyes go on a 5 on 3 in 1st period action
On Saturday Night the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks resumed their tight checking run of hockey with the Ohio State Buckeyes, this time with the visitors prevailing by a score of 3-1.  The major change for the Buckeyes in this CCHA match-up was going with 6-3, 197 lb Freshman Goal Tender Colin Olson instead of Senior Brady Hjelle.  Olson played well enough, but was unable to overcome the persistent run of OSU penalties later in the game.

The game started with an aggressive Alaska team, coming out and having the best of the early scoreless play.    The teams continued to trade chances until late in the first period, when Cody Kunyk was whistled for a 2 minute minor for checking from behind.  Eleven seconds later, Trevor Campbell received a minor penalty for boarding, which put the Buckeyes on a 5 on 3 power play.  A minute later the Buckeyes capitalized, with Chris Crane, a 6-1, 193 lb Junior notching his first goal of the season.  The first assist went to 5-11, 200 lb Sophomore Tanner Fritz, and the second assist went to Sophomore Ryan Dzingel, a 7th round pick for Ottawa in the 2011 NHL entry draft.  Alaska did not like this development much, as Kaare Odegard was finally whistled for slashing at the 20 minute mark, after his first 5 cross checks went uncalled.  This was the high tide mark for the Buckeyes in this game, as the period ended with the Ohio State leading 1-0.

Alaska came out in the second period with a determined penalty kill, and pretty much prevented Ohio State from mounting much of a threat on the power play.  At roughly the 6 minute mark of the second period, the Buckeyes began a parade to the penalty box that seldom let up for the remainder of the game, when 5-10, 195 lb Sophomore Matt Johnson was called for hooking.  At about the 11 minute mark, 5-11, 182 lb Sophomore Max McCormick was called for high sticking.  About a minute later, Matt Johnson took a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind.  This resulted in a 5 on 3 Nanook advantage for a minute.  During the Buckeye penalty kill, the Nanooks had a goal waved off as the replay showed that the puck had been kicked into the net.  Who knew the Buckeyes had a line to Toronto?

Shortly after successfully killing off these penalties, Brandon Martell, the 6-2, 205 lb Senior Defenseman took a roughing penalty.  The Nanooks made the Buckeyes pay on the ensuing power play when they tied the score at 1 at the 19:00 minute mark of the second period.  Junior Colton Beck scored after Olson finally gave up a rebound, and Beck punched the puck back in the goal.  .  The assists went to Andy Taranto and Colton Parayko.    The second period ended with the score tied 1-1.

Late 3rd period shot totals heavily favor Alaska
The third period started with the Buckeyes continuing their march to the penalty box, as the play grew increasingly chippy.  Brandon Martell drew a cross checking penalty at 3:04.  Shortly after that kill was over, a scary moment occurred. Sam Jardine, the 6-1, 193 lb Freshman Defenseman was whistled for holding.  After taking the penalty, Jardine fell, and his arm was cut severely by a skate blade.  Credit goes to one of the game officials who recognized what was happening, and immediately put a hard hand clamp on Jardine's arm, and started yelling for the trainers.  The hard copy version of the Sunday Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Jardine was severely cut to the left arm, was hospitalized, and is scheduled for surgery.  This incident seemed to take the wind out of the young Buckeye's sails, and a difficult remainder of the third period ensued.  Moments after Jardine's penalty expired, Jarret Granberg walked in unopposed against Olson, and beat him high glove side, to give the Nanooks a 2-1 lead at the 7:39 mark of the third period.  The assists went to Adam Henderson and Trevor Campbell.

At this point, the play really seemed to start getting chippy.  At 10:25 of the third, Nolan Youngmun of Alaska took a high sticking penalty.  While the Buckeye power play asserted some pressure, they could not solve Alaska goal tender John Keeney.  Alaska seemed to really generate some momentum out of this penalty kill, and even though Youngmun proceeded to take a 5 minute major and a game misconduct at the 14:05 mark of the third period, the Buckeye power play had difficulty getting established and putting pressure on Alaska.  These difficulties were emphasized when at the 18:42 mark of the third period, Alaska scored a short handed goal when Adam Henderson beat Olson on a rush the other direction, assisted by Michael Quinn.  This shorty pretty much sealed the game, and even though the Buckeyes pulled their goalie, they were unable to mount serious pressure.  The game ended with Alaska a 3-1 victor.

This weekend showed a match-up of two pretty workman like teams.  They checked hard, played good defense, and limited the other guy.  Neither team seemed to have a high end offensive threat that could punctuate a period of pressure with a skill goal.  Most of the goals scored were workman like, coming in the paint on a power play.  It was however, entertaining hockey for sure, and it was good to see some hockey being played in Columbus (not withstanding the play of our active rec leagues in this city).  Its difficult to tell whether these were two good team evenly matched, or two not so good teams evenly matched.  Both teams received excellent goal tending throughout the weekend, and it was only the young Buckeyes loss of composure and taking of penalties that finally tipped the scale in this game.

The weekends result leaves Alaska 2nd in the CCHA standings behind Miami (you know, the Miami that was a University when Florida still belonged to the Spanish), and the Buckeyes 4 points back, but in 9th place.  There is still a lot of hockey left to be played, and it should be interesting to watch the CCHA standings sort themselves out in the final year of CCHA play.  Next year, the Buckeyes will be playing in the new Big 10 hockey league.


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