Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday Night Lights - January 22

RedHawks and Nanooks battle to 1-1 tie in frigid Fairbanks; Buckeyes flattened by Michigan State

In what was a bit of a sloppy game, #2 Miami overcame a one-goal first period deficit to secure a 1-1 tie with the Alaska Nanooks on Friday night in Fairbanks, Alaska. The RedHawks would earn an extra point in the CCHA standings by winning the shootout 1-0 as sophomore Cody Reichard stopped all three Alaska shooters and senior Jared Palmer's slick backhand beat Nanook netminder Scott Greenham on Miami's first attempt.

After roughly 20 hours of travel for the RedHawks, Alaska would find the net first with just 28 seconds remaining in the first period as defenseman Aaron Gens scored a powerplay goal. Gens received a blind, backhanded pass from Dion Knelsen through the slot to convert a diving redirection that just slipped under Reichard's glove as he moved from his right to his left in an attempt to make the save. Miami managed just four shots on goal in the first period as they struggled to regain their legs.

Miami would tie the score just 2:52 into the second period also via the powerplay as junior Pat Cannone scored his seventh goal of the season assisted by classmates Carter Camper and Tommy Wingels.

From a puck possession and territorial standpoint, Miami dominated the second and third periods but was unable to register many quality scoring chances, and when they did, Greenham was there for Alaska. On the night, Miami sent just 24 shots on net while holding the Nanooks to only 21. It was a typical defensive effort for two teams ranked in the top 20 nationally in team defense.

Tonight, Miami returns to the Carlson Center to face the Nanooks for the final time in the regular season and will benefit from Andy Miele's return to the lineup after a one-game absence. Faceoff is 11pm EST from Fairbanks.

  • With the shootout win, Miami extended its CCHA unbeaten streak to 15 games
  • Freshmen Steve Mason and Devin Mantha benefited by Miele's absence as both cracked the lineup and played well
  • Freshman Curtis McKenzie was stopped on a breakaway opportunity in the third period by Greenham who made several big saves to keep his team in it
  • Miami is now 15-4-6 overall, 12-1-4-2 CCHA. They are four points ahead of second place Michigan State with two games at hand on the Spartans
#10 MSU 5, OSU 2
In East Lansing, Mich., #10 Michigan State defeated Ohio State 5-2 in a penalty-filled affair. After falling behind 1-0, the Spartans rallied to take a 2-1 lead after one period. Taylor Stefishen earned his first career two-goal game for the Buckeyes and Cal Heeter made 23 saves while allowing all five Spartan goals.

The two teams complete the weekend series tonight in East Lansing. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network starting at 5pm.

  • With the regulation victory, Michigan State picks up a point on first place Miami since the RedHawks won in a shootout. They are four points behind Miami but have played two more games.
  • Ohio State committed nine penalties and the Spartans went 2-8 on the powerplay
  • Sophomore Cal Heeter's save percentage was just 82.1 on the night
Other Games of Interest
  • #1 Denver at #3 Wisconsin - In the marquee matchup of the weekend, #1 Denver and #3 Wisconsin skated to a 3-3 tie in Madison. The Pioneers led 2-0 early in the third only to surrender three consecutive Badger goals to trail 3-2 late. Anthony Maini would tally with just 1:56 remaining to send the game to overtime where it ended 3-3.
  • #8 Ferris State at Michigan - After dropping a pair of games last weekend vs. #2 Miami, Ferris State headed to Ann Arbor for the first of a home-and-home. However, the suddenly surging Wolverines sent the Bulldogs back to Big Rapids with their second shutout loss in the past three games as Michigan won 2-0. The teams will complete the series tonight in Big Rapids, Mich. Ferris State is suddenly eight points behind Miami after entering last weekend's series tied with the RedHawks for first place in the CCHA.
  • #9 Cornell 1, #5 North Dakota 0 - The Big Red mustered just 15 shots but came away with the victory at Lynah Ice Arena in Ithaca, N.Y. This was a big win for Cornell who is continually dismissed by writers and fans of the WCHA for being unworthy of their top 10 ranking.
  • #12 St. Cloud State 4, Minnesota 3 - The Huskies get the win to continue their ascent up the Pairwise and WCHA standings.
  • #14 Bemidji State 4, #4 Minnesota-Duluth 1 - The Beavers got back on track defeating the Bulldogs in their final meeting in Bemidji's John Glas Fieldhouse before joining the WCHA as a full-time member in the new $44 million Bemidji Regional Events Center next year. The Beavers are fourth in the current Pairwise rankings which would earn them a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament if the season ended today.

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