March 5, 2011
Fairbanks, Alaska - Nick Yaremchuk scored with 20.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime period to give Alaska a dramatic 3-2 victory in game one of the CCHA First Round series on Friday night in Fairbanks. The Nanooks twice battled back to knot the score - in both the second and third periods - before getting the game-winner in the final seconds of the 20-minute overtime stanza.
MSU's standout was junior goalie Drew Palmisano, who made 34 saves to keep the Nanooks at bay most of the evening. The game-winning goal was shrouded in a bit of controversy - it was reviewed after the play and stood as the game-winner, but seconds before the puck went in past a screened Palmisano, there was a bit of jostling at the right post, causing the net to rise up off the moorings. Play continued, and Yaremchuk got the game-winner.
The Spartans opened the game's scoring at 8:07 of the second period. With Alaska's Aaron Gens in the box for holding, Derek Grant initiated the play with a shot from the left circle, and after some action in front of the net, Jake Chelios was the last Spartan to get a stick on it- the puck trickled across the line for the younger Chelios' eighth goal of the season. Alaska tied the score with a big blast from the left point with just under three minutes remaining in the second. Michael Quinn was the goal scorer, with his first score of the year which sent the teams into the intermission tied 1-1.
Tim Buttery scored an opportunistic goal at 8:26 of the final period to push MSU into a slim 2-1 lead. Greg Wolfe's shot hit the post, and Mike Merrifield was in front to try to redirect the rebound. Merrifield couldn't get a good swipe at it, and it squirted out just below the hash marks, and Buttery pounced on it for his second marker of the season. The home team countered again, however, as Scott Granberg tipped a Carlo Finucci shot from the right half-boards at 12:45. That was the final goal in regulation, and the teams battled through almost 28 more minutes of hockey before the game was decided.
The Spartans finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while holding Alaska without a man advantage goal on three chances.
The Spartans now must regroup and try to win back-to-back games against the Nanooks to stay alive in the CCHA Tournament. The teams will face off again on Saturday at 11:05 eastern time, then on Sunday, if necessary, at 10:05 p.m.
NOTES: Michigan State is 14-4 all-time in CCHA First Round games, and falls to 14-2 in all-time overtime contests in the CCHA Tournament. MSU has lost two consecutive overtime games in the CCHA postseason, the last one coming in game three of the 2008 quarterfinals against Northern Michigan ... The Spartans notched a power-play goal in the second period, their first goal on the man advantage since putting two man-advantage goals on the board on Feb. 19 against Alaska ... The Spartans are 1-3-4 in overtime this season ... The Spartans are now 13-6-3, when scoring first, and are 1-13-3 when allowing the game's first goal ... MSU has lost seven straight CCHA Tournament games, dating back to 2008 ... Jake Chelios' second-period tally was his first score since a two-goal effort against Northern Michigan on Feb. 12 ... Tim Buttery's goal was his second of the season ...