Michigan State Spartans vs Air Force Falcons
While the first game of the Ice Breaker started off slowly and lacked excitement, the second day of the Ice Breaker Tourney started off with a bang, as the feisty Falcons scored only 27 seconds into the game when Falcon forward Casey Kleisinger scored what could be classified as a highlight reel goal from an impossible angle. Kleisinger took a shot from behind the red line and caught the Spartan goalie Drew Casey off of his left post giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead.
That goal would be the only excitement for the rest of the first period as the game became a tight checking affair; from that point on most of the action in the first period was played in the neutral zone. The game resembled two heavyweight prize fighters feeling each other out, waiting for the other to make the first mistake. The Spartans thought they had tied the game on the power play at the 14:12 mark of the first period as Michigan State’s Dean Chelios appeared to score a goal. However, the on-ice officials quickly waved the goal off and after going to the video review, ruled that the puck was in fact redirected off Chelios’ skate.
The game started out slow in the second period as well and at the 8:33 mark the Spartans evened the score with a goal from Greg Wolfe, who was left all alone in the slot. The Falcons took the lead at 18:12 of the second period when defenseman Scott Mathis launched a wrist shot on net that wasn’t touched by anyone and fluttered past Spartan goalie Will Yanakeff, who was screened by his defensemen.
The game continued to be a chess match until the Spartans evened the score at the 5:21 mark of the third period with a power-play goal by Lee Reimer. In watching the replay, I would imagine that Falcons goalie Jason Torf would’ve liked to have that goal back because he badly overplayed the first shot and was caught out of position as the rebound ended up behind him in Falcons goal.
With the Spartans’ Jake Chelios off for holding at the 16:28 mark of the third period, Scott Mathis had a chance to give the Falcons the lead but he rang a shot off the cross bar. It wasn’t meant to be for the Falcons as the game went to overtime and the Spartans made short work of the Falcons as they scored the game-winning goal 54 seconds into overtime. All Tournament Forward Lee Reimer picked up a Falcon turnover and deposited the puck into the Air Force net to win the game for the Spartans. While the Falcons outshot the Spartans 28-23 for the afternoon, the only statistic that mattered in the end was the final score.
After the game Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos said, “I thought our guys again tonight played real hard tonight and that [Air Force] is a real good team, I was really impressed with their team. After the second period we were only down two to one. I told them that winning is fun but a comeback win is even more fun. We went out there and continued to do what we were trying to do the whole game. The puck was contested out there on both sides. I thought it was a real good game.”
Anastos was also asked if he made adjustments during the second intermission. “We didn’t really make a whole lot of adjustments, we continued to do what we were doing, maybe some very minor things, but we continued to play the same way we were playing. I just think that maybe they got tired a little bit, I don’t know because they played last night, I don’t know if that was a factor or not. They didn’t seem tired to me, I thought worked really hard. Maybe that was a bit of a factor. The only thing that we did was we shortene our bench a bit and got guys a little more ice time maybe that created a little bit of a different rhythm.”
North Dakota Fighting Sioux vs. Boston College Eagles
The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and Boston College Eagles have a storied rivalry and have played in some epic battles during the NCAA tourney. As of late, the Eagles have had the upper hand in the series. Coming into this game the Eagles have gone 3-0-1 against the Sioux in their last four meetings. Make that 4-0-1 after Saturday night’s 6-2 win.
The Eagles got on the score board first as Pat Mullane scored at the 2:21 mark of the first period. The Eagle goal was the result of a bad turnover in the Fighting Sioux end, as Mullane was left with the puck in the slot and simply shot the puck past Fighting Sioux goalie Aaron Dell.
Tonight marked the much anticipated debut of highly touted freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi for the Fighting Sioux. However, Grimaldi’s first shift was one that he will want to forget as he was on the ice when Mullane scored for the Eagles. Grimaldi, who was held out of Friday’s game with a lower body injury, didn’t look like he was slowed a bit by the injury. As the game progressed Grimaldi had some nice chances, but wasn’t able to record a point on the score sheet.
The Sioux tied the game at the 15:55 mark of the first period with a nice goal from forward Corbin Knight who took a nice feed from Danny Kristo for a shorthanded goal. The Sioux took the lead on a power play goal at the 5:23 mark of the first period when defenseman Derek Forbort shot the puck on net; Eagles goalie Parker Milner was screened by his own guys and had no chance at the shot.
That lead didn’t last for long as Eagles forward Chris Kreider tied the game less than two minutes later at the 7:27 mark of the second period. The Eagles followed that goal up with a power play goal from Johnny Gaudreau at the 13:16 mark of the second period. Mullane followed up that goal at the 15:55 mark putting the Fighting Sioux down by two goals. From that point the Fighting Sioux never recovered and looked frustrated by the Eagles speed and they started to take undisciplined penalties.
The Eagles’ Bill Arnold scored at 17:14 of the second period to send Fighting Sioux goalie Aaron Dell to the bench. Enter backup goalie Brad Eidsness, who was tested almost immediately as the Fighting Sioux continued to give up odd man rushes on untimely turnovers. It was not a strong period of hockey for the Fighting Sioux, as they were outscored by the Eagles 4-1 during the middle frame.
After giving up four goals during the second period, the third period did not start very well for the Fighting Sioux either. They continued to take senseless penalties and beat a path to the penalty box. The Eagles scored their sixth goal of the game at the 15:15 mark of the third period when forward Steven Whitney took a pass from Pat Mullane and shot it on net, catching the Fighting Sioux goalie Eidsness not covering the left post. The Sioux generated a few chances during the latter part of the third period but were unable to get anything past All Tournament goalie Parker Milner.
Boston College head coach Jerry York was asked why his teams have been so successful against the Fighting Sioux. “That’s probably misleading. We have some terrific games. I think we have played five times since 2001, twice in the tournament, twice in the title game, so we have built a great respect for the Sioux. They bring out the best in us and hopefully we bring out the best in them, in the early season it helps us get better.