GRAND FORKS, ND — Game one of the Ice Breaker tourney featured the Boston College Eagles of Hockey East and the Michigan State University Spartans of the Central Colligate Hockey Conference. While none of the players on the ice played in that game, this afternoon’s game was a rematch of the April 7, 2007 NCAA championship game which the Spartans beat the Eagles 3-1 to win the 2007 NCAA title.
I don’t think it would be inaccurate to say that this afternoon’s game started out slowly for both squads; the Eagles and the Spartans were only able to muster six shots on net combined during the first period. I think it would be safe to assume, that both teams were shaking off early season rust. This was the first game of the season for the Eagles and the Spartans had only played in an exhibition game this past Monday against Western Ontario, which the Spartan won 6-1.
While the first period could be described as listless, the game came to life in the second period. Both team exchanged goals in the second period and both teams managed to get more scoring opportunities than they had in the first period. Patrick Brown put the Eagles on the board first at the 04:17 mark of the Second period. The Spartans evened the score at the 10:32 mark of the second period with a goal from Brett Perlini.
Mother Nature disrupted the game briefly as the lights at the REA flickered and then went out, the emergency power kicked in the game was delayed for about 15 minutes as the lights had to reboot. Word is that a large wind gust that registered 58 miles an hour knocked out the lights. Once the lights came back on in the arena, the Eagles defenseman Patch Alber scored at the 19:05 minute mark of the second period to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead going into the third period.
In the third period it was a very tight checking game, the Spartans stared to show some life and they evened the score at the 10:53 mark of the third period with a goal from Trevor Nill. That was it for the Spartans as the game didn’t stay tied for very long; Eagle forward Chris Kreider scored a beautiful goal 50 seconds later.
The Eagles forward Chris Kreider had a strong game for the Eagles and was dominating at times during the game and showed us why he was drafted in the first round by the New York Rangers. Kreider blew by the Spartans defense and deposited the puck behind Spartans goalie to give the Eagles the lead. The Spartans continued to work hard and had some great scoring chances but the Spartans were unable to put anything else past Eagle goalie Milner Parker who had 17 saves in the game. The Eagles took over the game from there and got two more goals from Steven Whitney at the 16:27 of the third period and Barry Almeida closed out the scoring for the Eagles at the 18:59 mark.
Final Score B.C. 5 – MSU 2
The Fighting Sioux and the Air Force Academy Falcons had not played in an official game since November 24, 1988, that statistic didn’t seem to matter as the Fighting Sioux knew that the Falcons were going to be a good team that played hard and wouldn’t give the Fighting Sioux anything. In the end the Falcons ended up being the team the Fighting Sioux thought they were as the Falcons took away the Fighting Sioux’s passing lanes and limited the Fighting Sioux time and space.
If anyone questioned the Falcons meddle they shouldn’t as the Falcons gave the Sioux all they could handle and at time took the game to the Fighting Sioux. Over the past three seasons the Falcons have beaten some quality opponents; in three seasons the Falcons have beaten four teams that were ranked in the top four in the nation at the time the Falcons played them, tonight the third ranked Sioux almost became the fifth team ranked in the top four to be beaten by the Falcons.
The Sioux came out early in the first period and took the game to the Falcons. The number three ranked Fighting Sioux looked like they had the Falcons where they wanted them and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission with goals by Corban Knight and Carter Rowney. In the second period the fortunes changed for the Fighting Sioux as the Falcons took control of the game and outshot the Sioux 8-6. Sioux watched their lead evaporate as the Falcons got goals from Stephen Carew and George Michalke.
The Fighting Sioux’s biggest problem they had tonight was turnovers; the Fighting Sioux who are usually known for their tenacious defense had trouble with turnovers in the defensive zone all night long. A few of these turnovers ended up being great scoring opportunity for the Falcons. The Fighting Sioux at times also appeared to be standing flat footed and appeared to be watching the Falcons skate around and cycle the puck in their own end. The Falcons were able to capitalize on a few of the Fighting Sioux’s miscues and the Falcons raced to a 3-2 lead after two periods of hockey.
In the third period the Sioux fortunes changed as they regrouped as a team and started to wear down the Falcons with their depth. The Fighting Sioux finally broke through at the 13:48 mark of the third period with a goal from Brock Nelson. Nelson put the Sioux in the lead for good less then two minutes later when he scored his second goal of the game at the 15:15 mark to give the Fighting Sioux the lead 4-3. The Sioux held on to win the game and will play the Boston College Eagles at 7:37 pm tomorrow night in the Championship game of the Ice Breaker Tourney.
Final Score UND 4 - AFA 3