Overtime wins advance Nanooks to round two

Rebecca Coleman / Sun Star Reporter
March 8, 2011

The Nanooks knew they would have a tough weekend as they took on the Michigan State Spartans for round one of the CCHA playoffs March 4 and 5.

“Regardless of what’s happened the previous five months, it’s a new beginning,” said head coach Dallas Ferguson. “There are no wins, no losses, no ties. We’ve got to be prepared to play every night.”

“It’s a fresh start,” said sophomore Andy Taranto. “It’s good we have home ice. Hopefully, we get the same fan support [as last weekend].  It definitely helped us.”

“We’re a playoff team,” said junior Aaron Gens. “We’re ready for anything that’s going to be thrown at us.”

On Friday night, both teams were ready for a hard game. They kept the pace fast, neither team allowing the other many shots on the net. In the second period, MSU scored the first goal of the night. Freshman Michael Quinn answered back with his first career goal.

Vice Chancellor Mike Sfraga and Sen. Mark Begich celebrate the first period goal by Andy Taranto during the Nanooks Saturday night 4-3 victory over Michigan State. Sfraga and Begich enjoyed Chancellor Rogers' season seats. The Chancellor was unable to attend due to illness. Mar. 5. Jeremia Schrock/Sun Star

“It was nice to finally contribute and pop that goose egg,” Quinn said.

In the third period, the Spartans grabbed another goal, followed by a tying shot by sophomore Jarret Granberg. The game went into overtime, and for 19 minutes and 40 seconds, the score stayed stuck at 2-2. Finally, sophomore Nik Yaremchuk was able to put the puck in the net.

“It actually hit me in the stomach and I just turned around and fired it,” Yaremchuk said. “I didn’t know where I was shooting, it just went in.”

Going into the second game, “we know they’re going to be fired up and we know we’re going to have to dig even deeper to try and get this done,” said assistant coach Lance West.

On Saturday, the Nanooks were ready for a battle. Taranto opened the night with a power-play goal. However, before the end of the period, the Spartans had picked up two goals of their own. In the second period, senior Derek Klassen picked up his first home goal of the season, and freshman Cody Kunyk tallied his 12th goal of the season. With 41 seconds left in the period, the Spartans tied up the game. The score was stuck at 3-3 for the entirety of the third period, as well as the first 20 minutes of overtime.

Between first- and double-overtime, “Yaremchuk said to the team, ‘Envision yourself scoring a goal,’” said junior Scott Greenham. “Apparently it really worked for him.”

Three minutes and 18 seconds into double-overtime, Yaremchuk found the goal and gave the Nanooks a 4-3 victory.

“It’s really strange, it’s never happened to me before,” Yaremchuk said about scoring consecutive, overtime, game-winning goals. “It doesn’t happen to a lot of guys, so I feel really special.”

“We’re thrilled we’re moving on,” Ferguson said at the post-game press conference. “We all knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Thanks for all your support, and we’ll do our best on the road for you.”

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