Nanooks lose decisive game three to Michigan State

FAIRBANKS, Ak-It was the last game the Nanooks played as a member of the CCHA conference. Even with a 4-3 loss in game three of the first round of the CCHA playoffs, it was a game to remember.

The Nanooks got on the board first with a power play goal by senior Andy Taranto. Fellow senior Nik Yaremchuk and freshmen Colton Parayko assisted on the goal. The Spartans, however, responded in a big way with four unanswered goals.

Approaching the halfway point of the first period Michigan State Captain matched Taranto with a power play goal of his own to tie at one a piece. Then much disliked Jake Chelios of the Spartans scored the go ahead goal just three minutes and 19 seconds into the second period. The Carlson Center silencing goal came just 32 seconds later by Matt Berry. It's 3-1 Spartans.

Then there was a 25 minute delay because a glass panel shattered rained down on UAF's Nolan Kaiser after he was checked into the side panel. Carlson Center crews came out to replace the glass and the Nanooks got some time to regroup. It reminded you of the Super Bowl given the stakes of this win or home situation and the fact that the Nanooks were down big.

After play commenced Michigan State continued their tear with another goal by Anthony Hayes just 34 seconds into the final period. Then the Nanooks made a dramatic San Francisco like rally.  At the 17:30 mark of the third senior Jarret Granberg took it upon himself to get the Nanooks back in it with his unassisted goal cuting the three goal deficit to two. It's now 4-2 in favor of Michigan State until the Nanooks go empty net and use the extra skater to their advantage and score on senior captain Adam Henderson's put back. Henderson was assisted by Granberg and  Yaremchuk.

The Nanooks had 31-26 shots on goal advantage but the laast few couldn't get past Michigan State goalie Jake Hidlebrand. The Nanooks furious comeback attempt fell short as chances and opportunties to tie the game were deflected and redirected away from the net by Hidelbrand and the Spartan defenders. Hidlebrand finihsed with 27 saves.

It was fitting to see that the seniors led the Nanooks in what is likey their final game of their college careers given that the Nanooks are 21st in the Pairwise Rankings.

The senior class was given a fond farewell from their teammates and UAF fans in a very emotional post game press conference.

The Nanooks final record for the 2012-2013 season was 17-16-4 and finished 12-13-3 in the last season as a CCHA member. Memorbale moments from this season include an upset over then number two North Dakota last October, a six game winning streak that included sweeps at Michigan and at Notre Dame and of course the fourth straight Governor's Cup victory over UAA.