Saturday, March 17, 2007

CCHA Semifinals: Michigan 5, MSU 2

That was an interesting one!

Talk about one or two plays completely changing the momentum of a game. Michigan State scores in the first period, it gets waived off. They get a short-handed breakaway that leads to a penalty shot, Billy stops it.

From that point on, the next 45 minutes or so were all Michigan. Hensick and JMFJ were just dealing out there. Porter missed a great scoring chance and then buried one just a few seconds later. TJ added a three-point night to his Hobey resume (including the nice "Kessel" into the empty net to pad the stats).

Sauer played well again tonight--even though he looked shaky at times, he managed to keep the puck out of the net for the most part. Hard to really blame him on either goal. We had a great angle on the first tally and it's pretty unlikely that he ever saw it (and MacKenzie made a great shot). On the other goal, when a guy like Kennedy has a shot through traffic ten feet from the net, he's probably going to bury it.

The game got a little hairy toward the end--would've liked to have seen Michigan close out the game--but thankfully Kolarik put a laser into the top part of the net so it never really got to the point where we had to be nervous (great feed from "Drew Cogs" by the way).

Summers to forward has to be considered a great success. Since he's moved up front, he's had something like 7 points in 8 games, including 3-1--4 in two games against the Spartans.

The guys that really deserve a call tonight, though, are our penalty killers. They had to kill off a lot of power plays for the Spartans, and they rose to the challenge. High marks for all of them tonight. The power play wasn't as good. Too much passing around the perimeter. Too many guys giving up open looks at the net trying to find the perfect pass.

Overall though, that was a great effort out of pretty much everyone on the ice tonight. I hated to see that letdown at the end, but for the most part that was a championship caliber performance. In a year with no clear-cut favorite, they've got a shot if Sauer keeps playing the way he's been playing for the last couple of months.

Time to send a message to college hockey with a big win over the #1 team in the country tomorrow night (and it'd be nice for TJ to pot a couple against Dave Brown to maybe sway some Hobey voters as well).

Lastly, JMFJ Sr. got into the act tonight during his dance (courtesy of

That is great stuff right there! It's funny that he was wearing the shirt, even funnier that it got on TV, given what the shirt means. Funnier still that KMFJ (Jack's little brother, Kenny) was wearing one of The Store That Yost Built's "JohnsOWNED" JMFJ shirts.

I love that family. JMFJ could without a doubt be playing in the NHL next year, and I highly doubt that anyone would blame him for making the jump the way some of the others were criticized. But it's going to be a sad day at Yost when we stop getting to see Mr. Johnson dancing (and of course, his son playing).

Here's the JMF Feature from Fox Sports tonight:

I couldn't have asked for a better going away present than a nice big win over the Sparties at the Joe after getting to play at the JLA the day before. My team won 7-2 in the media game, I had an assist. What a thrill to get to play on that ice. One quick note...Trevor Thompson from FSN Detroit is an absolute baller. That guy can play hockey, let me tell you!


Anonymous said...

You're right, Jack won't be criticized for leaving early. Just watch the feature. Red himself says he told Jack when he's ready to go, he'll drive him to the airport.

As for the game, very solid showing. Only nitpicks on my part were finishing the final 10 minutes a bit stronger (did NOT want to see MSU get any life) and also the dumb penalties we took. Mr. Defensive Defenseman of the Year took two really bad, unnecessary penalties (one behind the play where he blatantly stuck out his stick to trip an MSU player...right in front of the ref!), and I think Miller or someone had a real stupid one, too. Our penalty kill has been awful this year and we can't afford to allow so many chances unless they're necessary penalties to take.

colin said...

This is officially 3 games in a row where we've been "on." I don't know if we can make it an even 8, but we've given ourselves some room for error. Even if we play poorly against Notre Dame, I think we've got a good chance in the tournament. If that makes sense.

Packer487 said...

Anon: Yes he did. When he took his first one, my buddy made some comment that we probably didn't want to take a penalty right there, and I responded "There's our senior captain for you".

He's had a couple of pretty good games lately, but he's gotta cut that crap out. A good team (Minnesota!) will kill us if we take penalties like that. If Jack can cut his penalty minutes in half, there's no reason Hunwick (and a couple others) should be taking as many dumb penalties as they do.

Again, I hope like hell Johnson comes back, but he's ready. And you better believe I'll have Center Ice next year to watch him and Cammalleri.

I think the guys are going to come out jacked up for tonight's game. Jack didn't play last time we faced ND, we had a lot of defensemen out (Dest was hurt too, and I think Kampfer went down as well), and frankly we're a much better team now (Sauer is actually playing WELL). I like our chances today.

Anonymous said...

Did Trevor Thompson make you guys pancakes after the media game?

Packer487 said...

If he did, I wasn't around for it!

That guy has a shot though...I was impressed.

Aram said...

I got a really great set of pictures of Jack's little brother wearing the JMFJ t-shirt. He was obviously very proud of it. What a funny yet badass little kid. I can email them to you if you want.