Friday, October 26, 2007

Live Tape Delay Blog: Michigan vs. Boston University

I'm back from my hockey game, the laptop decided to cooperate after the 23rd time I tried to turn it on, and I'm ready to rock and roll. This is going to be strange watching a game from Yost on TV. I can't remember the last time I did that. This is only about the 6th home game I've missed since the 2000-01 season, and four of those were last season.

I swear that every TV in my house is set on CSTV right now. And I narrowly averted disaster when I accidentally pulled up MGoBlue.com to see what time the football game was tomorrow. Even with friggin' college hockey I have problems not finding out the final score.

Pregame: The Wolverines are coming out in the maize jerseys to go with the Maize Out theme for the evening. I really didn't like the diagonal "Michigan" jerseys last year, but now I kind of want one. For some reason they're a lot less stupid-looking than the Avs old third jerseys that they're similar to. Maybe it's the color scheme. I'm still not sure that I like them--particularly how big our captains' letters are--but I still want one.

It's kind of disappointing that Mike Emerick did the introduction but he's not calling the game. I wanted to see some BIIIIIG DRIVES! tonight.

Tristin Llewellyn is sitting out on defense tonight and Brian Lebler got the hook up front. It appears that Chad Langlais is the favored freshman defenseman since he's the only one who has yet to sit.

First Period:

19:26: Michigan is buzzing early. Porter feeds Pacioretty on a two-on-one and Patch fanned with a wide open net. It looks like he's been paying attention to his linemate. Kolarik finds iron for about the fifth time this season. 3 inches one way and he would've been the hero. But three inches the other way and he would've missed completely. I never thought of it like that. Despite the pressure, we're going on the PK. Sauer's out at the top of the crease and makes a nice save with no rebound.

18:05: CSTV announces that they don't have the power play clock. What they do have are tickers taking up roughly 1/8 of the screen. I really don't care about a Missouri basketball player getting charged with disturbing the peace. Patrick Beverly got benched for Arkansas red-white scrimmage though for not trying on the court or in class. At least he's in a place that reminds him of Chicago.

15:50: Rust's line is doing a nice job on the forecheck. Nothing really comes of it, but that was a nice effort. It's Halloween weekend and students are dressed up. I swear I just saw someone dressed up as a black guy. The announcers congratulate Dick Umile for his 400th win. Wins that meant anything: 0.

14:15: 2 nice stops by Sauer, one on a shot from the point with Billy down on the ice. He's playing well out of the gate. Must be something about playing the Boston schools that gets him all fired up. I'm pretty sure Louie Caporusso just killed Jason Lawrence. It looked worse than it was, but we're probably lucky that our wonderful officials didn't find a way to call that a hit from behind. Another really nice stop by Sauer, bending backwards to get his stick on a puck that was headed by. BU is carrying the play early on.

11:55: Pacioretty is set up very nicely by Kolarik and the goalie made a nice save. Palushaj, or "Palosky" as he was called breaks in all alone and dings it off the bar. It's pretty incredible how many bars we've hit so far this season.

8:21: Shattenkirk misfires on what would've been a BIG DRIVE! if Emerick was calling the game. That rush was started by Chris Summers blowing a tire at the Boston U blueline. Quick made a nice play to make McGuirk give the puck up (I apologize if I get some of the BU players' names wrong. I refuse to pull up any college hockey website to try to get to a roster at this point) and Shattenkirk sent it wide. Nice shot out of that kid.

7:19: Rust made a really nice move at our blueline to start the rush but he's hauled down. That better be a call. Ok it is. Timmy Miller is just offside and Gilroy will be headed off. He's #97. I would love to know how that came about. Is he a Jeremy Roenick fan? We're not quite at the point that he could be going with his birth year, though I'm sure Michigan will start recruiting 97s in the next year or so.

6:50: The announcers point out that BU's PK is at just 75% this season. Even our power play has to be able to pot one or two against that...right? Nice feed by Caporusso through the slot but no one was home. It seems weird to me that we've got a power play unit with Mark Mitera, Steve Kampfer, and Travis Turnbull on it. It makes sense for this year, but I'm not used to those guys being any kind of offensive threat. BU kills it off.

4:45: Miller steals the puck and he's in all alone, but the puck skittered too far off his stick when he knocked it away. Unlucky. That would've been a nice opportunity. Langlais makes a nice play at our blueline to force the Terriers into an offside. Another nice pass by Caporusso into the slot but the defender had our player tied up.

2:53: MacArthur has a slapper from the center of the ice at the top of the circle. Luckily he blew it wide. Less of that. They're saying he has the hardest slapper in college hockey and I can see why. That was very Hartigan. Billy's getting a little feisty. Guys are crowding him in his crease and he's tripped two of them, very innocently. I must say I prefer that method to Al Montoya whapping them with his trapper.

1:05: Palushaj just tried to go wide but he's knocked down. Naurato gets the puck in prime shooting position but the defenseman gets his shin pad on it and Bennett covers. We just saw why Mark Mitera doesn't rush the puck very often. He had his pass broken up and then he hauls the BU player down. The Terriers will have about 1:50 on the PP once the second period starts.

Pretty entertaining period of hockey. BU kept it in our zone for long stretches of the first 13 minutes or so of the game. Sauer made 3 or 4 really nice saves, particularly his toe save on a slapper from the point after he had just gotten back on his feet. Our top line created some good chances, and we rung 2 off the iron. They "won that period" (they outshot us 15-6 and many of those shots were quality) but we're getting our scoring chances as well.

Period 2:

20:00:
Our ice looks strange and I can't quite put my finger on why. Has our center line always been solid red?

18:36: How the hell did that not end up in our net? Cohen took a shot, Sauer left a huge rebound (the first bad one of the night), another Terrier got his stick on it and someone on the doorstep tried to tip it in. It skittered out the other side. Another shot from the point gets tipped on the way through but Billy's up to the task. Is this power play over yet? 21 seconds to go.

18:28: Parker pulls the ole "Ann Arbor Hockey Association" tactic. He tries to make a line change right before the puck dropped. Shegos didn't allow it, but it bought his guys some time to rest. In our league, you weren't allowed to change on the PK during stoppages unless the team with the power play was changing (we played with a running clock). You could send guys out, though, and by the time the refs realized that you weren't supposed to be changing and made the original guys come back on, you had killed off a good 30 seconds. The power play ends but BU is still pressuring.

17:20: We're struggling a bit to get the puck out of our zone, but the difference this year is that we're not turning the puck over in the process. They seem pretty calm with it, and are perfectly content to loop back around and regroup. Turnbull takes down a Terrier on the forecheck and we're going back to the box. The announcers think it was a little weak, but to me, that call was a no-brainer.

15:54: Kampfer makes a nice hit in our end to let the Wolverines gain control of the puck. We try to rap it up the boards, but Gilroy makes a great play to keep it in. Wilson gets a chance, Sauer the save, rebound right to the Ewing but Sauer got over. He's been really good tonight. Just saw the replay, that second chance was a great save with the blocker. The band plays Temptation, and if I were there, I wouldn't be saying "Sieve, sieve" rather than "Goalie, sieve". It's kind of nice.

15:20: Bonino gets the puck in the high slot, tries to pass to a forward right in front of the net, but one of the defensemen--I believe it was Summers--does a nice job to block the pass. The announcers think Bonino should've shot, but I can't see how the result would've been any different. Summers had him covered. Summers is all over the ice this shift--another great block and Sauer stops the rebound. We finally get the puck out of the zone and Turnbull's out of the box and Langlais headmans the puck up to him for a clear-cut breakaway. He tries to go backhand and flips it wide. He comes around the net and gets another crack but Bennett makes the save. Great feed from Langlais, and I think Turnbull had him beat. He just misfired. The crowd sounds like they're doing the "Ooooooooh cya" chant as they head to commercial so we might be going on a power play.

14:51: Yup, we are a man up. Pacioretty wins the draw. That's the 12th faceoff he's won in 14 tries. Apparently he's going for the Cy Young. I'm not sure how that made sense. We're getting outshot 23-7 at the moment. Pacioretty with a nice move in tight quarters to get away, gets off a nice shot and Bennett is there.

13:03: We've had possession in the BU end for this entire power play but haven't really had any top-notch chances to show for it. Mitera takes a shot from the point and Naurato tips it wide. That was about the best chance we've had on this PP. Hagelin had Mitera streaking in but he didn't see him. BU is back to full strength.

12:38: That was the first "Oh God, Billy" moment of the night. BU dumps it down the ice, it caroms off his pads and he has to dive forward to sweep it away from the rushing Terrier player. That was way closer than it needed to be. Somewhere, I think Tyler Swystun just had a seizure. Pacioretty with a great outlet pass to Kolarik who looks for Porter in front and the pass just misses or it would've been an easy tip in. Or he would've missed the net since that's how he do.

11:55: Is Jeff Lerg really only a junior this year? They just said that he has 2 years left, but it seems like he should be a senior by now. Again, I'm not risking opening another browser to check, but that's a bummer if he's not ready to leave yet.

11:10: Naurato gets pushed into the goalie and Bennett's shaken up. Langlais brings it back into the zone, getting hooked in the process. He gets it to the winger and either got hooked up high or committed the biggest dive I've ever seen. Bennett makes a nice save, Fardig's checked from behind and the Terriers ice the puck. There could've been at least 3 calls on that sequence, but nothing from Shegos. So much for home cooking. They just showed the replay of the second hook on Langlais. I'm not saying he wasn't hooked, but even Paul Kariya thinks he helped that one. Gawlik the linesman takes one in the face and then gets checked for good measure. Those guys have a thankless job. Why couldn't they have saved that one for McInchak, Hoberg, or Aaron?

10:22:
The announcer says that if Gary Bettman ever leaves, Tom Anastos might be in line to succeed him. Imagine having a hockey guy as commissioner of the NHL! Pacioretty with a chance, then Porter, Patch on a wraparound, still nothing goes in. Pacioretty might be the best player on the ice tonight, apart from the two goalies. He's been all over the place. He's shaking his head on the bench over that wrap-around that didn't go.

8:00: Matt Rust breaks up a centering pass in between the circles in our end and he's GONE! Despite getting hooked, he goes 5-hole and the Wolverines lead 1-0!!! What a play by that kid! We got 3 fist-pumps and a glass-punch in celebration. Holy crap that was something! You don't usually see a guy get a breakaway from his own blueline when he's carrying the puck out. Rust showed some nice wheels on that one.

7:05: Fardig with a face-first dive to break up a long BU possession in our end. We're at 6:55 now and the color guy just tried to jinx it, uttering the dreaded "S" word. Nice work in the corner and then along the boards by Palushaj, with some help from Naurato, who failed to get the puck out, causing that BU possession a couple seconds ago. Palushaj gets it into the slot and labels one off the post and in! Nice shot! Gotta love the energy out of these freshmen.

6:48: After a good 30 minutes of BU dominance, the Wolverines now lead 2-0. I've got to give Max Pacioretty credit for swinging the momentum in this game. We've carried the play since he had 3 chances on that shift a few minutes back. It also may have started just before that with some nice plays out of Chad Langlais. And of course, you have to give Sauer a ton of credit for keeping the game scoreless while we played through the early struggles. Hopefully he can keep it up for another 26 minutes.

5:52: Shattenkirk tees one up and it doesn't get through. I'm scared whenever he touches the puck. Wish we had gotten that kid. Holy shit, how on earth did Sauer stop that one? Yip's name has been called a ton of times tonight and he just had another great shift. Higgins had a shot from the hash that Sauer somehow got his pad on, despite 3 guys in the crease. Yip has a chance on the rebound and that one is pushed aside as well.

Great individual effort by MacArthur right there. He laid out our defenseman, took the puck, flipped it over another defenseman and Sauer stayed with him and made him take a low-percentage shot from behind the goal line. We get a much-needed icing. I assume they saw Sauer's lack of aggressiveness on film after the Minnesota game--particularly on Wheeler's goal. He's a completely different player tonight. I think I've got the same look on my face right now that Red Sox fans had when JD Drew hit a Grand Slam the other night.

We're going back on the PK. Can't complain about that one either. Shegos has called a pretty good game tonight.

4:00: Langlais is off. We've closed the shots on goal total to 25-16. Shattenkirk has another slapper blocked. Mitera blocks back to back shots and ices it. Shattenkirk can't get one through it seems. That one was a freshman mistake right there. He shot it right into Mitera's shin pads. There was nothing there. I honest to God don't know where this Billy Sauer has been. This is as good as he has ever played in a Michigan jersey. Shegos decides to call Fardig for face-washing a guy after the whistle. I'm pretty sure that never gets called in hockey. Nevertheless, we're going to be down 2 men for 35 seconds. Wow, Michigan Tech just knocked off NoDak! It's nice to see the Techsters with a program again. BU timeout.

3:04: Leave it to a Sparty announcer to make an App State reference during a college hockey game. "They could've used some of that crowd noise on the gridiron against App State." Or we could've used a defense capable of stopping a spread offense with a mobile QB. Either way, you're going to lose to a team that lost to App State, so blow me, kay? Why don't you beat Northwestern.

2:30: I'm not sure how many shots we've blocked tonight, but it's a LOT. They couldn't get a shot through on the 5 on 3, and now we've got another guy off to the races coming out of the box. It's Langlais this time. Great move, and a nice save by Bennett. That little shoulder fake that Langlais did right there was Jack Johnson-esque. PK is over and there's a minute left in the second period. Turnbull in 4 on 1 takes it himself and sends a wrist-shot over the net. I think it's the number. That was very Gajic (though for the record, I really liked that kid).

0:23: Bonino into the zone, drags on Summers and rings one off the bar. Lucky break there. I don't want to see them put one on the board late in this period. We escape and we're 20 minutes away from a W.

Like I said, the top line isn't on the board yet, but I give Pacioretty a ton of credit for turning the momentum in this game in our favor. He's been outstanding tonight. That period was a lot better than the first. Much more even play, we put a couple on the board, and the penalty killing was outstanding. We've even managed to spring two guys on breakaways out of the box. BU might want to get that fixed. It hasn't bit them yet, but you don't want to give up too many of those. Sparty escapes with a 5-4 win over NMU. Shots on goal through 2 are 27-19 in favor of the Terriers. They've got a slight edge in faceoffs, but nothing major.

3rd Period:

20:00:
With the puck dropping to start the third, we're officially the most successful CSTV game so far this year. Great back-check by Kolarik there. Bonino draws another penalty on the Wolverines. That one we had to take. He got around Kampfer and was in cold-turkey. That took a really nice scoring chance away. Brandon Yip is an impressive hockey player. There's something about this BU team that I really like. They're fun to watch. I gotta believe they'll get this turned around sooner rather than later.

17:11: Our defense lost Lawrence in front of the net and he slides it under Sauer's pad with a backhand shot to make it a 2-1 game. Billy would probably like that one back, but it wasn't an awful goal. . Nice play by Shattenkirk to keep it in at the blue line. I think it kind of surprised him since Lawrence's back was to him. I can't even get mad about the failed clear. That was just a great play at the line to hold it in. I would like to see us stop taking penalties at some point.

16:01: Porter's line with another strong shift. One of them just got dumped right next to Shegos, but I guess we're not calling those tonight. Our passing has been pretty crisp tonight. Even the bad passes seem to be handled by our guys. We're playing a pretty good game overall I think.

13:30: Langlais uses his skating ability to draw a penalty on Yip. Quick got taken down as well, but nothing that should warrant 2 penalty calls. Langlais has had a good game tonight. Let's go boys, a PPG here would be really nice. Great shift by Louie Caporusso. Won the draw in the offensive zone, out-muscled a defender to keep possession of the puck and got himself a nice little scoring chance. He's a crafty passer as well.

12:03: A couple of nifty passes, but I think Pacioretty got a little too cute there. I had a mild coronary as CSTV lost the feed for a couple seconds. GOAL!!!!! G-L-A-M-O-R-UST! Amazing what can happen when we win the faceoff. Rust back to Mitera and the freshman tipped it in. Just keep him off the ice in the last two minutes. Winnett in point blank but Bennett made the save, even though he looked behind him.

11:40: And the color man just said that he thinks this team is going to make a run at the Frozen Four. I'm not ready to go there yet, but I love the work ethic these guys have. If they get goaltending like this all season, there's no limit to how good they can be. They badly missed an offsides right there but Mitera got it out. No harm, no foul. And I just ripped on BC for the fog there, but we're getting some at Yost. You can only see it from the ice cam and it's not anything that's going to affect the game, thankfully. CSTV has to be saying, "Sonofa...."

10:18: Nice little give-and-go between Palushaj and Naurato. They didn't connect on the second pass but they had the right idea, and the first pass by Palushaj was very nice. Naurato's been good tonight. I've gotta give a call to Scooter Vaughan and Kevin Quick. I've barely noticed either of them tonight, and that's a good thing. All of our defensemen have been good, particularly Mitera and Langlais, but the other two freshmen in the lineup have been very solid tonight. And they just dropped another App State reference. Thanks guys. Appreciate it.

8:56: Lawrence had a root canal this morning? What? Damn hockey players are tough. He's had a strong game too. McGoff scores for BU on a nothing-looking play. Ohhhh Billy you gotta stop that one, buddy. No screen and it beat him under the glove. Buckle up everyone. It's 3-2.

6:20: Porter beats his man to the outside, hauled down, and he still manages to get a stick on it, chip it up in the air, and over Bennett! His own man might've actually tipped that one in. The net is off the moorings so I assume they'll go upstairs on this one. Shegos is nowhere to be found, but the assistant referee signaled right away that it was a goal. That's going to count. What a weird play! That puck rolled right up Bennett's stick, off his blocker, up in the air, and the defenseman batted it into the net. Shegos gets that one right. It's a goal! 4-2 Michigan, and Kevin Porter's fourth of the year. Way to answer, guys.

5:10: We get a little too cute again. Rust was up on a 3 on 1, fed it to Miller in the slot and he tried to go right back to Rust for the hatter, but he was in too deep. Should've just shot that one. A BU player is hurt and it's MacArthur. He looks to be in some pain. He just lost an edge and went hard into the boards.

4:10: The fog's a lot worse than it looks on TV. I'm not sure what the deal is there. It's not warm in Ann Arbor today and they didn't add a ton of seats in the offseason. I wonder what's possessing CSTV to go to Omaha to do our game out there next week. I'm happy, don't get me wrong, but it seems like an odd game to show.

2:06: BU pulls the goalie down 4-2. Shattenkirk sends one wide. Porter sends one into the empty net. I swear that was offside; BU sure thinks it was. Oh yeah, that wasn't even close. He was off by 3 feet. I'm not exactly sure how you're allowed to discuss that and overturn the goal, but I can't complain because they got it right.

0:45: Under a minute to go now. The Terriers are getting called for a high stick, so that's probably going to do it. Good call. He gave Winnett a pretty good whack while trying to play the puck. That's the first time I've ever seen the penalty box attendant speak to the player. GREAT glove save by Bennett on Porter. And that's the game! Great win for the Wolverines.

We got solid goaltending when we needed it. Great play out of our freshmen. Outstanding work out of our defensemen. The penalty kill was fantastic, despite the one PPG allowed. And Sauer played really well, even if he needs to stop that second goal.

For BU, that's gotta be disappointing. Once again, they're the better team for at least the first half of the game and have nothing to show for it. That's a good hockey team though. Bennett gave up 4, but he played a good game. They've got a surprising amount of offensive talent. I was really impressed with MacArthur, Lawrence, Yip, and Banino, along with Shattenkirk on the blue line.

Shots on goal ended up 32-30 and we actually had the edge in the faceoffs 38-29, which means that we went on a roll there in the third period, when it matters.

We'll see you back here again tomorrow night! It'll probably be a less-detailed account because I won't be able to back up the live feed to rewatch plays. It should be a good game. Like I said earlier, it's been 30 years since BU started a year winless in five and they played a pretty strong hockey game tonight. I'm sure we'll get their best shot tomorrow.

My three stars tonight:
3: Max Pacioretty--While he only had a single assist, I give him credit for turning this game around. He was outstanding in the first two periods and then tallied his first point as a Wolverine in the third.
2: Billy Sauer--Played out of his friggin mind for the first two periods and made a pair of saves that I have no idea how he stopped. He did give up one softie, but he made more than enough tough saves to cancel that out.
1: Matt Rust--2 more goals and his line was strong all night. He made a great play to go end-to-end on the first goal and on the second tally he won the draw and then tipped the shot on the way through. Great game out of the freshman.

Honorable mentions to Chad Langlais, Mark Mitera, Brandon Yip, and Kevin Shattenkirk.

1 comment:

Colin said...

I think the fog was due to the humidity outside in combination with a very boisterous crowd. It never got really bad, so no worries, really.

Man, this is a fun team to watch live (not to brag, sorry). They just go so hard all the time.

I'm not comfortable yet with the numbers and players, so it's hard for me to give a lot of good feedback. I did re-watch the last two periods on CSTV, which were the ones I was there for at the game too (we were unavoidably detained, I promise). The first thing is how big and fast Matt Rust looks. I thought he was only supposed to be 5-10-ish, but he plays more like 6-1 or 2. That breakaway was sweet and you could tell just how much he loves to play. He's not elite, but he's intense and has a good size/speed combo.

Patch looked a lot more comfortable with his line, and they played a lot better all in all. Porter apparently has 6 points in the last 4 games, which is a good sign. I think it just took a little while to remember what it's like to play with the puck again. TJ didn't take a ton of shots, but he possessed the hell out of the puck. Ultimately, though, he and Chad are both at 1 pt/gm or better so far. If Max keeps playing well, we can go back to having a top notch first line.

Either way, this team really does have scoring threats up and down their four lines and everyone plays fast and hard. I wouldn't be surprised if Lebler takes more scratches, especially after it looked like Naurato and Fardig skated with a lot more pace than I remember.

Lastly, Billy had a great night and I don't know where that came from. I was really disappointed with the first goal he gave up and the second victimized his still lackluster glove, but he took BU's best shots and mostly stoned them. Our defense did a good job clearing rebounds and I think that's one area where Billy tended to give up too many easy chances. Not nearly as big a problem Friday night.

I'm still not sold on this team, but when everyone is playing to his potential, this team can be really good.