We're ready to faceoff in Game One of this weekend series between Michigan and Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a 13 man freshmen class. Strangely enough, they didn't have to pretend that any of them couldn't get into school there (riiiiiiiiight) since they oversigned.
Joe Palmer apparently goes by Joseph now. He's starting in goal for the Buckeyes.
19:45: Porter has a chance right out of the shoot but flips it wide. Timmy Miller says "biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch" to one of the Bucknuts while on the forecheck. Nice start for the good guys. OSU realized finally that their football helmets don't really transfer to hockey as well as ours have. They're just going with the reds tonight.
17:30: Quick gets a shot through and Kolarik dings one off the post on the rebound. I have a feeling Kolarik would roll anyone in the country in 3-bar. Wait a minute...Llewellyn, Vaughan, and Quick are playing tonight? That means that Kampfer isn't in the lineup after a pretty strong weekend in the Showcase. I wonder what the deal is there.
15:41: Tom Goebel goes off for elbowing. At least he's gotten a stellar education during his time at MSU and OSU. Big stop with the left pad by Palmer on Kolarik! Porter off the post! Pretty darn impressive looking power play. How'd Winnett not score there? Tough angle.
13:23: Power play is over, but we had our share of chances. POST. Geezus. That's three already and the game's eight minutes old. Not even Gordon Bombay and the Iceland coach were that adept at hitting the iron.
10:12: Mark Mitera's off for holding. This'll be an interesting penalty kill. With Mitera in the box, we've only got one non-freshmen to put out there on the blueline. Tim Miller breaks his stick and then holds a guy with his free hand. Buckeyes to a long 5 on 3. Wait, what dude? They put Chris Summers in the box. We now have a bunch of freshmen defenders left. Buckle up.
9:00: The Buckeyes have a couple of chances back door but nothing comes of it. 30 seconds left on the 5 on 3. Great job by the penalty killers diving into the shooting lanes. The Buckeyes had a couple of nice looks and couldn't pull the trigger. Summers is out of the box and the 5 on 3 is over. The crowd comes to their feet to applaud the efforts of the penalty killers.
7:30: Fred Pletsch indicates that Sauer is "right in the mix" to be named one of the USA goalies for World Juniors. I believe the team is going to be announced on Tuesday during the Wings game on Versus. He also said that Palushaj is "right there" for a roster spot. We'll see if that's accurate or if he's just pimping the conference a little bit.
5:25: Michigan to the power play. The OSU jerseys actually look like the same style Michigan and MSU were wearing at the GLI last year. I absolutely hated ours, but I think they work really well for the Buckeyes. Those are nice looking. Kolarik's dump in attempt is blocked and Goebel is off to the races. Sauer gets most of it and it appeared that it just trickled over the line. 1-0 Buckeyes on a shortie. Sonofa. Ken Daniels points out that that's the first short handed goal we've given up this year, after giving up 12 a year ago.
3:20: Power play is over and the Wolverines probably got away with too many men. That was a pretty lame power play. We didn't get anything going and gave up a SHG. Interesting story relayed by Pletsch. Last year, Elkins for OSU had a hat trick against Bowling Green and each goal came against a different goaltender. Michigan's offense has been stagnant ever since they had to kill off that 5 on 3. The first period ends with the Wolverines trailing 1-0.
20:00: Someone the little scrum at the end of the first period resulted in the Wolverines going on a power play. First shift ends with a lot of crisp passing but no great scoring chances. The second unit doesn't fare any better and we're back five a side. Great call by Sergott coming up here. A Michigan player dropped his stick. He went to pick it up and Albert kicked it away from him. Not a smart penalty and hopefully the Wolverines can capitalize on this one.
16:50: Buckeye penalty killers again doing a nice job. Langlais has resorted to firing the puck into the nearest shin pad. They're blocking a lot of shots. Mitera flubbed the puck at the blueline and Goebel nearly broke away again. Mitera got just enough of him to not let him get away and not draw a penalty, but the power play ends.
12:00: I'm starting to get frustrated. The Bucknuts are doing a really nice job not letting Porter or Kolarik get going. I think we really miss Louie Caporusso. I'd have to look at the numbers to confirm this, but I don't think our second and third lines have been nearly as effective since he left the lineup. Quick's going off for interference and the Buckeyes will head to the power play. He levelled a guy who never touched the puck.
11:00: Fox Sports says that Kampfer is a healthy scratch. That's gotta be a team rules or academic issue doesn't it? Kampfer has really been playing well for us. He's more than doubled last year's point total and he's been pretty good in his own end from what I've noticed. I'll be curious to hear what the story is. Albert comes down the left wing and rings one off the bar. Sauer reacted like he thought it was in. On replay it looked like it rolled right down Sauer's back. Probably caught a break there. Another chance and the puck is right on the goalline but it looks like Mitera might have kept it out. Sergott was right on the play and waived no goal. Mitera got a nice right hand punch in on Albert. Mitera saved a goal right there. That puck was going in and right on the goal line. Markell wants a review but Sergott isn't going for it. This discussion is taking just as long as the review would have taken. Porter sprung Kolarik but the puck just rolled off his stick. Penalty to Quick is over. We're lucky to get out of that one only down a goal.
8:27: Pacioretty with a nice feed to Kolarik and Palmer makes a nice save. That was a great scoring chance. Damn. I'm pretty sure Langlais just got hooked or slashed six times bringing that puck up the ice. Sergott called one of them and Michigan heads back to the power play. I think this is the first time I've seen Sergott do a game as a head referee. He's doing a nice job. I haven't had a problem with any of these penalties and there's only been like one no-call that I've noticed.
6:30: Naurato just had a wide open net and the puck bounced over his stick. Nothing else happens and we're -1 for 5 on the power play. Kolarik with a breakaway, he gets hooked but I guess he didn't have control of the puck enough for there to be a call. On replay, that's a pretty good no call. Great pass by Porter. They just show the stat that Joe Palmer hasn't given up a goal in 95:13 and Ken Daniels mentions the "s" word. That's a good sign.
4:51: Penalty coming to OSU and we'll head to our sixth power play of the game and at least the fourth of this period. Sims got his stick caught between Winnett's legs and spun him around. Brian Lebler gets called for a penalty. He hit that guy really late. Stupid, stupid penalty, especially with Michigan already on the power play. Lebler's not helping himself a whole lot by spending so much time in the box and getting ejected from two games. Great feed from Porter to Pacioretty and Palmer gets his right pad on it.
2:00: Sauer with a nice pad save on a shot from the point. He hasn't really been tested all that often tonight. Penalty's over and the Wolverines have another kill. Sauer fell behind the net but luckily there was no one forechecking. The second period ends and the Wolverines have some work to do if they want to win this game, let alone keep their streak of 3+ goals alive.
20:00: We're back underway and the third is Michigan's best period. They'll need to bring it strong here. Great give and go from Palushaj to Rust back to Palushaj and he sent it just high. Miller goes off for a hit to the head. Well that's a buzz-kill. Wow Travis Turnbull had a great opportunity and Palmer got over to make the save.
17:27: Wow Billy. He and Mitera got crossed up behind the net and neither one of them took the puck. Sauer nonchalantly skated back into the net and Goebel wrapped it around into the goal for his second on the night. 2-0 Buckeyes and we're officially in trouble.
12:40: We just kept the puck down in the OSU end for a good minute and a half but didn't get a good scoring chance out of it. What a frustrating hockey game. Any given night, eh boys?
12:10: Palmer just made a nice save on Hagelin and then robbed Tim Miller. Michigan goes back on the power play. We really need to capitalize if we're going to get back in this game. Block, block, block. Block. Block. Block. Block. I think Ken Daniels is having a relapse to the 2004 Red Wings. He's called Joseph Palmer "Joseph" on three occasions that power play. Either they're buddies or he thinks it's CuJo. Palmer made another couple saves. Palushaj had some nice chances. Great call by Sergott as Porter got knocked down when he didn't have the puck. That guy has really called a good game. Our last power play had some life to it. Maybe they can get one across the line this time.
9:09: More shots, traffic in front, but nothing doing. Shots on goal are the same as one of the great numbers in the history of the Michigan/OSU rivalry: 24-12. Unfortunately, the scoreboard is still 2-0 Bucknuts. Llewellyn big drive misses the net. Naurato had it in the high slot and fanned. Awesome. Sauer with a big save on Fritsche. This has been a pretty uninspiring effort. I guess we were due for one of those. Especially after a huge win last weekend over the Gophers.
5:38: Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout. Can I jinx it? Porter in all alone, big stop Palmer. Guess not.
4:40: BIG save by Sauer on Elkins right there. That's been the first really huge one he's had to make tonight, but that keeps us alive. Not much time left, but 2 goals is still a manageable defecit if can find a way to get that first one. Naurato great feed to Llewellyn and Palmer denies him. Great stop there. Geezus. Did someone sneak Craig Kowalski in here? Breakaway feed for Kolarik, just couldn't quite handle it. That pass had to have some heat on it to get through two defenders and Chad couldn't find the handle.
2:40: GOAL!!! Kolarik puts one in and we've got a shot! Nice feed by Patch and Chad chipped it in. Let's go fellas!
2:09: Easy come easy go. Somma makes a great fake to get Miller and Sauer down. He pulled it back and put it high glove. Game over.
1:18: Or not! Kolarik breaks in again and pots another one! 3-2 with just over a minute to play. What the hell has happened in this game?!
0:53: Sauer on the bench but the Bucks have possession. Michigan gets a couple pops but nothing major and we've got a stoppage with 5.8 seconds left. Damn. Rust loses the draw and game over.
Gotta give Ohio State credit. They played the perfect game for a team with a lousy record going up against a highly-ranked squad. Solid defense, great goaltending, lots of blocked shots, and very good on the special teams. Their first two goals weren't pretty, but they were both off effort plays. Joesph Palmer played a great game and Michigan couldn't crack him until late in the game. We managed to get two in, but Somma scored a great goal in between them and that was the winner. The power play absolutely sucked tonight. The first and last advantages were the only ones that even looked like real power plays. The others were awful efforts.
This team clearly misses Louie Caporusso. Guys like Turnbull and Hagelin haven't been nearly as effective since he's been out. Faceoffs are key for a puck-possession team, and we've been losing more than we've won since his injury.
We were due for a downer. It's too bad it came against that team, but we really shouldn't be too surprised based on the track record of this series. Gotta regroup and get the game tomorrow.
Hoover Street Rag was Live Blogging the game as well. Geoff had the same thought watching the game that I did: It just seemed like Michigan was a hair off the entire night.