Saturday, November 03, 2007

Semi Live Blog: Michigan vs. UNO Game 2

I'll be updating this one period to period as it's too hard to watch the game on my computer and blog at the same time.

First Period Impressions:
Danny Fardig is sitting out tonight. He injured his hand/wrist blocking a shot last night and so Caporusso comes in for him and Lebler and Naurato remain in the lineup. It's Llewellyn's turn to sit out on the blue line.

We looked much better in the first period than we did in the first two periods last night. UNO outshot us 9-6, but apart from one chance by Goulet, their shots were of the non-threatening variety.

Michigan got the scoring started 5:38 into the opening period when a UNO clearing attempt hit a Maverick player's broken stick and stayed in the zone. Langlais picked up the loose puck, had room and brought it into the zone enough to draw the goalie out of his crease to challenge, and then made a gorgeous pass to Porter for a one-timer into an empty net.

UNO went back in the box not too long after that, and the Wolverines again capitalized. Travis Turnbull made a nice pass over to Louie Caporusso, and his shot found a way to get through Kaufmann, who'd probably like to have that one back.

UNO's best chance of the period came just after we went up 2-0. A pass from behind the net got through both Michigan defenders and found Alain Goulet in the high slot. He had time to tee it up, Sauer got out to the top of his crease, and was able to make the save and smother the rebound.

Michigan had a couple of other chances deep into the offensive zone (Porter just missed getting a pass through to Kolarik who would've been in cold), but nice plays by Maverick defenders (and one good save by Kaufmann) kept this game 2-0.

Our defenders have done a really nice job at holding the puck in the offensive zone--and they've done a good job of getting the puck out of the zone as well. I thought Chad Langlais played a very good period of hockey. There's a reason that he has earned a permanent spot in the lineup and isn't involved in the defensive rotation of the other three freshmen.

Second Period:
That period sucked.

UNO was completely the aggressor in the second period. We're getting outshot by a ton (14-3 that period, 23-9 for the game), and this time, these were quality chances. Summers took an elbowing penalty early in the second and the Mavericks scored on the 4 on 3 PP. The pass came across to Mick Lawrence on the right wing and he made the same drag-it-across-the-crease-tuck-it-in move that Blake Wheeler and Benn Ferriero made during the Icebreaker. Like I said back then, this isn't NHL2k6. You're allowed to stop those.

Shortly thereafter, Michigan had a 3 on 1 break the other way. Hagelin made a nice feed to Turnbull who tried that same move and just sent it wide.

The Mavericks' second goal was a rebound on a nothing shot. The announcers have pointed it out several times--Sauer is really fighting the puck tonight. He's left a rebound on almost every shot and a couple of them have resulted in really good scoring chances (or that second goal). He got caught behind the net, but luckily recovered to make 3 stops.

To his credit, he has made some very good stops. With the score 2-2, Lawrence had a breakaway and Sauer stoned him with the glove. He also made a great save off a bad giveaway by Kampfer.

The Miller-Rust-Palushaj line has been great tonight. They haven't scored, but they're getting some good chances and were clearly the best line for us in the second period. Pacioretty drew a penalty with 8 seconds left in the period, so we'll start the third on a long power play. Last night, we were able to get a quick goal on a PP out of the gate. Hopefully it'll happen again tonight.

Third Period:
Michigan played much better in the third period. The ice was tilted in their favor for most of the final stanza. They didn't do anything on the power play that started the third period. Sauer made a nice save after Kampfer took the shooter on a 2 on 1 and the pass got across. UNO got a man advantage shortly thereafter.

While on the PK, Kolarik put one off the bar and Porter followed up with a post just after Rust stepped out of the box. Porter did some outstanding work on that penalty kill. Naurato and Turnbull did some nice work in front of the net and Wilkens missed what should've been an interference call, but nabbed Vaughan for tripping a few seconds later. Joey Martin took a penalty to even it back up, but Kevin Quick got caught pinching and a UNO player had a breakaway. Quick caught up but had to take a penalty and the Mavericks had a 4 on 3 power play. Sauer made a couple saves but nothing came of that opportunity.

With right around 3 minutes to go, Travis Turnbull centered a pass from the boards right at the goal line to the goalie's left. Somehow it found its way through to Carl Hagelin who BORK BORK BORKED it into the net to put the Wolverines up 3-2. UNO had some chances in the final minute, but Sauer stood tall and Mitera & Rust stymied the final Maverick opportunity. Despite getting outshot handily, Michigan got the 3-2 win and came out of this weekend with another series sweep.

Sauer wasn't nearly as good tonight as he has been. But just as his save percentage hasn't been good when he's played well, tonight he gives up just 2 goals on 30 or so shots and I didn't feel like he played great. He did make some very nice saves--probably 5 or 6 that were really, really good. But he also left a lot of rebounds on nothing shots and looked to be fighting the puck a little bit. Both goals were probably of the weak variety, but he more than made up for it with some top-notch saves when we needed them. Once again, we can definitely live with goaltending like that.

UNO is a pretty solid team and this was a nice sweep on the road. I really like that Goulet kid, and DelGrosso is just great. He was the best player on the ice for the Mavericks tonight.

It wasn't pretty, but it resulted in four more points in the CCHA for the Wolverines. It's pretty impressive that they've run their record to 7-1 despite only 2 games at Yost Ice Arena. Winning ugly is better than losing pretty, and the more games we get under our belts, the better the freshmen will be. I'm extremely impressed with how they've played out of the gates this season.

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