Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Going Upstairs: LSSU Series

These games weren't nearly as interesting as the ones we played against Miami, but I think "going upstairs" to review the goals, penalties, and anything else that might be interesting while I fast-forward is reasonable enough. There are few circumstances that would compel me to rewatch an entire game against the Lakers.

Friday Night:
Simon Gysbers got thing started for LSSU just 2:20 into the game. This goal came as a result of about 35 seconds of play with the puck in the Michigan zone. The Lakers dumped the puck in, and it looked like the puck took a bad bounce when Michigan tried to clear it around to Travis Turnbull so it stayed in the zone. Lake State just kind of mucked with it in the corner for a little while. Summers knocked Blain to the ice in the corner to Sauer's left but Blain was able to shield the puck while he was down and he popped right back up with it on his stick. Caporusoo was down in the corner with his man, as they had battled with Summers and Blain for the puck. Kampfer was guarding the front of the net, so Naurato came down to take the guy in the slot and left the point open. Blain brought it slightly around the boards and a lane opened up to the right point. Summers moved to take the guy in the slot, Naurato couldn't get to the point in time, so Gysbers got the shot away and it looked like it hit something on the way through but I can't tell what. Sauer got a piece of it but not enough.

I'm not sure there's any blame to be assessed on that one. It was just nice work in the corners by the Lakers. Possibly Naurato could've gone right to the point instead of stopping at Acton in the high slot but I'm not sure he would've gotten there. And with Caporusso in the corner, he probably prevented the pass from going to Acton initially anyway. Acton was calling for it.

Also of note: When the puck went in, Caporusso was going to be called for interference. It would've been a good call. He hog-tied his man.

The first penalty of the game came off a faceoff that was won by LSSU. Their point man took a shot that was blocked by Caporusso or the guy that was tied up with Louie. Naurato came back and dug the puck free and was hooked when he tried to skate away with it. Definitely a penalty. Also, I don't think I mentioned this last week, but Naurato had a couple of really nice defensive plays. He was back-checking hard. Nice effort out of a guy not known for his defense or skating.

We went to another power play when on the breakout, Turnbull threw the puck into the corner in an attempt to dump-and-chase. Caporusso beat his man into the corner and Oleksy got his stick around Caporusso and pulled him down. Another good call.

At this point, Kolarik was sitting on 20 goals. By the end of the night he'd match his number (24). Michigan scored on a delayed penalty so Oleksy came out of the box and Cowie went in. On the goal, Langlais hit on a cross-ice pass to Palushaj, which also spanned the length of the neutral zone. He got past Cowie and cut in on Mahoney-Wilson. In an effort to prevent Palushaj from getting a shot off, Cowie hauled him down. Pal still got the shot away and as Cowie and Palushaj slid into Mahoney-Wilson and pushed him to the right side of the net, the puck drifted out into the middle of the crease. Kolarik was following the play and had an easy tap-in. Good penalty call too.

Mahoney-Wilson made the save of the night on the ensuing power play. Palushaj set up with it in the left corner. He went down low to Kolarik who centered the puck to Pacioretty in the slot. He got off a weak shot as he was harassed by the defenseman. Rather than cover up, Mahoney-Wilson poked it out to his left right onto Porter's stick. Porter got the puck up high like he wanted to, but Mahoney-Wilson saved his own bacon by diving and knocking it out of the air with his trapper.

Michigan nearly took a lead at the 2:37 mark of the second period. Turnbull carried the puck into the zone and threw a bad angle shot at the net. The rebound kicked out into the slot right to Caporusso who rung a wrist shot off the bar.

Lake State got their first power play off a turnover by Pacioretty. The Lakers were breaking out down the left wing side. Summers went for the hit (which was fine because he had help). He kind of missed and as he was going by, swept his left leg and tripped up the Laker player. Clearly a call.

Too many men was called on LSSU. They don't usually get those wrong and this was no exception. The announcer spotted it right away, and it was obvious on the telecast. You couldn't see it develop, but it looked as if a Laker defenseman went to change, Michigan started to break out and he changed his mind, but not before someone else jumped on.

Kolarik's second of the night was all Kevin Porter, just 30 seconds after Porter barely missed hooking up with Pacioretty on a 2 on 1. Kampfer blocked a shot, Kolarik chipped it off the boards to Porter who went flying down the right wing. He and Pacioretty came in two on four, so Porter took the puck into the corner and then stopped and curled back to get himself open. He then slid a pass to Kolarik at the top of the circle and Kolarik unleashed his deadly snapper from the hash-mark. Is there a more lethal player from that distance in all of college hockey? Probably not.

Just a few seconds after the goal, Summers went to the box again. Lake State was working the puck in behind the Michigan net. Both Summers and Llewellyn were checking their men. The puck slid out to the left of Sauer and the Laker then threw it back behind the net to the other corner. Summers just pinned his man against the boards and took him to the ice. Pretty clear he interfered.

Into the third period, Michigan received a very rare 2 minute 5 on 3. Two penalties were called on the same play and they were both legit. Llewellyn was able to win a battle on the boards and throw the puck into the zone. Pacioretty went in after it and pretty much just got jacked in the head on a hit by MacVoy. Play continued and Porter made a great feed to a streaking Llewellyn who put the shot on net. The rebound popped up in the air and as Kolarik went to grab it, Gysbers grabbed him around the neck, pulled him down, then pushed him in the face which basically guaranteed he was going to be called. I'm not sure if Sergott called the first Gysbers infraction or the second, but they were both legitimate penalties, though I can definitely understand only calling one of the two. What makes it worse for Gysbers is that I think he called the second infraction based on the fact that it was called CTH-Roughing. Neither was smart, but the punch to the face was completely unnecessary.

Michigan didn't capitalize, marking the second week in a row they failed to score on a LONG 5-on-3. Their best chance was right off the faceoff. Kampfer sent it to Mitera at the left point who went down low to Turnbull. Turns immediately fed it through the slot to Caporusso. Mahoney-Wilson was down sliding post-to-post and if Caporusso could've gotten a shot upstairs, he had the whole net. It just rolled off his stick, however, and he didn't get a good shot off.

All wasn't lost, however, as Michigan brought the puck up late in the penalties. Kolarik threw one toward the net, it was knocked off Mahoney-Wilson's pad right onto Porter's stick. He had a goal, but Schwab was able to get his stick onto Porter's right when he was shooting and the puck went behind the net. Kolarik scooped it up, threw it toward the slot and it deflected off Mahoney-Wilson's stick and in.

Just after that goal, MacVoy headed to the box for hooking. Summers had the puck in his own end, MacVoy came in on the forecheck. Summers spun and MacVoy hooked his arm. If there was a penalty in this game that was on the weak side, this was the one. Summers got tugged, it threw him off for a split-second and then he made the play he would've made anyway. The hook didn't affect the play from what I could tell, but by the rules it was a hook.

On the delayed call, Michigan set up behind the net and they were able to get it to Caporusso coming down the right wing. He took it behind the net and tried to wrap the puck around and in. This one wasn't as close as the one on Saturday night, but it went right through the goal mouth, hit Rust in the skate, stayed there, and even in the scrum somehow stayed out of the net.

Lake State got back within one with about five minutes to go in the game. Miller had the puck right in front of the Michigan bench and looked to go to Lebler. Perkovich made a really nice play to get Porter's stick, deny the ability to make a pass, then took the puck. He carried in and got it to Schwab in the middle of the ice, who sent a shot wide of the net. It caromed off the end boards and back out to Perkovich. Sauer had gone down on the original shot and couldn't recover as Perkovich lifted it into the net. When Perkovich originally passed the puck, Mitera lunged out with his stick in an effort to block the pass. That was enough for Perkovich to get around him and Mitera wasn't able to get back to prevent him from putting the puck in the net.

Late in the game, LSSU got one last chance when Matt Rust was called for interference. This is at least the third or fourth time this year Rust has ended the game in the penalty box. He needs to stop doing that. Rust got tied up with his man coming into the zone and lost his stick. Play continued down into the low circle and Rust did too good of a job tying up a guy without the puck and was called for interference. I'm iffy on this one. I'll put this in the same category as MacVoy's penalty earlier. Yes Rust interfered with the guy, but he didn't prevent a scoring chance, he didn't prevent a pass from connecting, he didn't prevent a pass from behind made. When Rust was interfering, Michigan was busy winning a battle for the puck in the corner. There was no way what he did had any effect on the play. You kind of make yourself a target when you don't have a stick, however. Not a fan of the call, especially in the waning minutes of a one-goal hockey game.

It didn't matter, however, as the Michigan penalty killers never let LSSU near the net. After clears by Kolarik, Summers and Mitera, Summers tried to ice it again. Gysbers jumped and kept the puck in at the line, but when he tried to move it, Porter blocked the attempt. Kolarik snuck in there, dug the puck away and took it end to end, putting it safely into the empty net for his fourth of the night, and fourth short-handed goal of the year.

A big surprise when I looked at the stat sheet after the game was that Dan Eves was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for spearing at the 20 minute mark. It wasn't caught on film. As I mentioned before, my big problem with this penalty is that Eves wasn't given a DQ and forced to sit Saturday night. Spearing is one of the most serious things that a hockey player can do. There's a reason that it's an automatic five and a game. It's dangerous. The game was over. Giving him five and a game misconduct there doesn't even slightly penalize him. Give him the DQ, make him sit the next night. Especially if he speared someone after the final horn (I'm not sure, I guess it could've taken place during the last few seconds).

Saturday Night:
The first penalty of the hockey game came about 13 1/2 minutes in. Pacioretty was bringing the puck into the zone and got checked by Stonehouse. He chipped it in deep and as he tried to get into the corner after it, Stonehouse took him into the boards again. Not a flagrant penalty but clear obstruction.

Michigan capitalized on the chance, with Caporusso's unassisted goal. Caporusso lost a neutral-zone faceoff, but Turnbull tied up Gutwald's stick just inside the blueline. Caporusso was able to grab the puck, bring it into the high slot, get Inglis down, carry it around the defenseman and put it past the flailing goalie. That's a play that Turnbull doesn't get an assist on, but he should. He was crucial to the puck ending up in the net. If he doesn't tie up Gutwald, the puck comes right back out of the zone and it's a nothing play. Instead, Louie grabs it and it's 1-0 Michigan. Again, Travis Turnbull finds a way to turn hard work into a goal for the good guys.

It was 2-0 less than a minute later. Summers sent a crisp pass to Palushaj who tipped it to Rust in the middle of the ice. Kaunisto had come up to lay a body on Palushaj, so MacVoy was back playing defense but it was like he wasn't there. Rust vs. MacVoy in skating? No contest. Rust took it to the outside, got around him, transferred it to his forehand and snapped a shot through Inglis's five-hole. Not a goal you want to give up. Perhaps he was a split-second late going down due to what had just happened a moment ago where Caporusso didn't shoot and got him out of position?

Lake State got their first chance on the power play late in the period when Langlais got called for slashing. Scrymgeour brought the puck up ice two on two. He dropped it for his teammate as they criss-crossed. Langlais went to hit him but didn't get very much and was beat. Sim got the pass back across to Scrymgeour and Langlais slashed him, then tripped him to prevent a scoring opportunity.

Fardig got called for tripping early in the second. He went to hit Stonehouse, who had thrown on the brakes. Digger's foot tripped him up. Have to call that.

Michigan then got called for another too many men on the ice penalty (no replay, but I assume it was legit), and this one bit them as LSSU scored on the power play. They dumped the puck in behind Hogan and Hogan came out to play it. He dumped it toward the boards but it hit Sergott and stayed in the zone. The next clearing attempt hit MacVoy. Gysbers made a nice play to hold the puck in at the line on clearing attempt #3. Acton one-touched it to MacVoy, who faked a shot, got Vaughan down, went around him and passed it to Eves back-door for the slam dunk. The back-door was open because Mitera had come up to play Acton. If he didn't move the puck to MacVoy quickly, Mitera probably gets him. Instead Eves was left open for the goal.

Michigan's next power play came when Porter was tripped. He was carrying the puck away from the boards and stepped on Schofield's stick and fell to the ice. That was more incidental than anything else, but it's always going to look bad. Probably didn't warrant a call. The biggest qualm here is they got the wrong guy. After sending Schofield (#23) to the box, they grabbed Oleksy (#22) and put him in instead.

The eventual game-winning goal was a bad break for LSSU. Turnbull threw the puck into the corner and we really didn't have anyone chasing it. Gysbers went back to get it and blew a tire. His defense partner had cut in front of the net because he thought Gysbers was going to grab it and take it behind the goal. So when Gysbers wiped out, Turnbull, skating hard as always, was able to sneak in there and throw the puck into the slot where Caporusso one-timed a wrist shot up into the top corner. Another big effort play by Turnbull who was originally just skating to go lay a hit on a defenseman that never showed up. He ended up assisting on the game winner. And a great shot by Louie, who could've had a hat trick really easily.

Early penalty in the third on Langlais, who hooked the guy when he was back-checking. A little on the weak side, Chad didn't like it, but he hooked him. Probably doesn't get called unless the guy falls, but he fell.

LSSU was a little slow on a line change and got called for a too many men penalty. They had seven on the ice, five well into the play, and the other two were filing in through the bench door. The play was going right by the LSSU bench and Sergott had a great view of the change. From what I saw, it was maybe a weaker too many men penalty, but the replay didn't really catch the change. The guys coming on must've pushed it too far, because based on where the five guys on the ice were, I'm not sure how the players coming off weren't off yet.

Less than a minute later, Langlais got called for another penalty and he didn't like this one either. I think he had a case on this one. They didn't show a replay, but I didn't see anything that looked like holding. I could've seen interference right when his man touched the puck because it was a shove right after the guy knocked it ahead, but that would've been borderline as well...

The problem was compounded when Summers went off right after for holding. Legit. He grabbed the guy. This set up the five on three where Kolarik got hurt. After he was injured, he wins for effort play of the year. Despite an injury that will keep him out for a month or more, he was able to get his stick on a pass and knock it away and then was able to break up a pass that would've created a great scoring opportunity. God bless his cotton picking maize and blue heart. He just stretched really awkwardly. Tough break for Chad and I hope to God he's back for the tournament. Right now they're saying 4-5 weeks. I hope so. Four weeks would put him back for the second round of the CCHA Tournament. So if it's five or more, he's played his last game at Yost and that's really sad. It's a major bummer that he won't play on Senior Night. And this derails any shot he had of jumping into the conversation to be in the Hobey Hat Trick--or probably one of the ten finalists. Disappointing, because it would've been very deserved. He said his goal was to help win Kevin Porter the Hobey. He's done a lot of good in that regard. Hopefully he passes that message on to whomever takes his spot on the top line, likely Palushaj, who filled in the rest of the game.

LSSU closed back within one off some good work along the boards. MacVoy was able to dig it out and get a shot on Hogan. The rebound came out and Eves chipped it back to Kaunisto at the point. His shot hit Schofield on the way through and it ended up in the back of the net.

Things got a little hairy a moment later when Palushaj got called for hooking. There was maybe no specific hook that deserved to be called, but as the LSSU player was skating up ice, he tugged at him three or four times. That's probably getting called no matter what. On the PK, Kampfer had a great block and Hogan made a fantastic stop on MacVoy when the puck was cleared right onto his stick. He couldn't have anticipated a shot coming from there, so he had to be very quick with the toe.

Stonehouse was called for an obvious trip late in Palushaj's penalty.

Great chip by Winnett off the glass to Turnbull, who buried a shot from center ice into the empty net right as he was being mugged. Winnett didn't have a passing lane but he played it perfectly off the glass.

So overall, Kolarik was clearly our player of the week. Four goals Friday night and a ballsy play Saturday to block a shot even as he was injured. Porter assisted on three of Kolarik's four Friday. Palushaj had some beautiful plays both nights. Turnbull had more of his trademark effort plays and he was rewarded with a goal and an assist Saturday. And if you could get an assist without touching the puck, he would've gotten another assist in that game. Caporusso had a pair of goals Saturday and could've had a couple more on the weekend.

Sergott called a great game Friday. Only the late call on Rust was iffy. All the others were legit penalties, even if he could've let one of them on LSSU go. Saturday I didn't think he was as good as he called a couple in the third that were of the weak variety and got in the way of a clearing attempt which ended up costing us a goal (though I can't say that puck would've gotten out of the zone...they had a player at the right point). I still think he's very possibly the best ref in the conference. Definitely toward the top. I doubt they'll trust him to do a big game in only his second year, but it's really not even close between him and Shegos, McInchak, Aaron, and Hall. Apart from this weekend he's only done three Michigan games, but I believe I echoed similar praise after the OSU weekend.

Two big wins. It wasn't pretty. We let LSSU get back into both games and gave them a late PP down by one each night. But you could do a lot worse than 4 points coming off an emotional weekend (and before playing Spartina). Just ask Miami.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you mentioned Naurato earlier. That kid has been making the most of his time lately. I've been really impressed. He's working hard, Turnbullesque, and setting up some excellent chances in the opposition's zone. He almost connected on another no-look pass from behind the net into the slot this weekend.

Sergott definitely gets my vote for official of the year. You're gonna get some calls of the weak variety on any given weekend, but he's by far the most consistent. I was impressed during the OSU weekend, and he solidified it this week. Unfortunately for us, a good portion of the CCHA officiating crew lives closer to us than his residence near Fenton, meaning we're probably not going to see him more often next year. That is, unless Pi starts giving people the axe. Not likely, given the 2 ref system coming to town.


Anonymous said...

Rust definately had a frustrating evening friday. he got booted from at least 3 faceoffs IN A ROW. after the 3rd one, i thought, man, i know Rust is gonna take a penalty... you can see it on his face & in his body language.

sergott no doubt called a good weekend. i guess no one noticed when the students chanted 'nice ass' at him and sergott replied by rubbing his ass. pretty cool, but i'm not sure Pio would be pleased.