Now it's time to take a look at Friday night's contest:
The "big stop" Sauer made on Kaufman in the opening moments of the game actually was blocked by Chad Kolarik's stick. Kolarik blocking shots is a recurring trend in this game. I think he was only credited with a couple, but it seemed like he was closer to a half-dozen.
Wingels called for triping. No replay, but it looked to be a good call on the live shot. It appeared that the players went knee to knee.
Summers goes off for hooking. Meh. I guess. It's one of those calls that "by the book" it's a penalty, but it didn't really affect the play and if you're calling that one, then there should be at least a dozen hooking calls every night. Instead of 2. Kind of like the Datsyuk one late in game 5 of the WCF last year. If you're calling that, you better not be letting anything go.
Michigan got on the board when Caporusso barreled through 2 defenders on his way into the zone. The puck was knocked off his stick but it stayed in. Naurato tried to go back to Caporusso, who was off-balance but it hit a RedHawk and came right back to him. A lane had opened up and he brought it into the slot, fed Turnbull who got a nice shot away. Turnbull went in the corner, dug it back out, and threw it into the slot. The guys who were on Caporusso both left him, and he was able to sneak in behind the defense and whack the puck in, relatively unmolested.
Hagelin made two plays to set up our second goal. He got his stick on an attempted pass by a Miami player and Palushaj intercepted. He threw a shot in which deflected wide. He went and got it and another shot attempted was blocked to Hagelin behind the net. He carried it out to the right half-boards, going around two guys, and Palushaj was able to sneak through 4 guys to head to the back post. Hagelin lifted a beautiful saucer-pass to him, which Palushaj stopped with his skate and then got off a quick shot past Zatkoff.
The next goal was pretty simple. Porter is out by the point, Kolarik blocks a shot, Porter takes off, they hit on the homerun pass to spring Porter on a partial breakaway, he puts a shot high glove and we're up 3-0. Eww.
Mercier then went off for holding. He basically got Langlais in a headlock and facewashed him enough that his helmet came off. They aren't missing that one. Good call and it bit them a minute later.
The fourth goal was pretty unlucky for Miami. Langlais caught to up Jones on a breakaway, took the puck from him and started it back the other way to Kolarik. Kolarik walked the blueline and fed it left side to Palushaj. Palushaj fanned on an attempt into the slot but it bounced over a Miami stick and Pacioretty was able to knock it home.
Lebler's hitting from behind penalty was next. Palmer was bringing it up the boards, Lebler started to line up the hit, and at the last second Palmer pulled a 180. Lebler got him half in the back, half in the left shoulder. I don't particularly like this one, but we got one back a little later. The color guy seemed to think it was a good call.
Langlais interference. No replay. Looked like he assumed the puck was going to get to his man and he hit him. But the puck got knocked down before it got there.
Sauer made a great save on this power play. Cannone snuck in the back door and when the Miami player brought it behind the net, he fed him. Sauer was moving post to post anyway, but that was a big-time stop.
Then the penalty parade started with four straight calls against Miami in the second half of the period. Martinez for tripping, no replay. He either got our guy's skate or it was a dive. Hard to tell. Replays would be nice. Oh, and the score graphic & ticker take up 20% of the screen. I measured because I'm a dork. That's too big. ESPN's bottom line is annoying at times, but they can get away with it because it's really small. This one is constantly on the screen and it's 4x the size. They could make it a lot smaller with no problem.
The charge on Steffes was borderline. Llewellyn played the puck by the boards and Steffes was a foot from the faceoff dot and ended up hitting him. It was a hair late, but he wasn't taking strides, he just kind of glided in there and put a nice hit on. That's another that falls into the "you could let that go" category. If you haven't noticed, I'm a fan of letting the players decide it when it's two equally matched teams, and I don't think plays like that need to be whistled.
Jones is called for hitting from behind. Absolutely not. He hit him in the shoulder. The way our player fell made it look like the hit was from behind, but that was clean. That said, if you think it's a hit from behind, I'm not sure how that wasn't 5 and a game. That was pretty violent. Shouldn't have been a call, but if you think he hit him in the back, he should've been tossed.
Roeder's interference penalty was a good one. He killed Rust before the puck got there. Pacioretty for a trip, no replay. Looked like he got him though. Jones back off for kneeing. He stuck the leg out. Good call. Then we get Mitera for tripping and Summers for cross-checking sixteen seconds apart. Yeah. Miller had two huge plays to negate scoring chances and Miele went off for knocking Kolarik's dropped stick away from him. Best call of the hockey game by Shegos right there.
Vaughan's hitting from behind major was the most legit of the ones we've seen thusfar. When he had Mercier lined up, he was going for the shoulder, Mercier turned to play the puck and Vaughan hit him. I don't know how it's five if the call on Jones wasn't. I have to believe that because Mercier got dinged a little, that influenced the call. Either we have no-tolerance on these or we don't. And if we don't, then that should've been 2.
Miami cut the deficit to three on a lucky goal of their own. Kampfer had to leave the front of the net to chase the puck, it ended up on the other side of the net. They threw a shot on net, which hit Sauer in the blocker then deflected up into the face area of Jones and into the net. Kampfer didn't have time to get back.
Great play by Mitera to create a shorthanded scoring chance. He blocked a shot, controlled it with his feet and carried it up ice. Instead of just going full-steam ahead, he waited for help and eventually sent it to Rust, the late man who was uncovered (the defenseman back went with Porter). Rust got a shot off and Zatkoff made a good save. We had three deep though and Miami transitioned it for a scoring chance of their own. Llewellyn had a solid play to knock the puck-carrier off the puck and end the threat.
Miller's hitting from behind penalty was just a stupid play. The guy had his back to Miller the whole way. Right to be 2 minutes, but a dumb penalty.
The penalty to Lebler was absurd. He came in on net, got the shot away but it was deflected by the defenseman coming back. Lebler goes to turn, the defenseman gets into him, Zatkoff is out past the top of the crease, and Lebler's leg hits Zatkoff's pad on the way by. To make that call is a case of reffing the score and nothing else.
And as long as we're calling everything, Rust broke away with Porter (I believe) 2 on 1. The defenseman coming back dove to knock the puck away from Rust and took out his feet as well. Rust ended up offsides. I thought in college that was an automatic penalty, but I guess not. Miami scores a few moments later in the power play that shouldn't have happened, or should've been negated at the very least, and ends up getting back into the game because of it.
Palmer's goal was a beauty. He got around Kolarik, dangled his way around Hagelin immediately after, then beat Llewellyn and put a wrister into the top corner of the net. Sauer might have gotten the angle wrong--it looked like he got too deep and drifted too far to his left--but it might not even have mattered. That was a helluva goal by the Miami player who was as good as anyone on their team apart from Miele this weekend.
Robbins got called for interference. CSTV showed him bumping Porter just after he played the puck, but I don't think that was the call. If it was, it was one of the worst calls ever. I'm pretty sure he called him for grabbing onto Kolarik though. And that's a call that has to be made, given what we've seen called in this game.
The penalty on Llewellyn late was really iffy. The violent twist by the Miami player, I'm pretty confident he did on his own. It looked like Llewellyn was already playing the puck when the Miami player spun. It looked bad initially, but on the replay, it was a minor hook. And short of Mitera going Crash Davis and calling Shegos a "**** sucker", how are you giving a captain a ten-minute misconduct at that stage?
So what did we learn today?
More of the penalties were legit than I had originally thought. A lot still fell into the iffy category however, and I'd much prefer to not see 19 power plays in a 1 vs. 2 matchup. I think he started reffing the score somewhat, as I'd like to believe that Vaughan and Lebler's penalties wouldn't have been called the same way had it been a 3-3 game. Miami, though, has as big of a beef with the officiating as Michigan does. To be fair, the penalty that led to the Michigan PPG was very legit and Miami's first PPG would've scored whether Vaughan's hit was 2 or 5. The last Miami goal was the only one that came off a questionable penalty.
Michigan's players were great with their sticks in our own end. There were a lot of plays broken up due to a guy just getting a stick in there. Kolarik, Miller, Langlais, Porter--they all had some great defensive plays. Sauer outplayed Zatkoff both nights, which bodes well for a future matchup between these teams. The defense played really great as well. Miami didn't do anything 5 on 5. And Kolarik was just outstanding for Michigan both nights. When a star player is blocking shots like that, it has to motivate the rest of the team. He did a great job of leading by example and I think he keyed this great defensive effort.