Thursday, February 14, 2008

Going Upstairs: Michigan 5, Miami 5

This is the first time I've attempted this feature on The Blog That Yost Built. I don't usually rewatch a game after it's been played (sometimes that shows!) but the games this past weekend were big enough and good enough that I'm going to take a trip down memory lane to see if I learn anything that I missed on the original broadcast.

Credit where credit is due: It's totally based on UFR at MGoBlog.

Why am I looking at the 5-5 game first? 1) It was a helluva lot more interesting. 2) I've got a copy of it on my computer so it's a lot easier to review, given that my laptop took another crap.

The goal is to mainly review the goals, scoring chances, and penalties to see why they happened, who should be credited, who was at fault, and if the penalty was legit or if Shegos is just a moron.

Let's see what I learn:

17 seconds into the game, Ryan Jones is called for high-sticking. The camera panned away before you could see the hit, but it appeared that he was raising his arms and the hit was well after Summers played the puck. Probably unnecessary to make that hit.

For Michigan's first goal, Caporusso lost the draw, Ganzak dumped it around the boards to Mercier. Mitera pinched in to block Mercier's ability to throw the puck up the boards and out of the zone. He instead had to wrap it back behind the net where Ganzak was open. Naurato snuck back there at the last second, intercepted the pass, and threw a no-look pass to Turnbull cruising in from the far boards. He was able to deke Zatkoff and put the puck 5-hole when he started to move. Really nice plays by both Mitera and Naurato to close off Miami's ability to make a play to get the puck out of the zone. And Naurato made a great feed to Turnbull.

3 1/2 minutes into the game Michigan came thisclose to jumping ahead 2-0. Miami was bringing the puck up ice on a harmless looking 2 on 2 (Langseth didn't trip our defenseman this time, so it stayed that way. The Miami players tried to criss-cross, but Langlais read the play, and picked off the pass. On the original breakout, Kolarik had laid a hit on a Miami player, so he was a bit behind the play. He just got back on-side when Langlais intercepted and it appeared Miami forgot about him a little bit. Langlais made a good pass to spring Kolarik in all alone. With a defenseman coming back, Kolarik got to the hashmark and had to let the shot go. He beat Zatkoff clean, high on the blocker side, but it rang off the crossbar and came back out. Immediately after was when Porter rocked Nathan Davis.

Porter's chance about 6 1/2 minutes in came when he blocked an attempted pass by a Miami player and immediately jumped up ice. The puck went right to Chad Kolarik who hit a streaking Porter. Because he was so quick to recognize the opportunity that was there, he was able to get a step on Kevin Roeder and Kolarik made the feed. Ganzak was back as well, so he was limited to a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot.

Pacioretty ended up in the box shortly thereafter. Porter was forechecking, Ganzak got around him and when Pacioretty came flying in to try and pick his pocket, his stick caught Ganzak's skate. Legit call.

Unfortunately with Pacioretty in the box, the RedHawks capitalized. Kolarik and Hagelin went up ice on a 2 on 1. Ryan Jones was able to get back and force Kolarik to hold up just inside the Miami zone. Hagelin ended up at the front of the net to the right of Zatkoff. Kolarik got a shot off which went wide of the net and deflected into the corner on Hagelin's side. When Martinez spun around to go after the puck, his stick caught Hagelin's skate and sent the Swede for a tumble, otherwise Hagelin would have had a very good chance at getting to that loose puck. Langlais had come into the zone and the puck was chipped off the boards behind him by Jones to Miele. Langlais gave him a tug to try and recover, which was called a penalty. Miele looked to pass the puck but Kampfer got his stick on it. The deflection went right to Jones who unleashed a shot from the top of the circle which went in.

The trip on Hagelin absolutely should have been called a penalty. He would've had a great chance to get to the loose puck, but instead was taken out of the play. Credit Jones for a great read to chip the puck by Langlais at the blue line and then for getting himself back into the play. Why didn't one of our forwards pick him up? Perhaps because Hagelin was on the ice after being tripped. He came into the picture about a second after the goal was scored.

Now, was the call on Langlais the correct one? It was an extremely weak call, given that Hagelin had just been taken down at the other end of the ice, but Langlais did hook him. It didn't really affect the play because Kampfer was the last D back and couldn't press Miele, but it could have made a difference. I have a problem with the call because Hagelin was tripped and it wasn't called. If Shegos had let both infractions go, fine. I'm still a little upset in that case because our guy had a shot at the puck, but I ripped him the night before for not letting the teams play, so I'm ok with the non-calls. But you can't let the Hagelin trip go and then whistle what Langlais did. Awful. Langlais had to serve his penalty, since Pacioretty came out of the box on the goal.

Porter saved a great scoring chance by back-checking and getting the Miami player's stick. Both our defensemen were caught behind the goal, the puck came out in front and Mercier was wide open, but Porter was able to get back. I believe Llewellyn probably went the wrong way on this one. Summers was in the right corner and wrapped it around the boards to his left. Llewellyn was stationed by the right post and when Michigan wasn't going to get possession on the left boards, he went behind the net to go try to get to the play. That left the middle wide open.

Now here's Miami's infamous second goal. It was worse than I remember. In my head, I thought Miami was carrying the puck up on a 2 on 2. They were. The RedHawks didn't even have possession of the puck. Palmer simply chucked it up the boards to get it out of the zone. Plain and simple, Langseth was out too far. After watching the replay I don't think he was trying to avoid a Michigan player jumping off the bench. I think he just got his right skate caught up with Mitera. Once Mitera biffed, the puck slid into our zone. Vaughan had gone to his right to cover Miele who was coming through the middle of the ice. When Mitera fell, Vaughan had to come left to pick up Cannone. He got the pass over to Miele who shot it off Sauer, then the bar. It fell back into the crease. It appeared to deflect off Sauer's back and into the net. Vaughan slid in to try and keep the puck out but it looked like he was too late. I don't believe Vaughan knocked it in as I originally thought. Pretty unlucky play all around.

Langlais got tripped in almost identical fashion to Pacioretty's penalty. Good call. And a nice rush by Langlais. He went through 2 or 3 guys before getting dumped.

Caporusso gets a break the other way after a blocked Miami dump-in. A defenseman recovered and he had to shoot from the left dot. This was the play where it appeared as if Turnbull held the puck in at the line, setting up Caporusso and Miller on a 2 on 1, but it was whistled off-sides. Upon further review, I think they got that one right. It's really had to see the puck against Michigan's dark jerseys/socks, but I think I saw a flash of it going off his left skate, which was out of the zone.

Pacioretty's goal was pretty easy. It was a standard dump in by Michigan (though credit whichever Michigan played tipped the puck on its way into the zone, or it might be icing--I think that was Kolarik). Ganzak was on the left boards and had 2 players uncovered going up the right side. He tried to send it over there but Pacioretty was coming back up the middle of the ice, picked off the pass and roofed it up over Zatkoff's glove.

Palushaj's nifty stick work nearly resulted in another goal that was off a nice keep by Langlais. He chipped the puck back in to Hagelin, who sent it to Rust. Rust got the shot away but it was blocked onto Palushaj's stick. He didn't really have anywhere to go with it, so he tried to put it through his own legs to find an opening. It didn't work, but it would've been a gorgeous goal if he'd pulled it off. It was thanks to Langlais holding the puck in. Prediction: At some point in his career, Palushaj will pull off a goal in tight quarters that makes everyone's jaw drop. He's crafty.

Naurato got sent to the box. Legit call. Looked like the guy took a tumble, but Naurato hooked enough of his glove that it pulled him off-balance. He gets credit for covering Llewellyn's point when Llewellyn stepped up to hold the puck in at the other end. That wasn't a bad play either. He held the puck deep in the Miami end. Possibly he should've come back out of the zone when Caporusso got in deep to fight for the puck, but Naurato had his point.

Great penalty kill by Michigan that time. Hagelin and Rust did a nice job, and Langlais came up big as well. He picked off a pass at the end of the penalty, brought it into the zone, and threw one in front that nearly connected.

With 11 left in the second, the freshmen line (8-19-12) had another great shift. I think we've got something there. They're relentless on the forecheck and they were creating opportunities most every shift at this point in the game. Langlais had another gorgeous keep at the blueline.

Miami's third goal came off a screened shot from the point. This is one of the areas where the college game could be very different from the low-level hockey I play, but I feel like Pacioretty probably got too deep into his defensive zone and lost contain on the point twice, the second time resulting in the goal. The first time, he was below the bottom of the circle really not even doing anything. It looked like he kind of just drifted down there. Miami got control and because all five Wolverines were within a foot of the goalline, they were able to chip it back to the Robbins no problem. Once the Michigan players reset, Robbins rolled it back into the corner to Sauer's left. Again, Pacioretty went deep. They chipped it back to the point again and this time, Robbins was able to take the pass in the middle of the ice, with no Wolverine higher than the faceoff dot. He was able to get a clean shot through. Porter screened Sauer pretty much the entire way, and I don't think he ever even knew which side of the net the shot was heading toward. It may have even hit Porter on the way through. It's entirely possible that Pacioretty did what he was supposed to do on that one, but to my untrained eye, it looked as if he drifted too deep and left the point as a viable passing option. The second time it bit us.

With the score 3-2, Sauer came up with maybe the biggest stop of the hockey game. Miami breaks out, Miele looking for Lacombe. It wasn't a very good pass and for a split-second Kampfer thought he could get there. He stopped heading backward and went for the puck but he never really had a chance. Lacombe carried it with speed into the Michigan zone 2 on 1. He never really looked for the pass, but Langlais was back. Sauer robbed him with the glove to keep it a one-goal game.

I'll interject a couple of random thoughts here. 1) It's nice not having the flow of this game broken up by constant penalties. Both teams are playing clean, not a lot of hooking and holding, and there's a nice pace. 2) If CSTV could learn one thing: It's a whole lot easier to watch a game with the Fox Sports graphics package than it is with theirs. CSTV's score bar is huge, and the ticker at the bottom is also huge and distracting. A guess, it takes up 1/8 of the screen. Fox has a very thin bar, and that's it. It's a much cleaner look. I don't think anyone has ever watched a game and thought, "Boy, I wish there was more crap taking up big portions of the screen!"

Kolarik's goal came due to an offensive zone faceoff win. Michigan won the draw and Summers threw it toward the goal. It deflected to the side and Porter got it at the half-boards. He sent it down low for Pacioretty, who won the battle along the boards and fed Summers at the point. He let the shot go. It went wide and the rebound came out to the near boards. Llewellyn came in to keep the puck in the zone and gave it to Kolarik. Palmer put a hit on Llewellyn, which opened up the middle of the ice. Kolarik brought it to the middle and uncorked a great shot into the top-corner, glove hand.

This penalty to Miami was on the weak side. Langlais was going toward the puck and Miele gave him a little slash on the stick. Langlais lost his stick and Shegos whistled it. It was the type of play that they're going to call every time. If Langlais doesn't drop his stick, it doesn't get blown dead. Usually you get away with that little slash, but if the guy loses his stick or the stick breaks, they're going to call it.

Michigan had a great opportunity early in this power play. Porter fed Pacioretty by the post to the right of Zatkoff. Rather than shoot, Patch looked back across crease to Kolarik. If the pass connected, Kolarik had a wide open net. However it looked like Pacioretty had some space up high to shoot. Probably should've let that one go.

Palushaj got called for a trip. He dove and swept his stick, the guy fell. They're calling that one every time.

Here's what you might call "The hidden game". Travis Turnbull made a game-changing play, which didn't even take place on the same shift as the result. He fought through a check to keep possession of the puck and put a weak shot on goal. The result was a faceoff deep in Miami's end. Hagelin won the draw and on the ensuing possession, Musitelli got called for hitting from behind. 5 and a game. This major was a turning point. Legit call by the way. Much more of a clear cut major than the one Vaughan was called for the day before. Musitelli had him lined up for a long time and aimed right for the 4 on Summers's back.

Porter's slam dunk goal off that beautiful passing play came off another great keep at the blueline by Langlais. He won't get a point, but he kept the play alive. He walked along the blueline and chipped it down to Pacioretty along the boards. Pacioretty got it cross-ice to Kolarik who was able to draw the defensemen towards him, leaving Porter open back-side. His pass was picture-perfect and Porter buried it.

Pacioretty's second on the night was a bad goal. It was a pretty nothing play. Pacioretty pushed it back to Porter at the point. He tried to get a shot through but it was blocked. He then passed to Patch instead, and Patch just let one fly from the boards north of the hash-mark. Palushaj may have screened Zatkoff, but it was yet another goal that went high glove.

Another legit call against Miami. Roeder probably didn't mean to do it, but he basically tackled Naurato from behind, giving Michigan a 1:45 two-man advantage. This was where they failed to finish the game when they had a chance. Palushaj fed Pacioretty at the top of the right circle. His shot deflected off two Miami sticks on the way through and then hit the crossbar. Patch raised his stick, I jumped into the air and yelled, but it clearly did not go in. It fooled me too, Patch.

Here comes the play I've been really looking forward to taking a close look at: Miami's 4th goal. It was just an innocent dump-in by Steffes. It hit Sauer's stick and deflected up. When it came off the netting/glass, it didn't bounce back very hard. Sauer tried to catch it, the puck went in and out of his glove and fell into the slot where Miele buried it. Now, did it hit the netting or the glass? The Michigan players seemed to think it hit net. It's really hard to follow the puck on the replay because there's a dark reflection in the top of the glass, but after watching it at least a dozen times.....I'm not sure. I had a paragraph written about how I was convinced it hit the netting. Then I erased it and wrote a paragraph about I actually think it hit the glass. Now I've erased that and I'm unsure. It's really close. It doesn't deflect like I would expect a puck hitting glass to. It looks like it almost rides upward for a second before coming back out, which makes me think it hit the net. But it wouldn't shock me if it got the very top of the glass either. Either way, a horrible no-call and an official's error cost us two. This would make it three if it did hit the netting, but if it's that hard to tell on slow-motion replay, I can't completely fault them for missing (?) it live.

Miami's fifth goal was another unlucky break. Miami threw one into the zone. It hit Sauer either in the chest or on his blocker and deflected into the slot. Rust picked it up and even though there were four Wolverines deep, two uncovered, he threw it around the boards to Sauer's right. Miami kept it in and Mercier threw one to the net that hit Mitera's skate and went right onto the blade of Palmer. He went-cross-crease to an open Davis for the goal. Vaughan had gone to the boards to try and retrieve the puck when Rust dumped it. Mitera was patrolling in the middle and had to pick up Palmer. Rust recognized that Davis was open but couldn't quite get there. He actually just missed corralling the centering pass.

Rust, Hagelin, and Palushaj really had a nice game. Our chance with about 50 seconds left came, once again, off great work along the boards by that trio.

Early in OT, Palushaj made a great recovery to stop Miele from walking in and having a brilliant scoring chance. Summers couldn't get the puck out. Rust went toward the boards to help out, but the puck chipped down low. The Miami player fed it to an uncovered Miele in the middle of the ice. He walked in all alone, but Palushaj was able to dive and disrupt him enough that the puck skittered away.

Caporusso had a great chance off a turnover in the Miami end. He pounced, shot it quickly, and Zatkoff made a nice save.

On the inexcusable too many men penalty, I have no idea what happened. It looked like Rust went for a change and two guys must've jumped on. Possibly Caporusso and Porter. Turnbull was out there, so Caporusso's line was probably up next. If I had to guess--and this is a complete guess--they wanted Porter out there for the last shift of the game. It didn't get communicated to Caporusso, and both centers jumped on for Rust.

So what did I learn?

Mainly that it takes a damn long time to do breakdowns like this.

But also that the no-call on the first goal was worse than I thought. The rush Miami had going on the second goal before Mitera tripped wasn't even a rush. They just dumped it. The fourth goal is really hard to tell. Langlais made some great plays at the blueline. The freshman line was outstanding along the boards and on the forecheck. The top line was incredible. Palmer, Miele, and Jones are all really impressive players. Most of the penalties in that game were completely legit, unlike what I think I'll find on Friday's review. Miami scored two goals in the third based on throwing the puck at the net, and their second goal by throwing the puck up the boards, which turned into a 2 on 1 when Mitera fell.

And it was just as disappointing of a tie watching the replay.

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