Other comments from the win that put Michigan into the Frozen Four for the first time since 2003:
-The penalty kill was amazing. Clarkson doesn't have the best power play in the country by any means, but holding them to 0-0 with nine shots on goal was pretty awesome. Clarkson had four straight power plays in the late-first and early-second period when it was still 1-0 and Michigan killed them off and allowed just three shots. Niagara had 3 power plays the night before and Michigan didn't give up a single shot on goal. Bravo PK!
-I still can't get over those stops that Sauer had at the end of the game during the 6-on-3. A couple of the saves toward the end of the sequence were positively Hasek-like (he dropped his stick and everything).
-I'll have to go back and watch the tape again, but on one viewing, I thought Chad Langlais played a really strong game defensively. I know I saw him out there on a couple of PKs doing a very nice job. And Mitera was as good as he's been since the first half of the season.
-I can't tell you how many times I yelled "Win a faceoff!" (with slightly more profanity). 33/80 isn't so good.
-I thought the officiating by Chip McDonald on Friday night was pretty good. I can't say as much for Tim Benedetto Saturday. I'll get more into it later when I do the "Going Upstairs" feature on the games, but I was pretty aggravated for most of the game.
-After being outshot 17-14 through two periods, the Wolverines game out like gang-busters to start the third. Final shots in the period ended up being 18-10, but I want to say it was like 17-4 at one point. And they tallied that all-important second goal.
-Interesting stat: With BC's win today, Jerry York moved into a tie with Jack Parker for the most NCAA Tournament wins all-time with 26. Red Berenson has 25 wins, meaning that if Michigan beats North Dakota for the Championship, Red will take over the top spot. If we beat BC (or if we lose to North Dakota) Red would be in a tie for first.
The Wolverines will now face the surprising Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who knocked off New Hampshire and Spartina over the weekend to advance to Denver. Michigan will be playing in the late game (9 pm EDT) a week from Thursday. Even if there are overtimes, the teams will have Friday off before the Championship Game, so early vs. late doesn't really matter in this case.
Michigan and Notre Dame will be joined (as expected) by North Dakota and Boston College, though neither team had it easy. Both teams were down by 2 goals past the halfway point of the game before rallying for overtime wins.
In the next week and a half, I'm hoping to have the following articles up:
-Going Upstairs reviews of our games against Niagara and Clarkson
-Going Upstairs review of our thrilling 3-2 win over Notre Dame from earlier in the year
-10 Things to Know About Notre Dame, North Dakota, and Boston College
I'm seriously thinking about making the trip to Denver. It wasn't looking so good as of last night, but there are some cheap flights out of Chicago so it looks a lot more doable. I should know in the next day or two. Hopefully we'll see a big contingent of maize and blue out in the Mile High City.