I have to admit, even though I was looking forward to this game the entire week, I didn't pay much attention when it came on. It was a massive kick in the junk that CN8 didn't stream the game like they did last year, and by the time I finally decided that it just wasn't gonna happen, we were down 2-0 and I was getting the same feeling I got during the Friday game up at Northern. I went to get some food, came back to find it was 4-0, and said "Peace."
This game was won and lost on the special teams. Michigan did manage to put in two power play goals after the game was pretty much decided, but that was on a whopping 12 PP opportunities. On those twelve chances, they managed just nine shots on goal. Michigan had three opportunities with the man advantage before the Terriers put in their first goal, but nothing came of them.
The Terriers on the other hand had 9 power plays, took 16 shots at the Michigan net, and scored five of their seven goals with the man advantage (it would have been six, but a Greg Pateryn penalty ended just two seconds before the puck ended up in our net). The PK had been pretty darn good for most of the season. It clearly wasn't on Saturday. I get what they're going for with this two-ref system, but I really don't want to watch games with 21 power plays between the teams. I doubt our fourth-liners like it too much either.
This is interesting: You're not going to find out anything from the +/- stats (and there are limits to that stat anyway) in a game when 7 of the 9 goals came on the power play, but look at who was on the ice for the BU goals:
What's interesting about that to me is that the guys who you would expect to be our top penalty killing forwards (Rust and Hagelin) were out there for a combined 1 goal against. The defense was victimized pretty equally, but it seems that it was more "second PK unit" type forwards (or guys that don't usually kill penalties) that were out there for the goals. I'm sure the main guys were playing a ton of minutes due to the number of power plays, so that could have been part of it, but I wouldn't read too much into this disaster.
Tristin Llwellyn and Chris Summers both would have been ejected for too many penalties if this was beer league hockey. They put the Terriers up a man three times apiece. Speaking of ejections, Brian Lebler will have to sit Friday night after getting tossed for a fight with Vinny Saponari late in the third period. That would have been the only good thing about purchasing the PPV for this game.
Other positives: Caporusso kept rolling and continued his dominance in the faceoff circle (he's now 64.2% on the year(!), Czarnik got his first as a Wolverine, and I haven't heard of any players getting power-bombed over the weekend. That's about it.
I'll reserve judgement on the goalies since I didn't see the game and being that 5 goals were on the power play, there's at least a decent chance that they weren't really to blame. But our goalies have combined for (cover your eyes) an .869 save percentage so far this season. Yuck.
How bad was it? Bad enough that Michigan put just 7 even-strength shots on net the entire game, and 17 total.
It's definitely no time to panic, but it's certainly disappointing that they didn't bring it and give themselves a chance to pick up the future PWR benefits associated with winning our lone game against a HockeyEast team.
It's certainly looking like there will be no dominant team in the CCHA this year. Michigan looked pitiful against BU, MSU has lost to UMass-Lowell and has needed great play out of Lerg to have the record they've got, Notre Dame just got swept at home by a Miami team that took just 1 point from Vermont, and NMU failed to make the statement that "We're for real and we're going to contend" by splitting with Michigan at home and taking just a single point against MSU. Omaha and Miami are the only CCHA teams with less than two losses in the national standings, and Omaha hasn't played anyone.
Then again, Denver lost at home to OSU, CC tied Clarkson twice, UNH got throttled by St. Lawrence (who appears to be much better than everyone thought before the season), NoDak is 1-3, Wisconsin is 0-5-1 (on the bright side, they'd probably be like #6 in the PWR), and BC lost to Northeastern (granted Northeastern is 5-0-1, but it's still Northeastern). BU and Minnesota aside, pretty much all the usual powers have had games that they would like to have back in the early-going. Pretty interesting.
We fell to #8 in the latest edition of the USCHO poll. That's fine...
OSU this weekend. Friday night's game will be on MGoBlue.com, with Saturday's game on Comcast 900.
Other links of note:
The Hockey News interviewed me about the Steve Kampfer situation.
HSR live-blogged the Niagara game and caught what was the funniest moment of the night: A feature on the Buffalo Sabres' owner, who donated $10 million to the school. They presented him with a Niagara sweatshirt. I would've gone for the "I donated $10 million to Niagara and all I got was this stupid sweatshirt" text, but that's just me. Hopefully they at least validated his parking...
MHNet actually paid some attention to the game, which is more than I can say. He provides a much better recap.
The Daily also put up a couple of stories about the bad loss to BU: The game recap and an article about the goalie switch not really helping. Berenson said the first goal was a bad rebound but didn't blame the goalies after that. He said he made the goalie switch because "you can't pull the whole team".
Dwight Helminen has been called up to the Carolina Hurricanes and should make his NHL debut tomorrow night against Montreal.