Thursday, October 23, 2008

Michigan 4, Niagara 2

As has been the trend for a few of our wins this year, it wasn't a perfect effort, but a decent win nonetheless.

Michigan got off to a good start, but Pagliero made some saves and outside of the first few minutes, the Wolverines kind of sleep-walked through the first period. Niagara got to the front of the net, a rebound squeaked out to the right of Hogan, and Caporusso slipped when he tried to tie up his man, so Baco had a tap-in.

In the first period, Michigan got next to nothing offensively from anyone not on the top line. Things were better in the second period. Wohlberg started jumping, Caporusso started jumping, and we were getting chances from all three of our scoring lines.

The big momentum shift came when Luke Glendening went all Chris Fragner and got kicked out for a hit from behind. The penalty kill was spectacular. In the first half of the penalty, Niagara didn't come near the Michigan net and the Wolverines had a pair of two-on-ones. Niagara took a penalty on the second one, and that about did it for the major penalty.

Another big play came when Chris Moran had Hogan dead to rights; he had a wide open net, but the rebound went into his skates. He golfed at it, but barely hit the puck and ended up flinging himself into the cage.

Shortly thereafter, Caporusso drew a penalty and Palushaj scored from the faceoff circle right off the bat on the PP. And as they did against NMU on a couple of occasions, Michigan struck again in quick succession. Caporusso and Vaughan passed it back and forth a couple times, Caporusso came in on the right wing, put a shot on net, grabbed his own rebound, took it behind the net and scored on the wrap-around.

Hogan robbed one of the Purple Eagles late in the period, but gave up a terrible goal a few seconds later. Niagara threw a shot on net, Hogie knocked it to the corner but was slow getting back to his post, and they were able to throw one in off of him from behind the goal line. Rough goal to give up late in the period when we had all the momentum. That was a power play tally. Michigan's PK was very strong in this game, but the hockey gods usually penalize you for stupid penalties, and Czarnik took one there. He popped a guy in the head after they fell to the ice. Needless, behind the play, and it's something he probably would have gotten away with if there was only one official.

I've gotta say, I was skeptical, but I don't really hate the two-ref system thusfar. They're calling more penalties, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The players will adjust. Then again, we're Michigan, so we're getting the bigger-name refs to do our games. I'm not sure how much I'd like it when it's two guys I've never heard of....

Caporusso struck again to put Michigan up for good, and it was another power play goal (!!!!!). He tried to stick-handle through the defense, it got knocked off his stick and went right to Naurato, who put it through his legs to absolutely no one. Luckily it hit off the Niagara defenseman and went right to Caporusso. Louie slid it underneath Pagliero and lit the lamp for the second time in the game.

Palushaj added an empty-netter and the Wolverines can head to Boston with a 4-1-0(-0) mark on the season. Both teams had some great chances down the stretch. Czarnik sprung Wohlberg and Wohlberg made a gorgeous deke, had Pagliero beat, but put it off the post. Then at the other end, Hogan tried to cover the puck on a harmless-looking play, but missed. Niagara had a wide-open net, but one of our defensemen turned the shot away. It might have been Vaughan.

The Niagara announcers bitched about the officiating constantly, but I thought both teams had some weak calls go against them, and some glaring ones were missed. One of their guys absolutely blasted our player into the boards--it was much worse than Glendening's hit from behind (which was rightly called a major)--and they didn't even call a minor. It was right in front of the ref. So whatever. I don't care that you think it's ok for a player to put his stick on someone streaking to the net, and that when he falls into the goalie it should be called goalie interference rather than a hook.

The guy who really deserves a call tonight is Tristin Llewellyn. I thought he was absolutely fantastic on the blueline. He had some really nice plays in our end, did a nice job on the PK for the most part...he was very good tonight. It might have been his best game as a Wolverine. He's really come on in the early-going this year.

Pateryn was panicking a little bit with the puck. He had a lot more time than he thought he did...he was too quick to just throw it around the boards. It led to a couple of turnovers in our own end.

Turnovers were a big reason we won this game though. Niagara had a lot of trouble getting the puck out of their own end. I bet it was double-digit times that they had a fairly good look at a clear and couldn't get it out.

Another completely random thought: I think Matt Rust is a very underrated passer. He's really good at finding guys streaking to the net when he's over by the side boards. I love that kid's game.

You gotta give Niagara credit. They played Michigan really tough tonight, without their best player. Ted Cook broke his hand and didn't make the trip. That's a huge loss for them, but they still gave us all we could handle. They've got some good players on that team. I really like that Baco kid.

We were really solid in the third period last year and they showed some of that again tonight. Michigan outshot Niagara 18-4 in the final stanza, turning a 2-2 tie into a 4-2 win. Hogan was decent in goal. He made some really good stops, gave up one really lousy goal, and scared the begeezus out of me on another occasion. He's just gotta get some consistency. He's been great in spurts and terrible in spurts. I like that we're getting him some time, but as I've said before, I still think Sauer is going to be the one who ultimately carries the load this season.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recap. I missed most of the game due to prior commitments, and only caught Jim and Al for the last 10 minutes of the 3rd.

I concur with the thoughts on Hogan. Seems somewhat like sophomore Billy. Of course, that's probably due to lack of any workload until this point. My main concern is that splitting time will ultimately have a negative affect on Billy, what with him not getting into a groove of any sort. Although next year would be much more questionable if we went trial by fire with Hogan (see: Sauer)

Matt Rust was really overshadowed last year by the performance of our first line. He made quite a few nice plays, but they were somewhat underscored. Honestly, I didn't even notice some of them until I assembled my highlight video. The pass he made to set up Palushaj's goal that got us on the board against Miami in the CCHA Championship was just picture perfect beautiful. Seriously, that requires some great puck sense and patience.

It was very refreshing to see the PP and 2nd/3rd lines get going tonight. Time to get the momentum rolling there...

Packer487 said...

KC, it's really funny that you mention that about Rust. I've had your highlight video on my computer for awhile and had never gotten around to watching it.

I put it on two days ago and the first thing that jumped into my mind was "Wow, Rust made some really great plays last year!"

BTW, that was a really awesome video. You did a nice job on it.

SyracuseWolvrine said...

Thanks for the recap.

Anonymous said...

KC- Annette and I missed you and your wife... ears ringing?

The guys slept walked in the first period after a fast first eight minutes. Agree, Niagara's first goal was a coverage mistake.

Better second period, but both teams did have a right to complain about Hall and Serg(onad)ott. Hall is pretty consistent, Sergott is terrible. The 5 minute major was legit, but they blew the obvious call (HFB) on Palushaj. This was just after Palushaj was called for a phantom hook when Michigan was on the PP. The ticky-tac contact to the head penalties are just terrible and the "Contact to the head imbellishment" call was new on me. Why don't they just call it unsportmanlike (diving)?

Took all the flow away, even though Niagara did that also.

Just seems like the guys were not in full mental gear last night. Luckily the third period and the first line saved them.

I hoped they don't take the same effort to Boston or they'll get creamed.

BTW- Both Kampfer and Mitera were at the game last night.

Minnesota @Wisconsin will be on the BTN tonight.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the retalliation penalty that Michigan got on Czarnik was dumb, but the initial call should have gone on the Niagara d-man for literally tacking him first, then holding him down. Dumbshit called the penalty after waiting 10-15 seconds watching the two of them try to get up off of the ice.

Anonymous said...

Hey Time, my name's Geoff Chiles, I'm a senior at Michigan. I started reading your blog for the first time last year, and have really enjoyed it. I've had season tickets all four years of school, and have been following Michigan Hockey since 1996. It's always been refreshing to walk into a venue where the students seem to want to be there. ;)

I keep hearing all this talk about your highlight video from last year, but can't seem to find it. I'd like to watch it.

My e-mail is:

Go Blue,

Anonymous said...

Tim - Thanks for the kudos. I appreciate that.

Streak - I didn't get tickets for last night because I was scheduled to be in Lansing for training most of the week. When that wrapped up early on Wednesday, I thought about picking up some tickets. Not 10 minutes after that thought, something else came up. Figures :) We'll see you for OSU if you're around...

Geoff - The video is up on youtube. Linky here:

Anonymous said...


Ed Cormany said...

for those looking to get to the live feed, here's the direct link:

i've got VLC all set up and ready too, so i might cap it and post the game on mgovideo...we'll see if that goes well or not!

Anonymous said...

brian dowd, who scored that fluke goal for niagara, went to my high school...bishop timon st jude in buffalo ny. it is the same school that tim kennedy and mike ratchuk formerly of msu went to. if pat kane had went to high school, he probably would have went to timon as well becasue it is right down the street from his house.