So we really just can't score goals for Billy Sauer. Michigan has scored 10 goals in the 7 2/3 games Sauer has played, and eight of those came in the games against OSU and St. Lawrence. They've got two goals combined in the other 5 2/3 games.
Sauer was nothing short of fantastic between the pipes tonight, but when you get no offensive support it's hard to win hockey games. He gave up two power play goals that he had no chance on, and the Badgers added an empty-netter late.
Unlike last Friday against Miami, I can't fault the effort in this one. Michigan was trying out there, things just weren't going their way. They played a great first period, but things unraveled in the second. They took three penalties in quick succession and never regained the momentum after that.
I don't want to say a ton about the officiating until I go back and watch the tape--the game is reairing right now and I can't wait to see the replay of Lebler's clipping--yes clipping--penalty that he was assessed a 5 minute major for. At first watch, I thought the officials were horrendous. It seemed like Red, Mel, and David Wohlberg were equally happy.
The best player on the ice tonight, by far, was Carl Hagelin. That kid is an amazing hockey player and it's one of the most underrated joys in the world to get to watch him play in person. He's always going. I wish I had a count of how many times tonight he went in on the forecheck and somehow came out of there with the puck. I love him and Rust together.
Michigan really didn't end up with a ton of great scoring chances. Wisconsin is really sound defensively. We outplayed them 5 on 5, we just didn't have a lot of opportunity to play 5 on 5 sadly. 17 of Wisconsin's 30 shots (including 10 of their 12 in the third) came during their 19 minutes of power play time. You're just not going to win hockey games when you have to kill penalties for an entire period's worth of time.
What else, what else...I thought Wohlberg had another strong game. Palushaj didn't do much. The Kohl Center is beautiful. Their little power play song is pretty catchy even if we heard far too much of it.
The passing kind of sucked tonight. I don't know if the ice was chippy because of the basketball game earlier in the day--it was bouncing around quite a bit, at least in the end we defended twice--but they just weren't clicking tonight.
Worst smack of the night: "Save your voice for your bowl game....ohhhhh!" Umm...we beat you. I'm 26 and you've beaten us something like 4 times in my life. This was the worst team in the history of Michigan football and we still beat you. And you guys had a crap year too...at least we had somewhat of an excuse. You were supposed to contend for the Big Ten. So yeah, probably not a great time to bring up football.
This season is giving me a headache. I feel so bad for Billy Sauer. He deserves a lot better than this. He was simply stellar in net tonight and they just couldn't help him at all. It's going to get to the point where they have to play Hogan just because he's the guy we play well in front of, but if we get to that point it's no fault of Sauer's. He's giving them a chance and they're not getting it done.
There's no excuse to not rail Michigan State next weekend...