Saturday, January 17, 2009

Michigan 1, BGSU 0

No comments as of yet about the game last night, the first BGSU shutout of Michigan in history. I was going to catch it once MGoBlue archived the game, but a friend texted me to tell me not to waste my time. And since he knows me very well, he texted my girlfriend too to make sure I got the message, since he knew there was no way in hell I'd go near my phone when I was trying to not find out the outcome of the game.

So the Wolverines win this one 1-0 on a goal by Chad Langlais. Billy Sauer made 19 saves (based on Gametracker) and got absolutely mobbed by his teammates after the game, which was great to see. How can you not feel good for that kid after a performance like that.

If you need any proof that the coaches haven't lost faith in Billy Sauer, the fact that they were willing to start him tonight should tell you all you need to know. Michigan had to have this one, the goal support was very limited yet again, and Sauer held the Falcons off the scoreboard to allow the Wolverines to salvage a couple of points this weekend.

The weekend went from bad to near-disaster just 23 seconds into the game when Chris Summers was drilled shoulder-first into the boards. He came back and played the rest of the first period and I don't think he played after that. He wasn't on the bench in the third period. The announcers thought he might have gotten his bell rung. Hopefully it's nothing serious. It certainly looked like it could be a collerbone/shoulder injury. I was surprised to see him back out there.

Hagelin was zipping around tonight. He drew a couple of BGSU penalties, caused another by using his speed and forcing them to knock Llewellyn down to prevent a scoring chance and damn near scored himself a shortie, made a great defensive play to take a chance away from Solway, who was in all alone after Pateryn went and hit a Falcon at the blueline, and he stole the puck from Spratt behind the net, nearly leading to a wrap-around goal. He was fantastic.

Shots were 11-1 Michigan about halfway through the first period, but despite a couple of power plays, there weren't any chances that were anything special.

Caporusso came out from behind the net and hit Langlais who tried to send one through traffic. Play continued and Caporusso just wheeled through the offensive zone and I have no idea how he missed on his opportunity. He didn't have a ton to shoot at, but he had a goal if his shot was on net.

After 1 shots were 14-4 but the score remained 0-0.

Early in the second, Travis Turnbull broke into the open on a delayed call. He about had his arm taken off and his shot went wide. BGSU was lucky to only get called for one penalty there, because that was a BC two-hander their guy laid on Turnbull. Or a "BG two hander" maybe? Yuk yuk yuk.

Sauer made his first big stop of the game when Sexton found the late man entering the zone. He got off a nice shot from inside the top of the circle and Sauer had to be quick with the pad.

The Wolverines made it 1-0 just a couple of minutes later. Danny Fardig got off a nice shot, skated down the rebound, got the puck out to Langlais at the point, and Langlais put a seeing-eye shot just inside the far post. Spratt was screened by a couple of guys and we were pretty lucky that the shot didn't hit one of them on the way through.

Steve Kampfer then proved that he's not afraid of contact, because he absolutely BLEW UP Josh Boyd, who was trying to enter the zone with his head down. Jack Johnson would have appreciated that hit. Of course, Jack Johnson probably would've gotten five and a game for that hit.

Speaking of JMFJ, he's baaaaaaaaaaack! Turco stopped him in a shootout today, actually.

The Wolverines nearly made it 2-0 a couple of minutes later. Winnett put a bouncing shot toward the net, Miller nearly corralled the rebound, but it hopped over his stick.

I made fun of the refs for calling Lebler for "clipping" during the Michigan/Wisconsin game, but Boyd showed us exactly what clipping is. He completely low-bridged Tristin Llewellyn and Llewellyn looked to be in some pain. If what Lebler did was five, then I have no doubts that should have been five as well. Luckily Llewellyn would later return, because it looked like he hurt.

Llewellyn came back and took a penalty. He and Petruska then wrestled each other to the ice. Even though they aren't allowed to drop their gloves, that was still 1000% more manly than Alexander Semin's fight with Marc Staal.

Late in the PP, Winnett sprung Fardig on a partial breakaway and Fardig got hauled down. It may or may not have counted because the net ended up coming off, but when Fardig wiped out, the puck got through both he and Spratt and was heading in. But as Spratt spun from the impact with Fardig, his leg knocked the puck into the post.

The teams traded useless power plays and then Sinkewich took his fourth penalty of the game. Michigan appeared to go up 2-0, but upon further review the goal was waived off. This was yet another opportunity for Steve McInchak to look like an incompetent boob. There was a mad scramble in front of the net and McInchak was positioned directly behind the goal. He had the best view in the house. He didn't blow the whistle when the puck looked to be completely covered. He didn't blow the whistle when Ben Winnett flung himself into the goalie. Hagelin then put the puck in the net and McInchak emphatically pointed that it was a goal. Jimmy Spratt literally chased him around the rink screaming at him. Scott Paluch looked like he was going to go Robbie Ftorek and throw a bench on the ice. Then he went upstairs and waived the goal off. Brilliant.

For the record, there's no way that goal should have counted. He got it right eventually. I just think it's hilarious that he watched the play, emphatically called it a goal, and then was like "Oops, I'm an idiot." And I have no idea what Winnett was trying to do there.

BGSU was given a power play with 2:20 to play when Kampfer put his arm on a guy who was 3/4s of the way on the ice already. He completely just lost an edge, but hey, it's McInchak. BGSU pulled the goalie with like a minute and a half left. Sauer made a fantastic save on Kantola to preserve the victory.

According to Gametracker, the Wolverines outshot BGSU 39-19 but they needed Sauer to make every one of those saves because, yet again, they couldn't give him very much goal support (though he did get infinity % more than Hogan got at Yost yesterday). The defense was very good tonight. I think BGSU only had about 10 shots through two periods.

The defensemen really don't get the individual praise on this blog that they deserve, simply because it's tough to pick out numbers on TV when all you see is the Block M on their chests when they're playing defense. But I thought Tristin Llewellyn was a beast tonight. He made a lot of really nice plays and even got down there in the offensive zone and made a couple plays and drew a penalty.

Robbie Czarnik was flying out there again tonight. After one opportunity he came to the bench with his hands on his head. He's skating his butt off to try to turn his season around. There were a couple times tonight where I thought he was trying a little too hard to score a goal. He had one opportunity where there were two Michigan players stationed by the back post, open, and he took a harmless shot from about 50 feet out. It looks like he's gone to the Chad Kolarik method of shoot, shoot, and shoot some more, but he took a couple of really low-percentage shots tonight when there was a better play out there. He was one of the more noticeable guys out there tonight though.

Our power play was junk tonight. Even American International thought we were awful. Thankfully BGSU's wasn't any better. The teams combined for double-digit power plays and I think they had about 2 combined top-notch scoring chances. It was pretty awful.

So yeah, not pretty, but two points in the standings. The loss Friday night probably means we can forget about catching Notre Dame unless they badly falter, but I still think we're in fine position to get up into top 2 in the conference. It just sucks that we lost out on a chance to gain two points on Miami after their loss to MSU last night. It doesn't help that we've dropped games to all three of the teams tied for 10th in the conference.

The biggest thing is the status of Chris Summers. We can't afford to lose him, especially with MSU and Notre Dame looming the next two weekends.

Here's a nice story from about Mac Bennett.

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