Saturday, January 31, 2009

Michigan 2, Notre Dame 1

Alright, a quicker recap since Blogger ate the first one.

Michigan is halfway toward giving themselves a chance in the CCHA race. Behind stellar goaltending from Bryan Hogan and a couple of nice goals by our seniors, Michigan was able to end Notre Dame's 20 game unbeaten streak last night.

Hogan was at his best out of the gate when Notre Dame had several scoring chance before finally Turnbull gave the Wolverines the lead on a goal that was a thing of beauty. He broke in down the right wing, cut toward the net, got Pearce down, and lifted a gorgeous backhander up under the bar, just inside the goalpost.

Miller put the Wolverines up 2-0 on a faceoff just seconds into the second period. Neither player was able to get a stick on the puck when it was dropped and it kind of sat between the skates of the Irish player. Miller dug it out and fired one in before Pearce could react.

The Irish cut it back to one when a pass got through David Wohlberg to Kyle Lawson. He was able to stickhandle through the defense and slid a pass over to Guentzel for a tap-in.

Pearce made a couple of huge plays later in the game when he poke-checked Turnbull, who brought the puck out of the corner all alone and then poke-checked Czarnik who was in on a breakaway.

The Irish had five power plays in the game, but Hogan kept all seven shots out of the net.

Other notes:
-Michigan had some problems in their own end. They gave the puck away an awful lot. Even Summers had a couple of uncharacteristic giveaways. Gotta be better in our own end tonight.
-I had the biggest WTF? moment that I've had in a long time when CBS College Sports put up a graphic showing Billy Sauer as the starting goalie and the announcers went with it. I had a text message to my buddy all typed out which said, "I just started watching on the DVR. Why the hell is Sauer play?" before the announcers corrected themselves. They said he was slated to start before Michigan pulled a late change. I don't think I buy that one, though maybe it was accurate, I dunno. Later, they put up a graphic showing Matt Rush as one of the keys to the game. Not a good night for the graphics department.
-Our PK owns.
-This win pulls Michigan within 6 points of the Irish. Even with another win tonight we'd still be facing an uphill battle, but it would be nice to put a little more pressure on Notre Dame. And it would be nice to have the Irish be 0-4 against the other top teams in the conference. We now sit in fourth place, two back of Alaska (still with four games in hand, so I'm not worried about catching them). We pulled two points ahead of OSU and Omaha.
-Llewellyn had a beautiful hipcheck early in the game. I think it was against Condra, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Win tonight at Yost, and things get reallllllly interesting.


Anonymous said...

I kind of disagree with your take on the game. I thought this was the best team defense I've seen from a Michigan team in the last 3 years (since I have been watching UM hockey, that is). They did not allow ND time or space in the offensive zone. That's unusual. I don't remember any odd-man rushes for ND either.

I thought Michigan had more "Grade A" scoring chances than ND too. ND let guys get wide open in front of their goalie a few times, and Pearce made some good big saves. I thought Michigan's puck support was good in both ends of the ice. The few defensive breakdowns they did have were only momentary lapses that they corrected by having guys in good position in the D zone. That's why they didn't get burned by the O-zone turnovers.

I do remember a few rebounds in the first period that bounced right over ND sticks, so maybe they did leave some guys open in the D zone and just didn't get burned by it. I'd have to watch it again, but my initial impression was, "Where did this team defense come from?" They took care of business and didn't rely on their goalie to bail them out. That bodes well for a playoff run. If they play like that consistently, they can hang with any team out there and rely on their dynamic forwards to make big plays. It's a winning recipe (see BC last year).

Anonymous said...

The seniors are really starting to pick up their play. I've been impressed with Miller, Turnbull and Fardig, lately. Apparently, the light has never clicked on for Narrauto (and, thus far in his career, Winnett). If Mitera can come back and play at a high level (which I do not think is a given considering his injury and his length away from the ice) we have a serious chance to make a deep run at the NCAA's.

Eric said...

CBS was awful. At one point they had a Travis Turnbull nameplate up for a ND player, and the cameraman couldn't seem to keep his camera on the puck.

pz said...

i'll agree STRONGLY with the last post. The puck seemed to have some sort of magic powers to stay out of the camera's view - especially on a few shots ... you GOTTA keep the goal in view when there is a shot!!