Sunday, February 01, 2009

Notre Dame 3*, Michigan 2*

I signed for a condo yesterday. If any of you are looking for any housewarming gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Brian Aaron and John Philo, the refs, brought right here. With big ribbons on their heads. And I want to look them straight in the eyes and I want to tell them what cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sacks of monkey shit they are. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?

What. The hell. Was that?

I freely admit that I bitch about the officiating a lot. But I try my hardest to at least be somewhat balanced. If the officiating sucks and we win, I'll complain as much as I do when it sucks and we lose. If it sucks both ways (see the game at Munn earlier in the year), I'll call them out. I'll even freely admit it when we get a huge break on a call (though I'll admit my blue-colored glasses sometimes cloud my judgement on those). Usually it's not the main focus of my post. Usually you don't have two calls that incorrectly award/disallow goals. Sadly, tonight we did.

Early in the third period, I actually praised the officiating in my notes. Yes, the Maday goal was inexcusably allowed. But aside from that (and a missed hit from behind yesterday) I thought they were doing a good job. And hell, one screwed up goal in a weekend? That's not so bad for the CCHA, all things considered. At least they were letting two great hockey teams play hockey, and not turning it into a special teams battle like so many other guys just have to do. Even with the disaster this game turned out to be, I do appreciate that the teams were allowed to play.

And yet I concluded the night by having a slightly more profane reaction than the one above.

For those of you who didn't have the privilege of watching the CCHA officials ruin yet another series, a recap:

In the first period, Tim Miller has a horrible giveaway. The puck goes onto the stick of Ridderwall who makes a very nice feed to Maday. Maday kicks the puck into the net. Four officials looked at it, several with unobstructed views. Four officials thought to themselves, "Yeah, that was a good goal." Travis Turnbull, who was out by the blueline, looking through a screen, immediately started signaling that the puck was kicked in. But the refs had already called it a good goal, so the replay had to be conclusive to overturn it. No problem. There are 4 camera angles showing the guy kicking it in at best, directing it in (still illegal) at worst. But, oh wait, he was by the faceoff circle when he kicked it in. The asinine replay rules only allow for the overhead camera to be shown to the official, because God-forbid we use everything at our disposal to, ya know, make sure the calls are right. So Brian Aaron went into the penalty box and was shown a lovely shot of the puck going in the net, with no indication as to how it got there, because they weren't in the frame. Goal.

Notre Dame goes up 3-0. Michigan mounts a comeback and gets it to 3-2. With like 30 seconds left, there's a goalmouth scramble. The puck sneaks out to the side of Jordan Pearce and Steve Kampfer bangs it in. Tie game. Not so fast, my friend. They go to the review and rule that the net was off the moorings. It wasn't. I assumed the ruling was that the whistle had blown. And if it had, I'm pissed off and I'm asking how John Philo lost sight of the puck when he was standing all of two feet away from it, but it's at least understandable. Brian Aaron blew at least 3 plays dead prematurely tonight. It happens. But don't make shit up. Your official was standing right there. He didn't blow the play dead for the net being off. No replay shows the net being off. The overhead cam sure as shit didn't show the net being off. To make matters even better, Alton pointed out at MGoBlog that Brian Aaron appears to have been the official that blew the play dead. Not the guy who was standing right over the puck. The guy out by the blueline. (Note that Aaron was the one who went into the replay "booth" to review it.) Good thing we've got two refs. That really makes the game better, right? No goal. Notre Dame wins, and we're all but eliminated from contention for the CCHA title.

This is what happens when you hire stupid people. Steve Piotrowski. Please listen to me and listen to me good. You need to put the skates back on. It needs to happen. We watched Brian Hill butcher the series with Miami down in Oxford, we watched Sergott and Hall lose control of the MSU series and play a role in Kampfer getting attacked, McInchak and Aaron were laughable in the first series with MSU (remember how much of a joke that game at Munn was?), now you've got a crucial series between two of the best teams the conference has to offer and Brian Aaron is the best official you can come up with? Are you kidding me? If he's the best guy around, Steve, you're doing the conference a disservice by not being out there. I may not have always been in love with the games you'd call, but I never would worry that a series or a game would get butchered like this one did, or that the game would get completely out of hand like the MSU game last week. You're 100 times better for the conference being on the ice rather than in a suit. Get it done. Or at least find some officials that aren't complete numskulls.

Not a whole lot of exciting stuff in the first period. Wohlberg and Lebler both got poke-checked by Pearce on rushes. They should file it away that he really likes doing that. That was at least 4 this weekend.

Hogan made a few nice stops, including a couple on Condra--one when Condra absolutely walked Burlon.

Notre Dame went up 2-0 on a penalty shot goal by Thang. He got behind Kampfer, ND hit on the pass, and Kampfer had to grab him. On the shot, Thang made a beautiful shot fake, Hogan thought about going for the poke-check but never fully committed to it, and Thang was able to go top shelf.

Not too much later it was 3-0. That was a gorgeous feed from Deeth to Ridderwall, who is becoming a real dagger in our side.

Summers had a fantastic defensive play to prevent a scoring chance late in the period. A pass got through Langlais's legs, but Summers got back, dove, and swept the puck away without taking out Hanson's legs and committing a penalty.

At the end of 2, we were down 3-0 but outshooting them 24-19.

The third was all Michigan. At one point late, we were outshooting them 10-3 and had a 9-1 lead in scoring chances.

Michigan made it 3-1 off a possession created by an offensive zone faceoff win. Lebler caused some havoc in front, and prevented Pearce from covering the puck. Palushaj dug it out and shot it in.

Robbie Czarnik finally got on the board again with a pretty power play goal. He fed it to Palushaj and shot down the wing. Palushaj put a perfect pass back to Czarnik, who buried it as he was falling down. It was hard to tell if the team was more excited to be back in the game, or more excited that Czarnik scored. They were going bonkers after that one.

Palushaj darn near set up another goal. He brought it into the zone 3 on 2. The defenseman on the left initially went with Hagelin but Palushaj carried it in far enough that he had to commit to Palushaj. When he did, Palushaj fed Hagelin who looked cross-crease for Rust, but the pass didn't connect.

We then got offsetting penalties because Rust was pushed into the goalie and Pearce took a massive dive. Makes sense to me. #1, Rust was pushed into the crease. #2, he barely touched Pearce. #3, Pearce went down like he was shot. Have some balls and just call the embellishment. You wouldn't have called Rust for that if Pearce didn't go down like a soccer player, so why call it just because the goalie flopped like a fish?

Czarnik then had a couple of great chances to tie the game. On the first one, one of ND's defensemen tied his stick up, but on the next chance, he fanned with a wide-open net. Ugh. The play came back in front and Miller had an empty net to shoot at, but he was well tied up by the defense and couldn't get a stick on it.

Michigan pulled the goalie with a minute left and appeared to score the tying goal but evidently the net was off. Or Brian Aaron is just an imbecile. I'm going with the latter.

Red wasn't mincing words after the game:
"I'm not here to discuss the officiating, but this was a big series, and obviously you want top officials here, but they were two great college hockey games. There's not much to choose between the teams. They've had a great season and to go unbeaten for 20 games is just unbelievable and that was going to come to an end. If we wanted to make a run at first place, we had to win this game tonight. "
That's ok Red, I'm perfectly fine discussing the officiating. And they were terrible. Two inexcusable calls resulting in one good goal being waived off, and one illegal goal counting.

As for Maday's goal:
The one went in off his foot, the camera couldn't see it. If it would have been reviewable, it would not have been a goal.

The other way that I could have not been called a goal would have been if there was one competent official in the entire bunch. But that might be asking a little much for the CCHA. I always used to joke that when Brian Aaron was reffing, we might as well start down a goal because he was guaranteed to waive one of ours off. He did us one better tonight.

The officials pretty much ruined what was otherwise a really good hockey game. Notre Dame is a really great defensive team. That group of blueliners they've got is just stellar. They did a nice job of keeping Michigan to the outside and allowing only low-percentage looks in the first two periods. We had a couple of chances, but by and large most of our 24 shots on net through two weren't of the high-quality variety.

Those are two pretty evenly matched hockey teams. I'm a homer, but I think we're a little bit better than them, especially if we get Mark Mitera back, as it appears we're going to. With Mitera, Kampfer, Summers, and Burlon, we're every bit as good on the blueline as them. And that doesn't even mention any of the other guys, like Langlais who has been very solid this season (though I thought he struggled tonight).

Czarnik was flying again tonight, and it was great to see him put one in. Even though he missed an empty net later in the game, that goal really could get him going. He's been putting himself in good areas, maybe now the pucks will start going in for him. I also thought Lebler did some good things in the corners tonight.

It was also nice to see the power play finally click. We were 2-3 on the night with 7 shots on goal. ND has a good penalty kill and we were able to cash in twice. It'd be huge if those units could heat up a little bit.

Another really strong night from the fourth line. Fardig was just awesome and Glendening absolutely planted Minella when he jumped to glove down a puck.

One last highlight was the hit that Pateryn laid on an Irish player behind the Michigan net which led to a pretty nice rush for the Wolverines.

I don't think this will be the last we see of the Irish this year. I could easily see two more meetings taking place. The college hockey world would be lucky to see these teams meet twice more, because those were two darn entertaining hockey games between two great teams this weekend. Hopefully if we meet in the future, the teams will actually get to decide the outcome. That's a good, good hockey team right there. If it had stayed 3-0, I would've had no problem tipping my cap to them, saying "We'll probably see ya again. Great weekend of hockey!" and moving on to LSSU. But damn...those calls overshadowed an otherwise excellent series.

I don't understand why the officials are only allowed to look at the overhead camera. I get that not every game is on TV and not every team can afford to have multiple camera angles. But is the goal to have a system that is uniformly dysfunctional or is the goal to get calls correct? Isn't getting calls correct the whole point of replay? If the technology is there, why not use it? The current system doesn't allow for the review of pucks being batted in with a high stick. It doesn't allow for review of goals when the player happened to be more than 3 feet outside the crease. There were multiple camera angles that showed Maday's goal shouldn't have counted. But the ref wasn't allowed to look at any of them. That seems really stupid to me. Use what's available. I don't care if it's not uniform.

Lastly, I know some people were saying that the commentary seemed to favor Notre Dame (I didn't notice that, but then, they were also up 3-0 for awhile, so it probably should have) but I love listening to Dan Dickerson call hockey games. I think I commented on that the last time we had him as well. He's a great play by play guy. I could definitely stand for more of him.

Next up is LSSU, who will be fresh off their sweep of FYS.

10 comments:

B Ready said...

Needless to say, we were stolen a victory away from us last night. I could have sworn I heard a premature whistle on the last "goal" for us. But, the moorings definitely did not come off their moorings. What a BS call. I am so pissed. With that, and Manny being ejected, we were screwed by the refs all weekend.

On a side note, I didn't think Dickerson favored ND, at all. He actually had two slips of the tongue, where he said, "behind home plate," instead of behind the goal, and he made some other reference to baseball inadvertently later on. Other than that, I thought he was fine.

We now have an uphill battle to get a #2 seed in the conference. I hope we come out next week in full force. This is a classic "trap" weekend, though, so I am a bit worried. Back-to-back weekends against big rivals, losing a chance to win the CCHA, and now we play a lowly team. Hopefully, the boys are ready.

Anonymous said...

Four refs and no one saw him redirect the puck into the net with his skate? I sit about as far away from the play as possible and even I could see he directed it in with his skate. Go back to the three ref system and open the game up just that much more. Put Philo back on the blue line where he belongs.
I'm still bitter about the penalty shot. I haven't seen a replay of the penalty yet, but from where I sit it appears Kampfer 1) hooked him before his shot (a penalty yes, not a penalty shot) 2) Hit him cleanly as he shot (not a penalty period). Again, haven't seen the replay, but that's just my observation.

streaker said...

Tim:

Love the Xmas Vacation rant. Classic.

I think you would get argument from ND fans that U-M's first goal in SB shouldn't have counted either, due to a penalty that wasn't called that led to the breakout. Karma sucks sometimes.

Besides, you said it best when you mentioned that it was Tim Miller's horrible giveaway that started that whole mess. It has been OUR PROBLEM all season.

I say we blame Paula Weston for the officiating. Afterall, it is the only thing she hasn't blamed on Yost in all the time she has written her tabloid reporting.

Frankly, I don't know why they reviewed the waived off goal if they knew that they had stopped the play. I am sure Red is letting the league office have it.

Onward to the next series. LSSU won't be easy and this has emotion-less team effort warning written all over it.

Packer487 said...

@BReady: I thought I heard a whistle on that "goal" as well, but then I was confused when I saw the replay because it didn't look like Philo blew it dead. I swear they made up that BS about the net being off because Aaron didn't want to admit he blew a play dead from center ice when the puck was loose. That guy is an absolute train wreck.

@Anon: I thought the penalty shot was a good call. The guy had a breakaway and Kampfer slashed him and then grabbed him. I knew the second they whistled it that they were going to center ice. I wasn't mad that they did.

@Streaker: I read that argument at USCHO last night and honestly, I don't remember the trip on Condra. I never noticed it. I'd have no problem admitting it if I saw it and there should have been a penalty.

But I also do think there's a major difference between missing a call on a penalty (which happens many times throughout the course of the game--even with great officials), and making a call that directly awards a goal that shouldn't have counted (or making a call that directly disallows a goal that should have counted).

Jeff said...

Blame the thundersticks. I hate those things.

I stand in section 14 which is in the student section which is at the opposite end of the away goal in the 1st and 3rd periods and I heard the whistle blow before the goal light went on for that 3rd (no)goal.

The refs were super quick with the whistles all night. In the second period one of the refs blew the whistle instantly for almost as soon as the puck hit him. Hogan never had possession of the puck. The ref was on the opposite side of the net so even if Hogan had had the puck there is no way for that ref to know from where he was on the ice.

It's like these guys anticipate the puck being dead so they blow the whistle as fast as possible before having any sort of eye contact with the situation at all. This loss life tilts the hell out of me.

Jeff said...

Jeff,

There was another one in the third period where Michigan dumped it in from the neutral zone. Pearce scooped it up and went to drop it to one of his players on the side of the net, but the ref blew it dead before he could get it out of his glove. Pearce had some words with whichever suck-ass ref that was.

Outside of the officiating, this was a great game. I'd like to see ND again at the Joe.

Jason said...

Accurate account of what happened according to UND.com:
"...Maday had the puck bounce off his skate and got his stick on it to push it past Hogan..."

In my opinion I don't think Maday's stick ever touched the puck...

Maday was clearly trying to catch the puck at his skates and kick it up to his stick to finish - if he didn't intend on kicking it forward his skate would never have been squared up to catch the puck it would have hit the heal of his skate and not his inside edge. While he didn't mean to direct the puck into the goal, he did mean to kick it...

Packer487 said...

I don't think you need to qualify that by saying "In my opinion", Joe. :-)

There's no friggin' way he got a stick on that.

BTW, note the very different description of the goal on MGoBlue.com

"Ridderwall backhanded the puck to his teammate Billy Maday, who was positioned in the left circle, and he kicked the puck past Bryan Hogan's stick side for the go-ahead tally."

Notre Dame's goal description is where the print media can come in handy. There'd be no way someone could say it with a straight face that he got a stick on the puck.

streaker said...

Tim:

If you have Spath's follow up on this issue tomorrow from his blog, please post some clips. I don't pay the gold fees to read it.

Peter said...

Check out the WOLV Overtime blog for a great view of Notre Dame's kicked in goal
http://wolvot.blogspot.com/2009/02/notre-dames-kicked-in-goal.html