Saturday, March 21, 2009

CCHA Semis: Michigan 3, Alaska 1

Not exactly the most thrilling hockey game I've ever witnessed, but a workmanlike performance against a feisty Alaska team.

I missed most of the first period because I didn't get home from my hockey game in time to catch the start. I got back right when the Wolverines started a five minute long power play for a hit from behind.

Timmy Miller, who just loves playing at the Joe, found Chad Langlais sneaking in the backdoor. Langlais had an empty net and the Wolverines were up 1-0. That's actually Chad's sixth goal of the season. Pretty nice for a defenseman, especially one who didn't score all of last year.

Palushaj had a sick little spin-o-rama pass, but Johnson got over to make a stop and the first period ended with the Wolverines up 1-0.

Alaska started the second period on a power play due to Turnbull hitting the goalie right at the end of the period. We killed it off without any trouble and the first thing I jotted down in the second period came 6 1/2 minutes in. Lebler had a really strong move out of the corner but Johnson made the stop. Lebler got it back and had an opening to shoot at, but the defenseman blocked it. He had a third try right after that, and Johnson stopped him again.

Kampfer then had his second grade-A chance of the night (the first was an easy-tap in that he Tikkannened). He was streaking down the wing, put one on net that got through the five-hole, but Johnson was able to get it just before it crossed the goal line. Kampfer raised his arms for the second time tonight.

Scooter then had an empty net and the puck hopped over his stick. He actually looked pretty good up front. Did some really nice work in the corner earlier in the game.

Lebler went off for a slash and the Nanooks were able to get on the board thanks to a gorgeous tip by Walls. He was tied up pretty well, but he somehow got a stick on it and it beat Hogan.

Hogan then made the save of the game off a terrible turnover by Summers. He stopped the initial shot, the rebound went right onto the stick of Petovello. He had nothing but empty net, but Hogan dove to his left and somehow got a glove on it. That was a fantastic stop to keep the game tied.

Good thing, because the Wolverines came down and took the lead for good. Steve Kampfer, who must have taken his JMFJ pills before the game, came streaking down the wing yet again. This time he threw a pass into the slot right onto the tape of Caporusso, who one-timed it up into the top corner.

For the first 16 1/2 minutes of the third, here is what I have written down word for word:
-Mitera strong one-on-one play to knock the puck away from a rushing Nanook.
-Turnbull off for roughing. He clipped the guy with an elbow to the back of the head.
-We kill it off without too much trouble.

Hagelin and Rust then nearly connected on a 2 on 1 with 3 1/2 minutes left to play. Caporusso had a really nice stick-lift by the Alaska blueline. He stole the puck and looked to break in with Palushaj, but Aaron was a step offside.

Sova got called for a hit from behind with about 2 1/2 minutes left. Just a dumb play in a one-goal game. And inexplicably, the Nanooks pulled their goalie. I like the fact that Ferguson was playing! To win! The game! but that was probably a little early, especially since it just got them back to five on five. I don't know how many times throughout the course of the game that Alaska held Michigan off the shot board for 2 minutes at even strength, but I bet it didn't happen too often. And predictably, an Alaska defenseman fanned on the puck, Caporusso stole it, fed Palushaj and he put it into the empty net.

Alaska didn't go away. Turnbull took yet another penalty and Hogan kept the Nanooks from making it interesting. He got out to the top of his crease to make a very nice stop on D. Knelsen, who was wide open from about 15 feet. Right after that he made another nice stop. Time ran out and the Wolverines advance to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish tomorrow night.

The bubble teams in the NCAA get a little reprieve with BC, NMU, and UA losing. The big downer for them was UMass-Lowell beating Northeastern to earn the right to play BU for the Hockey East autobid.

Without spending too much time on the PWR predictor, it looks like we're probably going to be the #4 seed, and if Yale wins it looks like they're going to be the #5, yes please. Apparently it's bad for Minnesota if Alaska wins tomorrow, so root for them against Northern. It also looks like it would jack them up pretty good if Wisconsin beat NoDak, and if Air Force and St. Lawrence win. Edit, actually if Princeton wins they're in. If St. Lawrence wins, Princeton is out and St. Lawrence probably gets in. So I guess Princeton would be the team to root for then. Jason Moy has a good article about today's possibilities. Basically if Princeton and UML win, the field is set.

Two more days until we find out our draw. In the meantime, we get a fairly meaningless in the grand scheme, but sure-to-be entertaining tilt between the Wolverines and Fighting Irish. 1 vs. 3 and I'm sure the Wolverines are out to make a statement that despite what the PWR says, we should be the ones rewarded with a trip to Grand Rapids. A win certainly couldn't hurt. It'd be nice to serve notice heading into the tournament that Michigan is the team to beat.

Hobey Watch: Louie Caporusso had a goal and two assists tonight. Colin Wilson had the third of three BU goals in a 43 second span in the third period, and that one ultimately ended up being the game-winner against BC. Muse made one save in the third period. Oops. Gilroy had no points. Air Force won 3-0 but Lamoureux didn't do anything on the score sheet. Wisconsin is out of the tournament, so you can scratch McBain off the list. Zane Kalemba gave up 4 in a double OT loss. Brad Thiessen made 41 saves, but lost 3-2 in OT. Chad Johnson was eliminated, and I can't imagine he's winning the Hobey with a sub-.500 record, even though he's been great for Alaska. Colgate and Vermont didn't play.

The effort tonight pulls Caporusso up to 6th in the country in scoring, just one point behind Wilson and two behind Lamoureux. He's one goal behind Brock Bradford for second in the country and sits second amongst Hobey Finalists in goals. And he's tops amongst Hobey Finalists who haven't gotten a ten-minute misconduct. Don't forget Hobey voters, Lamoureux has one. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As I said before, we need to NOT be in Minneapolis. This regional is going to be a killer. I don't care if they're a 4 seed, beating the Gophers in their home rink is tough. Let NoDak or Denver or someone else do it. I'll take my chances playing Yale and Northeastern. If that means losing the ND, then we should lose to ND. CCHA titles are nice. NCAA titles are better. Just my $0.02.