Sunday, January 24, 2010

Michigan 2, FSU 0 - FSU 3, Michigan 2

Well if that wasn't a microcosm of the season, I don't know what was.

Friday night was a dominant performance by the Maize and Blue, showing the talent level of this team and performing the way that was expected coming into the season.

Saturday was a throwback to the first half of the season: Dumb penalties, turnovers, missed opportunities, shaky goaltending...

First, Friday night:
Friday's game was a stellar performance. The defense was great pretty much all night. Hogan didn't have to stand on his head, but was very solid all night (including a great save off a Michigan turnover in the second period) and he didn't have any "avert your eyes" moments, which is a win. Luke freaking Glendening had a pair of goals--both great wristers up over Pat Nagle's glove.

I thought Kampfer was really solid all game. He had a couple of beautiful pass break-ups, including one very early on in the game that probably saved a goal.

Ben Winnett had a lot of jump out there. That was more than I've noticed him in a long time. I kind of like the lines we're putting out there.

A couple of weeks ago, I lamented the fact that I hadn't seen us use anyone in the Tomas Holmstrom role on the power play. At least on one occasion, Chris Brown went right to the net and parked himself there as Kampfer got a shot through. I'd like to see more of that. Brown is a big boy and he's hard to move.

I thought David Wohlberg looked pretty good all weekend as well. Hopefully he's getting healthy and will be back to playing the way he did last year. That would be a big boost.

The key to the game was when Michigan killed off a two-minute 5-on-3 chance for the Bulldogs. That kill was a thing of beauty. Lynch brought it into the FSU zone, had nothing, and passed it back to a defenseman down in the Michigan end to kill some time. Hagelin had the puck in his own zone with no FSU pressure so he took a lap around the zone before icing it. Hagelin also would've sprung Rust on a possible breakaway but Rust got hauled down. You don't have to ask if they called it.

Michigan's first goal was set up by some tic-tac-toe passing. Wohlberg brought the puck down the middle of the ice and slid it to Caporusso on the left-wing. Cappy found Glendening streaking down the right side and Luke uncorked a wrister up over Nagle's glove.

Not even five minutes later, the Wolverines took a shot that was blocked. The carom came right to Glendening who had almost a carbon-copy of his previous shot into the net.

Ferris nearly got back within one on what looked to be a nothing play. Their guy chipped a puck up over a diving Chad Langlais and found a teammate breaking in. Hogan went for the poke-check, which forced a shot. It rang off the bar and Michigan maintained their two goal lead.

Langlais then had his chance from about 40 feet out. He beat Nagle cleanly but also caught iron.

Actually not all that much happened in the third period. Glendening had a chance for the hat trick when Nagle was on the bench for the extra man, but his shot was blocked by a defenseman. "Bet-ter Goal-ie" was the chant from the crowd. Niiiice.

Then came Saturday (an abbreviated recap since Blogger ate my first one...awesome):
Nothing much happened out of the gate, until Ferris put a harmless looking wrist shot on net from about 60 feet out that somehow beat Hogan far side. That goal might have been worse than the one he gave up against Air Force. Not the type of goal you want to give up to a team that had shown no semblance of an offense the entire weekend thusfar.

The teams swapped a bunch of power plays and nothing much came of any of them, save for one shot that a guy missed on where Hogan would have had about a 2% chance of stopping it.

There was an amusing sequence of events early in the second period for those of us watching on TV:
-Ferris shot wide by a couple of feet but the goal judge turned the light on. The horn sounded in the arena as well.
-Matt Shepard, the play-by-play man, cracked a couple of good-natured jokes at the goal judge's expense and they zoomed in on the goal judge sitting in his box of shame.
-Not two minutes later, the Wolverines broke in and Wohlberg hit the post. Shepard yelled "SCOOOOOOORES!!!!" and after an awkward silence said, "They're going to have to review that one."
-After a commercial break, they showed the replay which clearly showed the puck not going in. Shepard cracked, "Alright, I'll call myself out for that one."
Pretty great moment in karma right there, but not as great as this old classic:

A few minutes later, however, Wohlberg actually did score. On a power play, Treais's cross-crease pass got partially broken up, but it had enough steam to get to Wohlberg and he lifted it up over Nagle.

Kampfer then broke in and Hagelin hit him with a pass. Billins got back to tie up Kampfer or he would have had an easy tap in. Instead, the puck glanced off the post.

Hogan made a couple of huge saves in the second period. One was a stop on Alexander after he broke in around Burlon. He had a couple of biggies on a flurry at the end of the period as well.

Matt Case scored a gorgeous goal to put Ferris up 2-1. Ben Winnett was going to take possession off a defensive-zone faceoff, but got hauled down. The puck slid out to the point. Winnett recovered to get out on Case, but Case absolutely walked him with a beautiful move. He stepped into the slot and fired one past a screened Hogan. Hogan wanted a goalie interference call. I didn't have a problem with the goal standing, but it was absolutely absurd that there was no trip call on the faceoff when Winnett got taken down. The refs called everything last night and to miss a call like that? Good ole McInchak.

Summers started the third period by absolutely CRANKING a Bulldog who had his head down. Michigan then came in and I'm really not sure how Chris Brown missed.

Brandon Burlon made a beautiful play to break up a Ferris 2-on-1. He baited the guy into passing the puck and then knocked the pass away. Can't play it any better than that.

After a second crease violation in thirty seconds on Ferris, the rink mic caught a fan yelling "You're TERRIBLE!" at one of the referees. They showed a replay and the guy never went near the crease. He skated by Hogan, who threw a shoulder into him, and the ref blew it dead. Classic.

Zach Redmond put one off the bar and then Michigan came down on a 2 on 1, and Nagle made a nice play.

Michigan then tied the game at 2 after a Redmond penalty. Wohlberg fed Lebler in the slot and Lebler tipped a puck (GORGEOUS tip) by Nagle.

True to form, McInchak called a penalty on us not 15 seconds later, with under 1:30 to go in the game. Kampfer stood up his man who was rushing the puck, the ref looking right at it let it go, but DickInchak (out at center ice) blew it dead.

With about thirty seconds left, Summers had a horrifically bad turnover when trying to break the puck out and Michigan was never able to clear again. Ferris centered one for Redmond and he put a shot through Hogan's 5-hole from the high slot. Ugh. Don't get beat 5-hole after we just tied the game, please.

That did it, and Michigan fell 3-2.

Other thoughts:
STOP DOING THAT!It seems like Michigan has had a penchant for taking penalties when they are on the power play. It happened three times last night. If you're a 20% power play and you lose 1:51, 1:29 and 1:28 in power play time, there's a pretty decent chance that you're costing yourself a goal. I'm not doing the math, but it seems like it must be upwards of a 50% chance that you're taking a goal off the scoreboard by not playing disciplined hockey.

JMFJ vs. Lombardi:By now you've probably heard about Dean Lombardi's comments about Jack Johnson and Red Berenson, but in case you haven't, Lombardi was giving an interview about JMFJ and made the following comments about Jack and the Michigan program:
"Michigan is the worst."
"Red Berenson doesn't coach."
"[Jack] was an awful hockey player."
That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's worth reading.

As expected, Red didn't comment and laughed off the question. Jack, on the other hand? You had to know he wasn't happy. He fired back at his GM, citing the fact that Michigan has put more guys into the NHL than any other school and defending his former head coach. My favorite quote:
For my general manager to rip me as a person and criticize me as a person and as a player and call me an awful hockey player is irresponsible and unprofessional.
Kill Jack, Kill! God I love that kid.

Lombardi has since tried to say that the quotes were taken out of context and were meant as background and not meant to be published. He ripped the blogger for posting it. The funny thing is that whether or not the quotes were meant to be published, he said them. And either way it means he's got a completely ignorant opinion of one of the great coaches--and great men--in the history of hockey. And he possibly alienated one of his up and coming stars.

Johnson was asked if Lombardi's quotes damaged his relationship with the GM. Johnson responded, "I don't know", which probably means yes.

Kids Doing Stupid Things...errr Allegedly:At the start of the season, Michigan had 5 players committed from the NTDP. Jack Campbell de-committed, taking the total to 4. Now Jacob Fallon has left the team after an alleged sexual harassment incident at his high school. Two other future Wolverines--Jon Merrill and Kevin Clare--are suspended until the end of the month.

There was speculation that Fallon would join the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, killing his college eligibility, but he has joined the Indiana Ice of the USHL so he's still eligible to come to Michigan.

Skate at Camp Randall:
If you'll be arriving in Madison early for the Camp Randall Hockey Classic, there is an open skate at the outdoor rink on Friday night. There will be four 30-minute sessions, at 7:00, 7:30, 8:30, and 9:00. It's free, but you have to have a ticket to get in. Those tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 8:30 CST. There's a max of four per person. Note that there is no skate rental available.

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