Sunday, March 28, 2010

Michigan 3, Miami 2...errrrr....Miami 3, Michigan 2

Before I get into the fact that, yup, it happened again, I have one image running through my head over and over. It's a scene from Mystery, Alaska--for my money, the greatest sports movie ever. After a crushing defeat in which the team from Mystery put a shot off the post in the waning seconds and the Rangers scored one goal thanks to a BS no-call, the silence is broken by Burt Reynolds--the coach of the team--clapping. One by one, the heartbroken fans stand up and slowly clap along with him, until the crowd is cheering so loudly you would think the team had won.

So Michigan Wolverines:


(The clip I'm thinking of is at the thirteen second mark.)

So yeah, it happened again.

Michigan has been plagued for at least a couple of seasons by replays gone wrong, quick whistles when the puck is loose, slow whistles when it's not, pucks kicked in, and it happened again.

In the first overtime session, Carl Hagelin wrapped the puck around the net. Connor Knapp spun in a circle because he had no idea where it was. Kevin Lynch got to the loose puck and slammed it into the n........TWEEEEEEEET! Roughly a tenth of a second before Lynch put the puck into the goal, the whistle sounded. Play's dead. No goal. What made it even more agonizing was the fact that on Miami's second goal, the puck sat underneath Hunwick's pad for at least a second before Cannone chipped it out from under him into the net. The ref darn near touched his toes in an effort to see the puck. Not this time. TWEEEET! Maybe he was tired too.

Michigan continued to dominate the first overtime, outshooting the RedHawks something like 20-6 and outscoring them 1-0. Usually that's enough in sudden death overtime, but tonight it apparently wasn't. Anyone who has watched playoff hockey for any amount of time knew how this one would end. When one team dominates an overtime session and doesn't score, they typically don't win.

Sure enough, just a couple of minutes into overtime, someone named Alden Hirschfeld corralled a loose puck and slipped it past Hunwick for the game winner.

It was the type of game that we've seen so many times before. Outshoot the other team badly, have a goal waived off for no reason other than sheer incompetence, lose in the most heartbreaking way possible.

That said, this one doesn't feel as bad as some of the others (e.g. 2003 Frozen Four in Buffalo). Part because I had all but said goodbye to this season three months ago. Part because we were playing with the house's money just to make the tournament. And part because it was just so goddamn predictable that we were going to lose after the goal was waived off.

It was an amazing effort out of these Wolverines, however. David Wohlberg had a great individual effort for our first goal--to answer Miami's power play tally very quickly. He was a man possessed in the early part of this game. In addition to his goal, he had 2 or 3 breakaways that he just couldn't convert. He also made one of the defensive plays of the season in one of the overtime sessions, though at this point I couldn't tell you what it was if my life depended on it. Just that it was really darn good.

Carl Hagelin seemed like the only player on either team with any jump in his step as the overtime dragged on, and he darn near won the game on three or four different occasions. Matt Rust rang one off the crossbar in the first overtime. Shawn Hunwick made several incredible stops to save our season. Chad Langlais and Louie Caporusso each had huge blocks in the extra session.

Rust, Hagelin, and Lynch combined for 21 shots in the game.

You've got to give credit to Connor Knapp, who was stellar between the pipes for Miami. He stopped 55 of Michigan's 58....err...57 shots, many of which were at point blank range. He stopped 20 shots in the first overtime alone.

In the end, Michigan had plenty of chances to put this one away and just couldn't quite put that third puck past Knapp. They had two uninspired power plays at the end of regulation and during the first overtime (that was our consolation prize for the game-winning goal being waived off....a power play).

That being said, it was a phenomenal effort and it was really enjoyable to watch this team come together through the stretch run. They realized how to "play the right way" (to use a Larry Brown term) and they just may have found themselves a goalie in the process.

Had we won tonight, this is the section where I would be blasting the hell out of those incompetent boobs that were officiating the game. Having lost, it would sound like sour grapes, so I'm not going to complain about much else other than the fact that I really wish they had called a penalty when Hagelin was hauled down right in front of the ref about 20 seconds before Miami scored their second goal. With the way they were calling the second period, you have to make that call. There are a lot more things to complain about, but...whatever.

I will say this. If you're an official, there's only three things that I ask: 1) Call it both ways. 2) Don't decide the game. 3) Don't lose control of the game and let Andrew Conboy assault somebody. This pair massively failed on two of those three requests.

It wasn't a great season. But the last month sure was one heckuva ride. They came up a little bit short, but it was completely unexpected that they ended up making it as far as they did. In January, I can't say I would have complained if you told me we'd be in double OT with a shot to go to the Frozen Four on the line--or that we'd have a chance to get screwed on yet another quick whistle with a regional championship on the line.

Thank you, Shawn Hunwick.

23 comments:

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Sucks that the refs ruined the game like that, but it's crazy to think that the team we watched flounder again and again just one month ago essentially made it to the Frozen Four.

Thanks to everyone on the team, you guys rock!

Anonymous said...

what complete bullshit. the puck was never covered, never. it slid under knapp, he had no clue (as you said) where it was, and obviously the ref had no clue either. the puck was loose the entire time :[

Brent said...

The only way I've been justifying that "quick whistle"...is that it resulted from a delayed penalty call when Hagelin was high-sticked behind the goal before he could get his shot off. If the ref believed Hagelin's shot had been sufficiently "possessed" by a MOFO player...Knapp, in this case (and those delayed penalty/possession whistles have been blown with far less "possession" established...even in this same game, in fact)...then it actually made sense to blow the whistle as soon as Knapp stopped Hagelin's shot. As it turned out, the whistle was blown a second or so afterward, which is still a poor effort by the ref because it's giving us all a fair amount of righteous indignation to energize ourselves over this morning.

As you say, Michigan's chances of even getting this far would've gotten no odds at this time a month ago...and we've got another CCHA banner raised at Joe Louis in the bargain, so that's well and good.

But...JUST ONCE I want to be on the winning side of one of these epic games. The loss last night, the semifinal loss to the Catholic School a couple of years ago, the loss in Buffalo to the Goophers in 2003, the multi-OT loss to Maine back in the '90's...to say nothing of all the big games the football team's puked away dring my lifetime.

JUST ONCE I want Michigan to be the team that breaks the hearts of a fanbase instead of giving them another chapter of glory in their history.

This sucks. Again.

Key to the Midway said...

Happened in lansing earlier this year. Me and the rest of the bar in kzoo (actually a ton of michigan fans there) jumped out of there booths in joy only to be wrecked my a absolutely horrible call. From what im hearing, it was a penalty call that caused the ref to blow the whistle so quickly. You know when he watched the replay he knew he robbed us a gamewinner. Rules are rules, i knew it as soon as they reviewed it there was no way were getting that goal on a blown whistle. You just knew we were going down after the call...

jefegold said...

I'm with you Brent. I'm tired of these blown games and blown calls, then being called whiners by non-UM fans.

Since the phantom TD and the missed 30 yd field goals by Mike Gillette against ND in the 80's, it's been insanely frustrating. The football team once could drop a last second win over MSU and PSU, but that's it.

Our tremendous hockey team has been more victim than the football team. They poured everything they had into the end of this season, and I had hoped we could ride it all the way. If Sparty could do it a few years ago, why not UM?

I'm very proud of these kids. Good luck next season. GO BLUE!

Graham said...

the ref at the miami end in the third and the ot's was blowing the whistle faster then anyone had before. knapp made a glove save on kampfer on our pp and the whistle blew with no one even close and knapp trying to drop the puck. the one time he doesnt blow the quick whislte and its a miami goal. every ref in college hockey needs to be retaught the rules. i dont get how the same blantent penalty is 2 mins for us and not for another team. i know it happens both ways but it just seems to happen to us more. wisco was on the pp for almost an entire period against st cloud in their regional final. im smelling NBA type conspiracy in college hockey.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the whistle was blown too early, but let us not fool ourselves. Michigan received several no calls on penalties they committed. Not to mention the phantom hand pass when Miami was buzzing around the net in the third.

Anonymous said...

maybe next season the hockey gods will shine on the wolverines and the buttfucking from the officials will cease. hate to see the improbable run end like that.

Anonymous said...

Um hand passes are fine in the defensive end... And calls were missed on both sides

thanks for playing anon!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:28,
That was my point. Calls were missed on both sides. That is something that is lost on most of these posters. Also, I know hand passes are allowed in the defensive zone. I was speaking of the one whistled against Miami in the Michigan end. The Miami player gloved it down, then either he touched it, or the Michigan player touched it, thereby negating the hand pass, before it was touched by the Miami player in front of the net.

Kurt said...

Just so I understand anon, you are comparing an arguable hand pass call (where you cannot even distinguish who touched the puck first) with the dis-allowance of a game-winning goal in OT (when the official was in a terrible position to make the call)? I think we all understand that Miami was not the beneficiary of EVERY call in the game, but aside from the goal controversies, I don't think you can say that UM got the benefit of the calls. Then to have Miami's second goal result from a slow whistle (that's OK but then they better allow poking at the goalies the rest of the game) I think equals officiating FAIL.

Anonymous said...

I am a lifelong Michigan fan attending Miami now, and there were crappy calls on both sides. It was a really good game though and both sides put up an excellent fight.

I have to say though, hockey is the only sport Miami is good at. Literally. Nothing else brings us happiness. It's all we're known for. We're a school in the middle of miles of farmland. It's a wonder anything comes out of here.

But, both teams played an excellent game and either deserved to go to the Frozen Four after playing so well.

Andrew said...

They especially both deserve it compared to BC's 7 friggin goals allowed to Yale.

Anonymous said...

Well to all who rode that wild rollercoaster ride this year. It is going to be a very long off season. First I would like to thank Shawn Hunwick for giving us hope when things looked to be down and out. Second Dont comment on bad no calls when Miami had every call go there way ( the boarding of summers, taking out our goalie(in a year when we looked at a goalie wrong and got a penalty.) third and most important get a coach that isn't named after a one hit wonder of the 80 Rico "Suave" blasi). Finally to all the underclassmen don't go out like that come back and show them who's the king of the mountain.

p.s. hey hoggie dont look now but you might get Billy Sauer'd

Key to the Midway said...

The real question is Miami fan.....was that a good call in your eyes all fanship aside? There are missed calls in every game, but sudden death overtime in the ncaa tournament is pretty important. I cant even imagine how you would feel today after that call. You won the game, so of course your fine to shove aside the bad call, but in all seriousness Michigan should be playing BC and you know that. The ref should have never blown that play dead, if he were in the position the referee was for your second goal, we wouldnt be having this conversation at all. Were not calling you out for being a Miami Fan, Im calling you out because its rational, your team is extremely lucky to be playing in the frozen four. That was a missed call, and Michigan won that game fairly on the ice in that moment. The refs blew that call and you know it. Doesnt mean Miamis not a good team, or they didnt win the game fairly....they didnt screw us, the ref did.

Its that simple...

Oxtrox said...

I agree, the whistle should not have been blown, and it should have been a goal. That said, the refs are supposed to blow the whistle if they lose sight of the puck and that's exactly what happened. This happens A LOT in all levels of hockey.

Then there's the delayed penalty being called as well.

This gives the refs TWO reasons to blow the whistle.

Miami and Michigan fans will never agree on this one. Never.

On a side note, there were some Michigan fans sitting behind us at Miami's game against Alabama saying "The only reason Alabama is even here is because they won their league tournament". Umm, that would be the same reason Michigan made it, moron!

Anonymous said...

Just heard Mark Olver left Northern and signed with Colorado. Should be playing with Lake Erie soon enough. One ccha hobey candidate down for Hagelin and Caporusso.

streaker said...

Oxtrox:

We won't agree because of this:

1) your 2nd goal was based on the benefit of the official being positioned correctly and allowing the play to continue after Hunwick had secured the puck under his pad. It took Cannone two pitchforks at it to jar it loose before he got cleared out of the crease.

2) The official was so intent on calling the penalty that he moved himself out of proper position to see the play. No puck control was gained, he lost sight of it and didn't give Michigan the same time factor to play as he did for Miami. Complete and utter incompetence.

If you take those two calls away from the game, the other calls and non calls even out. Knapp was phenomenal, but he should have lost, regardless of him stopping three breakaways and benefiting from a crossbar.

Oh, and as far as UAH/Michigan comparison... I think if you dig a bit deeper in a Michigan fan analysis, who had the tougher road to a conference tourney championship and autobid? The four team CHA tourney (all two games to win it) was a disgraceful sham. (It truly denied at least one other deserving team from being there based on the body of their whole season.) The playoff format is more the argument than whether UAH deserved to be there. The same argument would have applied if Robert Morris or Niagara won it. It proved itself on the ice pretty well. Miami slept walked past UAH in order to save itself for the BSU/michigan winner.

Anonymous said...

One more thing about the UAH/Michigan comparison...

After winning the CCHA Michigan would have gotten an at-large even if they hadn't of gotten the auto-bid. Hence why they were a 3 seed. If the CCHA did not get an auto-bid, Michigan still would have been in the tournament. They got the auto-bid, but had they just won those 6 games with no auto-bid on the line, they would still be in the tournament.

UAH had a losing record.

One of those things is not like the other.

Also, in light of last weekend, I hereby promise to not complain about any CCHA officials until October.

Oxtrox said...

Would you all like some cheese with that whine?

Anonymous said...

Oxass:

You want to debate or mock?

The guy mucked up the call and possession was never gained, so there were NO reasons to blow it dead.

Fans like you make it all the sweeter when your team gets f*ked. Don't choke in the last minute this year.

Jeremy Dewar said...

Ok before I get into it I feel obligated to say yes I am an MSU fan and I have posted on here before. I hope people who have seen my comments know I have been rational. Also I am applying to Miami law school and I wanted the Redhawks to win. I didn't want to put up with non-hockey UM fan at frozen four. Thats the key I don't mind knowledgeable, intelligent UM hockey fans just hate the bandwagon fans. ( I hate MSU's too)

Ok I am here to try to bring you two CCHA fans together as a person from the sidelines.
1) I didn't think Miami's second goal was that bad. I even thought I saw the puck squirt out in front of Hunwick there a little bit. Just battling and the puck wasn't completely secure, like being under his glove.
2) With the precedent set that blown whistle in OT was absolutely horrendous. How do you as a ref skate away from the net after a wraparound and put yourself out of position completely. Brutal, Brutal, Brutal. I can't imagine how you fans felt, I would flip my shit if that happened to MSU. Bad Bad call
3) The refs were awful. I saw Miami get clutched, held and hooked in the last 10 minutes of the third when they were buzzing. Thought the whistles were put away for the night. Then UM got a good call PP with 1:44 left. Again good call but inconsistent thats all.
4)UM fans be happy. You are not cursed thats idiotic, your program has had good luck before in hockey and football. You had a tough ending to a great run. Lots to be proud of and these kids have a ton of heart. You got screwed but you got chances in OT and didn't finish also.
5) Look forward to seeing anyone who is going to frozen four. Cheer for the CCHA as tough as it is to cheer for the team that beat you. I will be sporting my green and white proudly and would love to see a good representation of the UM hockey family.