Monday, January 10, 2011

Michigan 4, FYS 0

(via EagleScout03 on Twitter...Nice to see people still remember!)

This might be the "Thank you, Ken Daniels" moment of all time, but we sure are a lot better when we're not taking stupid penalties the entire freaking game. If that wasn't the polar opposite of the night before...
A night after really embarrassing themselves in a lot of ways, the hockey team played a pretty complete game in downing FYS by a 4-0 margin. The game was much closer than the final score, as five minutes into the third period it was still a 1-0 game and the Wolverines didn't really put it away until AJ Treais's sixth of the year with just under five minutes to play.

The first two periods were really even. Michigan led 1-0 on a goal by Carl Hagelin through a nice Matt Rust screen. Shots to that point were 25-22 and both goalies were playing really well. In the third, it looked like State ran out of gas a little bit and the Wolverines completely tilted the ice, outshooting the Spartans 15-6 and outscoring them 3-0 in the final frame.

He still didn't manage to nail down the #1 star for his shutout, but Shawn Hunwick did get a star this time, garnering #2 honors. He made 28 stops in the game. He didn't have any jaw-dropping stops on the level of Jimmy Howard's glove against Vancouver, but he made several huge stops while the game was in doubt, and just played a really strong, sound game between the pipes. He was at his best toward the end of the first period. I didn't jot down too many specifics, but he made at least four big-time saves while the game was still 0-0. One I remember was off a nice behind-the-back feed from Dustin Gazely that put Derek Grant in all alone.

He also single-handedly sent two Spartans to the penalty box to create the 5-on-3 that led to the third goal of the nice, which completely iced it. The first appeared to be a huge dive that he sold pretty well, giving all Michigan fans a heart-attack in the process by sloooooowly skating to the bench. On the ensuing power play, Torey Krug got tangled up with Hunwick and then knocked him to the ice. No dive on that one, it was right in front of the ref, and the MSU captain was sent to the box, creating a 5-on-3 with 6 minutes left in a 2-goal hockey game. Dumb penalty and Michigan made them pay. Merrill sent it down low to Caporusso who fed Treais cross-crease. Easy goal for #21 and the game was all but in the books at that point. 

That wasn't the only dumb penalty that the Wolverines took advantage of. They continued to abuse the Chelii, as Dean took a bad penalty for elbowing and Hagelin scored all of six seconds later. 

The second goal of the night came off a faceoff win by Hagelin (the only faceoff he took, as a matter of fact). Langlais put a shot through traffic that nicked the Swede on the way through. There must have been six guys between Langlais and Palmisano, but the shot found its way through.

Michigan's fourth goal was a really well set-up play. Scooter Vaughan brought the puck in and held it just long enough to draw the defense to him. That left Mac Bennett wide open at the right point. Vaughan slid it over to him and Bennett had all kinds of room to walk in. He labeled one into the top corner far side for the first goal of his career.

A few more random thoughts:
-Wasn't a bit surprised to see Llewellyn sitting out Saturday night. He stayed out of the box on Friday but had several turnovers and completely sold out for a big hit that left his man wide open for a breakaway.

-What does it say on the back of Hunwick's mask? I've never gotten a good look at it.

-I forgot to mention this on Friday night, but those Ohio State camouflage jerseys would be in the conversation for worst-looking hockey sweater I've ever seen. Even Michigan State's silver jersey thought those were hideous. Then again, they swept Miami, so I guess they can wear whatever they want.

-Did they finally give Chad Langlais the greenlight to go, now that he's got Baby Lidstrom as a defense partner? I swear I've never seen him that active out there rushing the puck. There were three or four times over the course of the weekend where I thought, "Damn he's fast." I always knew he could skate, but I just don't remember him being that obviously fast all that often. 

-Palmisano actually played a pretty good game. He gave up 4, but didn't get an awful lot of help. He had no chance of stopping the second or third goals, and the first one was through a nice screen as well. Made some big saves, but Michigan continues to find ways to get pucks past him.

-Where was Will Yanakeff? I didn't catch where they said he was, but Fox Sports indicated that he wasn't the backup Saturday night and the box score seems to agree with that.

-Hagelin's line scored two and they could have had three or four more really easily. They were making things happen the entire night.

-I thought Caporusso had a nice game as well. He made a really nice pass on Treais's goal. He was only credited with a couple of shots on goal, but he had several nice chances. I really liked the neutral zone faceoff that he knocked forward and picked up almost at full-speed already. It set up a 2-on-1 with Glendening off what was basically a nothing play: A neutral zone draw. Not supposed to get chances like that.

-The key play of the game came when Michigan was leading 2-0. Michigan State got the power play that you knew was coming, this time it was Burlon for boarding. If MSU scores there, it's a 2-1 game with half a period to play. Michigan's much-maligned unit turned in as good of a penalty kill as you can possibly have. MSU never had possession of the puck, much less a shot on goal or a scoring chance. Shortly thereafter, Michigan State hits Hunwick twice, we get a 5-on-3, Treais scores, and it's lights out.

It's a big weekend coming up in CCHA play. We now sit four points behind Notre Dame in the standings (with a game in hand), as they swept Northern Michigan. In third place is Ferris State, actually. They're two points behind us, though we have a pair of games in hand. Miami is four points back of Michigan, having played one more game than the Wolverines. ND hosts fifth-place Alaska, we've got a huge home-and-home with Ferris State, and Miami has what should be an easy six against BGSU.

We're sitting 7th in the PWR, and 8th in RPI. There are some interesting teams that would make the tournament if it started today: RPI, Merrimack, Western Michigan (!), and Union would all get in. Miami would be out (!!!!!!), as would Minnesota, which never ceases to be funny. Still a lot of hockey to be played, but it's kind of cool to see some new names in tournament contention.


Anonymous said...

Gotta be some truth to the Langlais greenlight, now that Saint-in-waiting Jon has shown he is everything we expected, because I noticed the exact same thing and attributed it to the exact same reason. I also noticed that he's really fast.

But seriously, Merrill is really, REALLY good. His first few games, you could see a lot of good things from him, but he wasn't necessarily the star we expected. Starting in about November, once he got a few games under his belt, he's proving to be all we expected and more. He committed at like 14, right? Hopefully he plays for us for at least half as long as he was committed to us for and if he continues like he has, it wouldn't particularly surprise me to see Red driving him to the airport after that.

I thought Mac Bennett played well on Saturday. He seemed to really have some jets, too.

Anonymous said...

Agree, there are concerns about Merrill leaving early as there is for Burlon leaving after this season.

I would like to think Merrill will come back at least for his sophomore year. Unfounded rumor suggests he may leave after this season. Anyone have anything solid? Packer?

Oh- and Yanakeff couldn't play b/c he pulled his groin in the saturday morning skate.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been wondering what the back of Hunwick's mask says....

Another player I thought looked pretty good was Pateryn. He has stepped up his game. He is no Jon Merrill, but he made some great defensive plays on Saturday and impressed me.

Anonymous said...

We need 6 this weekend. None of this tie BS.

I think Alaska will trip up ND this weekend whether it be in a win or a tie.

Anonymous said...

Alaska could, they are fighting for their NCAA lives- and didn't have a good weekend against WMU last week. ND is hot, Tynan and Lee are super players... but anything can happen.

Anonymous said...

I have had a pretty close look at Hunwick's helmet, at least from the glass. It looks like the Victors.