Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michigan 3, UNO 2 (ot). CC Next

The puck was in. I don't think any of us ever had a doubt. You saw it go under the goaltender's pad, his pad was in the net, the puck reappeared on the goal line moving forward out of the next. Logic says that if the puck was on the goal line moving back toward the ice, the puck was previously in the net. Unfortunately, they don't get to make calls based on logic.

When I first saw the replay from the end zone cam, my reaction was "OH THAT'S A GOAL!......and they're never going to let it stand." The longer the review went on, however, the more I started to feel they were going to count it. It was a matter of could they find the indisputable video evidence to overturn the call on the ice of goal.

Ten minutes. That's how long it took to decide if Kevin Lynch would be a hero, or if he'd be two unbelievably controversial calls away from being Chris friggin' Drury. Lynch, you'll remember, scored the game-winner against Miami last year to put Michigan into the Frozen Four but for that damn premature whistle. It seemed almost cruel that it could happen again.

The review went on. The camera picked up the refs flipping between the end-zone feed and the overhead camera--thank God for that rule change that they could use all angles available to them.

Finally there was action. The refs exited the penalty box. One spoke to the scorer. Then what will possibly be the iconic image of the tournament: A Michigan fan in the front row jumped up and pointed to center ice repeatedly. Two seconds later, the ref removed all doubt: GOAL!


It was a controversial end to a truly great hockey game. Stick taps all around to the Mavericks. That's a good hockey team, they're extremely well-coached, and I actually do miss having them in the CCHA. If they hadn't jumped conferences, last night's game wouldn't have been possible. So really, you did this to yourselves.

After a great first shift, Michigan got a power play only about a minute into the game. Michigan turned the puck over and Rich Purslow had himself a breakaway from center ice in. He put it five-hole on Hunwick. 1-0. Then, before the ten-minute mark, the puck was over by the sideboards, Alex Hudson drove the net, Caporusso lost him and he had an easy tap in to give the Mavericks a 2-0 lead.

They'd go to the intermission that way. Michigan actually played a pretty decent period, but found themselves on the wrong end of a two-goal deficit. But you know what they say, a two goal lead is the hardest to protect.

On a Michigan power play early in the second period, Louie Caporusso snapped a shot through traffic from the top of the circle to pull Michigan within one. Chad Langlais then pulled a nifty dispy-doo out of traffic to get to the middle of the ice and send a pass to the left sideboards where Kevin Lynch one-timed it past Faulkner to tie the game.

In overtime, the Wolverines were victimized by an absolutely abysmal call on Matt Rust. He drilled a Maverick in the shoulder, they called him for boarding. Several times it appeared that Omaha was going to end the game and have me be the one bitching about the officiating, but Jon Merrill saved the season. A shot got past Shawn Hunwick, but there was Merrill, sliding into the crease to knock the puck away. He was there for the rebound as well, though I think Hunwick may have gotten over to make that stop. And breathe.

Just a few moments later, Greg Pateryn took a shot from the point. It kicked off the end boards where Lynch touched it into the slot. The puck hit Hudson's skate, deflected in on Faulkner, and ten minutes later, the Wolverines were off to the second round.

A few points:
-Louie Caporusso played like he wasn't ready for his Michigan career to end. He was all over the place from the second period on. He had a goal and an assist on our two regulation goals. I believe he hit another post.
-Shawn Hunwick was very good between the pipes. Couldn't fault him on either Maverick goal and after the first period, he was perfect. When you get down by 2 goals after the first, you've still got time, but you need your goalie to give you a chance and he did. With a little help from Mr. Merrill.

The Wolverines will now face Colorado College, who upset (and steamrolled) one of the favorites. Boston College was 22-2-1 in their last 25 games. John Muse was 8-0 in the NCAA Tournament and something absurd like 22-1 in tournament play (NCAA and Hockey East, not sure if it counted the Beanpot). BC got up 1-0 not even 20 seconds into the game. CC responded by jumping out to a 7-2 lead en route to an 8-4 victory.

They looked really good offensively. Jaden Schwartz, who didn't play the first time these teams met, had two goals and four points. His brother Rylan had 1-3--4 in the game. The Tigers had 3 on the power play (including an ENG) and two shorthanded. BC incredibly seemed largely disinterested after they got down, and hung Muse out to dry on several occasions. It was amazing to watch the transformation from "YES! BC is going to lose!" to "Oh crap, CC looks amazing" amongst the live-bloggers.

The best thing that happened for Michigan was that the third period was largely meaningless. CC was up 7-2 and it was basically an exercise in skating off 20 minutes without getting anyone injured or DQed. That has a way of sapping momentum. Also, BC scored a pair of goals, hit a pair of pipes, and Cam Atkinson managed to get robbed again. They softened Joe Howe up a bit. I like it.

There were a lot of offensive chances there. Even when BC was down 7-2, it could have been much closer. Atkinson had a chance with a wide open net and Howe somehow got the glove up to rob him. They hit another pipe. CC wasn't exactly playing lock down defense.

We have to be strong on special teams tonight. They killed us with their power play in the first meeting (a 6-5 Michigan win) to the tune of 4 goals. And that was without J. Schwartz (granted we didn't have Merrill or Brown). Schwartz also was injured at World Juniors and missed about two months, so CC is probably better than their record.

More about them later.

1 comment:

K. Black said...

What a game! Great recap, I'm even more pumped for tonight