Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Small Consolation

After a very subpar performance against Western Michigan the night before, Michigan was at least able to get back a little bit of momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament by knocking off Notre Dame 4-2 in the CCHA Consolation Game.

Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead on a fluky goal. Shawn Hunwick cleared the puck around the boards, but it struck the official and bounced right back into the slot where Riley Sheahan was able to put it in.

Michigan then came back with a pair of goals 15 seconds apart. Caporusso came in on a two-on-one and opted to shoot, beating Summerhays to tie the game. Hagelin then put a shot through from around the faceoff dot to make it 2-1 Michigan.

The Wolverines extended their lead in the third period. Mac Bennett let a shot go from the point that deflected off a defenseman. Summerhays lunged to cover it, but Jeff Rohrkemper just beat him to it and got enough of the puck to knock it over the goal line.

Notre Dame crawled back within one with about 1:20 left in regulation as TJ Tynan was able to bang home a rebound.

The Wolverines appeared to seal the game when Scooter Vaughan had a breakaway on an empty net from center ice in. He ended up scoring but the whistle had gone several seconds earlier. The referee ruled a hand pass and blew the play dead. Upon review, there were a couple of things wrong with that call. First, Vaughan touched the puck while it was still in the Michigan zone and hand passes are legal in your own end. Second, Vaughan was the player who played the puck with his glove in the first place. It was as bad of a call as you'll ever see. It gave Notre Dame a chance to tie the game back up. Fortunately Luke Glendening was able to put one into the empty net that did count, and Michigan escaped with a 4-2 win.

The hero of the game was Shawn Hunwick, who made a regulation career-high 42 saves in the victory. Michigan was outshot by a 44-23 margin, including 16-6 in the final frame. Hunwick made a slew of top-notch saves, but none was better than a glove stop he made on Calle Ridderwall in the third period, which prompted me to make a "Call him Kevin Quick, because he just robbed a Swede" joke. The media continued with the trend of not making him the #1 star when he was at his best. Caporusso got the nod, which, okay. He did have a goal and an assist in the 15-second span that gave us the lead, but Hunwick was fantastic once again.

The seniors end their careers 16-4-0 at Joe Louis Arena. Caporusso had 13-7--20 in those games.

So now it's off to the NCAA Tournament. USCHO has Michigan projected to be the #2 seed in the St. Louis regional, facing Nebraska-Omaha in the first round. If we advance, we would play the winner of Boston College and Colorado College.

Adam Wodon from CHN has Michigan the #2 seed in the Manchester, NH regional. He also has us facing UNO in the first round, but he would have us playing the winner of Miami/UNH if we advance. UNH is hosting yet again.

As a reminder, we were 1-1-0 against UNO this season. Both games were at Yost. We lost the opening game of the series 4-2 before throttling them 6-1 Saturday night. The Mavericks have struggled down the stretch, going 3-5-0 in their last 8 and 1-4-0 in their last 5. They've been very inconsistent since early December, sweeping only 2 series the remainder of the year (St. Cloud and Wiscy, both at home). 

The selection show airs at 11:30 EDT on ESPN2.

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