Western looked like the hungrier team. Michigan was done in by silly penalties, poor penalty killing, and a largely uninspiring performance.
The Broncos scored 4 in the second period en route to a 5-2 win.
DeBlois got called from hitting from behind (or boarding, whatever they're calling it these days) in the first period. Looked like the guy turned after he had committed to the hit, but whatever. Then on the power play, Merrill plowed the net off it's moorings on the most obvious penalty to put us down on a 5-on-3 since Komisarek chucked the puck out of the zone against St. Cloud.
Of course WMU scored. Langlais wrapped it around the boards, didn't get it out. WMU got set up and put a shot past Hunwick. That was really the only thing that happened in the first, as Michigan outshot Western by a whopping 6-4 count.
My computer actually went to sleep from a lack of typing early in the second period. DeBlois went off for another hit from behind and WMU scored again. Wrister from the high slot that went in and out really quickly, but it was clearly a goal.
After a too many men call on Michigan, the Broncos made it 3-0. Are you noticing a trend? There were three blocked shots in a row (one might have gotten through) before the rebound came out to the side for an easy tap in. Two Broncos could have scored that one.
Michigan then made it 3-1 off a Moffie shot through a Lynch screen. But with a little life, Sparks overskated a puck by the blueline and turned it over. That led to a partial breakaway. The guy shot from about 3 feet out and it juuuuuuust snuck through Hunwick and got over the goal line.
Hunwick then made a save, kicked out the rebound, stopped the next one. The puck was trickling toward the goal line and Merrill knocked it out of there------right onto the stick of O'Kane who buried it to give WMU a 5-1 lead.
Merrill then took a shot from the point that hit Sparks on the way through and brought Michigan to within 3, but that's as close as we'd get. I was in full-on fast-forward mode by that point.
Western looked like they wanted it more, and good for them. They've got a chance to get in the tournament, they were getting a little revenge for the way we stole one on Senior Night, and they definitely outplayed Michigan tonight. Our penalty kill has been better of late, but they went the route of killing off penalties as quickly as possible tonight--by giving up goals. It was pretty brutal.
We've seen these alarmingly bad performances before, and it's no less frustrating when we've got a tournament bid sewn up. The funny thing is, if all the favorites win tomorrow except for WMU over Miami, we're still a #1 seed.
As it stands right now, we're sitting 7th in the PWR and probably looking at a 2 seed, which is probably closer to where this team is at. Hopefully we'll have a better effort tomorrow against a Notre Dame team that got similarly thrashed in their semifinal.