The Wolverines came into the GLI as underdogs. Michigan was faced with a tough task in the Great Lakes Invitational semifinal: The Boston College Eagles. The #3 team in the country came into the holiday tournament with a 12-6-0 record on the season, but was the #20 Wolverines who advanced to the GLI Championship with a 4-2 victory.
Michigan came out strong. Alex Guptill was robbed early on in the game. Kevin Clare threw a shot wide of the net and it bounced out on the same side of the net. Guptill was all alone, but Billett robbed him with the glove.
A few moments later, though, Wohlberg brought it in with Guptill on a two-on-one. He took it himself and lasered one up under the bar to give Michigan a 1-0 lead.
BC hit the post on the other end to just miss tying the game.
Back-to-back calls on the Eagles gave Michigan a LONG 5-on-3 and they capitalized! Moffie took a shot with Kevin Lynch on the doorstep. The rebound skipped out to Billett's right and Moffatt was right there to bury the rebound.
Boston College went to a power play, but it was the Wolverines with the majority of the chances. Wohlberg had a breakaway, tried to go backhand and missed high. Then the Wolverines had a 2-on-1. Travis Lynch shot and Michigan couldn't put in the rebound. Then Kevin Lynch had a breakaway and was stopped. The first period ended with Michigan up 2-0.
Early in the second, Treais sprung Glendening on another 2-on-1 and Billett made a nice glove save. Guptill was interfered with while trying to chase his own dump in, but Wohlberg was called for a late hit to even things back up. The momentum really changed at this point in the game. It was all BC for a good chunk of the second period after this. Hunwick made a couple of good stops, Moffatt just missed the far post, and then BC got on the scoreboard.
A failed clear by Chiasson led to an opportunity for BC. The player was knocked down by a Wolverine but the puck came back to Tommy Cross at the point. He sent a shot through traffic past Hunwick to make it 2-1.
BC just missed tying it shortly thereafter. Kevin Lynch was sent to the box and the Eagles kept buzzing. A little drop pass through the slot got a guy wide open and he hit the goalpost. While still on the power play, Hunwick made an initial stop, but the rebound came right to Carey in the slot who slipped it to Hunwick's right.
The Eagles kept up the momentum. A player deked through the Michigan defense and got a shot past Hunwick, but Sinelli and Hyman were in behind the Michigan goalie and Hyman was able to keep the puck out of the net. BC just missed again. All the momentum was on their side and then out of nowhere the Wolverines were back on top.
Treais got the puck out of the zone and led a 2-on-1 for Michigan. He shot the puck through Cross's legs and it beat Billett to put Michigan back ahead. That was a big, big goal to put Michigan back ahead in a period where they were thoroughly dominated.
The Eagles had a chance to even the score when Pateryn was sent off for kneeing. He cranked Whitney, who was vulnerable after lunging to knock the puck ahead. Their knees hit, but he certainly didn't stick his leg out. I thought it was a really questionable call, but the puck don't lie. Michigan killed it off without too much trouble.
PDG was robbed late in the period, and Michigan led 3-2 headed to the second intermission. BC carried the play that period.
Hunwick made a really nice stop on Gaudreau early in the third period. Then another early in a Michigan power play, where BC had the two best chances.
PDG set up Treais for a good look in front but Billett was there. Pateryn absolutely killed Mullane, and then Chris Brown leveled an Eagle who thought a spin-o-rama in the middle of the ice was a good idea.
The Eagles pulled the goalie with 1:15 left in regulation. Their best chance was a bullet from the point that was over top of the net. Glendening had a great effort to get the puck out of the zone, carried it until he got just over center ice, and then paid the price to take a shot at the net. He scored and the Wolverines were off to the championship game with a 4-2 win.
That was a huge win for Michigan's tournament chances, in addition to putting them into the GLI Championship Game. Treais was great. In addition to scoring the eventual game-changing goal, he was setting up people all night. He sprung the Wolverines on at least a couple of odd-man rushes. BC gave up a ton of them.
I really liked the play of the 4th liners. Moffatt was buzzing for good portions of the game and Hyman and Sinelli both had excellent plays in their own end. They were both in behind Hunwick to save a goal and Hyman had another gorgeous backcheck to break up what would have been a great scoring chance. I'm surprised that Hyman has the worst +/- on the team. Every time I've seen him, he's done good things on the defensive end.
The top line was really good, especially in the first period.
The second period was rough once Michigan got running around after a couple of penalties, but the first and third were great periods against a really strong opponent. Michigan carried the play for the majority of the game. They had numerous odd-man rushes and breakaways, along with several other chances right in the slot. Billett played really well to keep BC in it, or it could have been much worse. At the other end, Hunwick was good for Michigan and his defense stepped in to help him when he needed it.
Michigan will take on FYS in the GLI Championship Game tomorrow night. The Spartans downed Michigan Tech 3-1, though the Techsters outshot them 46-26. Palmisano was strong in net, and apparently Tom Anastos hinted that he might stick with his hot goaltender. Palmisano was really good against Michigan in FYS's shootout win, but the Wolverines have a history of success against him. Should be a fun one!