Sunday, January 22, 2012

Michigan Splits at Notre Dame

Hunwick was sharp both games this weekend, earning himself a #2 and #1 star
The Wolverines and Fighting Irish entered the weekend tied for fifth in the PWR and two points apart in the CCHA standings and that's how they remain. Notre Dame won Friday night's contest 3-1 (with a late empty-netter). On Saturday, the Wolverines got out to a 2-0 first-period lead before hanging on to win 2-1.

On Friday, Notre Dame made it their goal to seemingly hit Shawn Hunwick as much as possible and try to get in his head. They ran into him, slashed him after the whistle, high-sticked him, at least a half-dozen times (many in the first period alone). The first instance led to a power play. Then the incompetent boobs officiating the game, Keith Sergott and Barry Pochmara, decided to basically let ND do whatever they wanted to our goalie. At one point, Hunwick got frustrated enough that he threw his stick to the ice after a scrum. I thought they then called him for unsportsmanlike conduct--that seemed to be the consensus on the telecast as well--but in the box score they've got him down for slashing. I'm guessing the reaction was based on them evening it up after he got slammed into for at least the fifth time.

Outside of Notre Dame hitting anything that moved--or wore goalie pads--the game was characterized by Michigan failing to convert on some gorgeous scoring chances. Steve Summerhays played very well--he was the #1 star (and Hunwick was 2)--but a lot of the problems were self-induced. Chris Brown had Summerhays beat on a breakaway late in the first period and rung it off the bar. Just after Notre Dame made it 2-0, Brown led a 3-on-1, decided to shoot, and missed the net high. In the third, with the game 2-1, Derek DeBlois walked in all alone after a Riley Sheahan turnover and missed the net. It was that kind of night.

After Michigan failed to take advantage of an early power play for Hunwick getting run over, Pateryn was sent to the box for a fairly normal slash. On that power play, Hunwick absolutely robbed Sheahan off a great pass from Tynan, who was spectacular on Friday night.

Wohlberg was called for holding, but the best chance on that power play was Mac Bennett's, who was the recipient of an awful turnover from Robbie Russo. He walked in all alone and Summerhays made a good stop. Moffatt just missed connecting with PDG on a 2-on-1. The pass was a little behind him.

Notre Dame made it 1-0 on a rush by TJ Tynan. He brought the puck in, faked the shot and got Hunwick down, then circled behind the net and fed a cutting Sam Calabrese. Calabrese juuuuust snuck the puck inside the far post.

The Irish then hit Hunwick again. Michigan came to his aid this time and somehow things ended up evened up. Apparently Hunwick slashed someone. Probably the guy that nailed him. Shortly thereafter, he got slashed on the glove after he had the puck covered. Hunwick was clearly getting aggravated and the refs didn't want to hear any of it. I was worried at this point because it seemed like Hunwick's head wasn't in the game, but, outside of throwing his stick down at one point, he handled it well.

Wohlberg was blatantly hauled down driving the net, no call, though they did call both players for roughing as they came back up ice. The first period of this game was just awful officiating.

Brown then intercepted a Sheahan drop pass and that put him off to the races. He beat Summerhays clean, but put it off the bar.

Things calmed down in the second period. Michigan failed to convert on an early power play, earned when Hyman was hauled down.

Notre Dame had a few chances on a scramble, Hunwick got knocked down again, Michigan came up ice and both Treias and Glendening had chances, then ND came back and scored. They rushed the puck up on a 3-on-2. Bennett took his man to the boards, then Pateryn went down to block a centering attempt. Calabrese got deep into the zone and finally threw one at the net. Hunwick blockered it away, but it went right to Lorenz, who was able to score on the rebound.

Bennett was then on the good end and bad end of a couple of scoring chances. He made a slick move through the offensive zone, but Summerhays made a stop, then Sheahan absolutely walked him and shot high.

Kevin Lynch had a good opportunity to get Michigan on the board, but couldn't pull the trigger with an empty net to shoot at. His line (both Lynches and DeBlois) was very good in the second frame. They had a really good shift right before intermission as well.

Early in the third, Mike Voran was called for tripping and the Wolverines were able to capitalize. They had some really nice passing to get the puck down to the goalie's left, reverse it back to the right, and then Pateryn's shot was tipped in by Alex Guptill...

...and immediately after the ensuing faceoff, Luke Glendening was called for boarding. Not a play that you want to see out of your senior captain. It didn't come back to bite Michigan as DeBlois had the best chance of the power play off another horrible Sheahan turnover.

Lynch was then sprung on a breakaway. Sheahan hooked him very early and there was a delayed call. Lynch came in, was slashed worse than what Pateryn got called for, and it prevented him from getting a good scoring chance. The original penalty was the only thing that was called. Later on the NBC telecast, Kerry Fraser, longtime NHL official, questioned why that wasn't a penalty shot. It would have taken some cojones to whistle them for two infractions on the same play, but the slash was worse than the hook that was being called in the first place.

Michigan had two more good chances to tie the game up, but Clare shot wide with Summerhays down and out, and then the ND netminder made a very good save on Wohlberg off a great centering feed from Brown.

Hunwick then kept the Wolverines in the game with a big stop on Voran. Voran caught up to an alley-oop pass and cut to his left to try to get around Hunwick, but Hunwick stayed with him and just got a toe on it. The defense then lost Costello, someone (Tynan maybe?) fed him in the slot, and Hunwick got over to make the save.

Summerhays then made his stop of the night as PDG worked some Datsyukian magic down behind the net, shrugged his defender, and fed Treais in front. Treais got a good shot away going five-hole, but Summerhays made the stop.

The Wolverines got Hunwick to the bench and had one good opportunity off a Moffie feed, but then Jon Merrill bombed a shot right into Billy Maday's shin pads and it put him off to the races with an empty net. He didn't miss. Merrill did have some traffic in front if the shot got through. It was fitting that the game ended on another ND blocked shot. They blocked 16 attempts on the night, and that was Maday's third.

For the game, Notre Dame outshot Michigan 35-31 and outhit them badly, though I don't have the final stats on that.

Treais had a stellar individual effort for the GWG on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Bill Rapai
On Saturday, there were some good chances early on. Anders Lee hit the bar right out of the gate. Sparks, back in the lineup for the first time in a month, had two or three good chances early. Then Larson hit the post, though Hunwick had that side completely covered and didn't really give him much else to shoot at.

The Wolverines went to a power play after Lee was called for tripping and they capitalized. PDG fed Treais and Summerhays stopped him, but later in the power play, Guptill got a tip on a Pateryn shot from the point for his second tip-in from Pateryn in as many nights. Berenson would later compare his goal to something that Holmstrom would do. Guptill called it high-praise.

Merrill went for a hit and it led to an odd-man rush. Sparks got back but ND had a couple of very good scoring chances. Pateryn then went for a hit and got called for kneeing. It was pretty much the same thing that Maday did to Hyman (uncalled) the night before. Sparks then shot the puck into a crowd of players, got a ten-minute misconduct for him, and I'm not sure we saw him back on the ice the rest of the night. He certainly didn't do anything noticeable after that. Probably not the way to endear yourself to the coaches after sitting out for a month and a half. I thought he did some good things in the first period, though. He even had a nice defensive play.

After the kill, Costello was sent to the box for slashing Guptill and the Michigan power play struck again. PDG kept the puck in at the line and Treais picked it up. He cut all the way across the zone, got the defenseman to bite on a fake shot, got Summerhays off his angle, and then snapped it past him to the far side. That was a great, great goal.

Notre Dame pulled within one early in the second as Wuthrich went to the front of the net unmolested and Lee found him.

Moffie saved a goal with a nice defensive play after some fancy passing by the Irish. The Irish started to buzz in the middle part of the second period and PDG prevented a great scoring chance with a backcheck/stick-lift.

Guptill and Brown then broke in on a 2-on-0. They passed it back and forth 3 times and the return feed to Guptill was just out of his reach. Kind of the way breakaways/shootouts have gone for Michigan this year. Maybe I shouldn't complain about the lack of a penalty shot on Friday night.

Shots were 12-6 in Notre Dame's favor in the third period, but they couldn't solve Shawn Hunwick. Outside of a good chance by Stephen Johns and a great save on Gerths, I didn't notice any particularly interesting chances in the final frame. Michigan's best chance was a Treais one-timer from a Glendening feed that Summerhays stopped.

Notre Dame played the puck with a high-stick after Summerhays had gone to the bench and that took them out of any real chance to capitalize with the extra skater. The faceoff came back into their end with 45 seconds left and they never really threatened after that.

A split was probably the right result for the weekend. I thought Notre Dame was very impressive, albeit fairly dirty on Friday night. They're a damn good hockey team. They fore-check like crazy, their defense hits like crazy, and Tynan and Lee are amazing hockey players. I could see them doing some damage in the tournament if they get goaltending like they did this weekend. Summerhays doesn't have good numbers, but I thought he was very good the whole weekend. He was the number one star on Friday night. The Treais goal was the only one that he had a chance on.

The best sign for Wolverine fans was that Michigan got the power play going and the penalty killing was great. Michigan was 3-for-8 with the man advantage on the weekend, and a couple of the failed attempts were abbreviated. Notre Dame was 0-for-8 and managed 6 shots on goal. Coming in, the Irish had only been held without a power play goal on 5 occasions (in 24 games) this season, so to hold them off the board for a weekend is pretty impressive. In Saturday's win, ND had just two shots on goal in 6:54 of power play time. Bravo to the PK.

And bravo to Hunwick, who was great the entire weekend. He stopped 32 of 34 on Friday and came back with 38 saves on 39 shots on Saturday. The Irish actually outshot Michigan 39-24 last night. Hunwick stole that game.

Guptill has now scored in 5 straight games and has 5-5--10 in his past six. For the year, he has 14-12--26, to lead the team in goals and point (tied with Brown). He actually has the national lead for points by a freshman, though he's 8th in points per game.

The Wolverines now have a week off to prepare for the stretch run where they'll face Miami at home, a road-and-Joe against FYS, NMU at home, and BGSU on the road. Coming out of road series with OSU and Notre Dame with a 3-1-0 record is a nice start to this tough slate of games.

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