Sunday, February 26, 2012

Michigan Splits with Bowling Green, Finishes Second in CCHA

This weekend the Wolverines needed to sweep Bowling Green and have Western Michigan sweep Ferris in order to earn a share of the CCHA Championship. They got neither. On Friday night, the Falcons scored twice in the last seven minutes of regulation to down the Wolverines 3-2. It didn't matter from the CCHA Championship perspective as the Ferris State Bulldogs took WMU to a shootout to earn the one point that they needed to clinch the title.

On Saturday, the Wolverines rebounded with a tougher-than-the-score 3-0 victory. That was enough to tie WMU for second in the conference. Michigan gets the #2 seed via their one-win edge in conference wins over Western.

What does that mean? Michigan will have a bye in the first round of the CCHA Tournament and will then play one of the following teams in a best of three at Yost: LSSU, Notre Dame, Ohio, or Alaska. If all the home teams win in the first round, it will be LSSU.

The matchups in round one are:
Bowling Green at NMU
Alaska at LSSU
Ohio at Notre Dame

We know FYS will travel to Miami in round 2.

On Friday night, the Wolverines got off to a quick start, with Phil Di Giuseppe scoring just 38 seconds into the contest to give Michigan a 1-0 lead. Bennett got the puck up ice to Treais who slid it over to PDG. The lead was short-lived, however, as Chad Sumison scored his first of the year just six seconds later.

David Wohlberg knocked in the rebound from a Bennett shot to put the Wolverines back on top at the 4:58 mark of the first period, but once again the Falcons had an answer. Cameron Wojtala beat Hunwick over the blocker with about six minutes left in the opening frame. Moffie may have screened Hunwick on that one.

Late in the second, Brown worked it down low to Wohlberg who sent a centering pass in front that Guptill was able to tip home for his team-leading 16th goal of the year.

Adam Berkle tied things up for BGSU with just under seven minutes left in regulation. Cameron Sinclair put a shot on net and Hunwick left the rebound. Berkle jumped on it and got it past a diving Hunwick to make it 3-3. That's one that Hunwick would want back. The initial shot didn't seem particularly difficult.

The game seemed headed for overtime, but with just over a minute remaining Bryce Williamson picked Jon Merrill's pocket as he was bringing the puck out of the zone. Williamson turned around and sent one over Hunwick's glove for the game-winner.

It was a rough night for Moffie and Merrill, who were each -3. Pateryn and Bennett were +3 in the game.

If you're so inclined to watch the highlights, here they are:

On Saturday, it seems the goalies were the stars of the show. Hunwick and Andrew Hammond were the first and second stars of the game, which ended in a 3-0 Michigan victory.

The game was tied 0-0 after two periods, despite a 31-15 shot edge for Michigan and eleven power plays between the two teams. The Wolverine penalty killers again did their job, surrendering just five shots on the seven BGSU power plays through two. At one point, power plays were 6-1 in BGSU's favor. In one stretch the Wolverines killed five straight BGSU power plays without surrendering a single shot on goal.

Granted the CCHA officiating is, in large part, incompetent, but this is an alarming trend where Michigan ends up spending significantly more time in the box than their less-talented opponent. (I didn't see either of these games, so I have no idea as to the quality of these calls or if it was more Gongshow.)

After going 0-for-3 on faceoffs the night before, Alex Guptill won a big one five minutes into the third. He drew it back to David Wohlberg who let a shot go that somehow found its way past Hammond.

A few minutes later, Kevin Lynch gave the Wolverines a two goal lead. He won a draw back to the point. The shot deflected around and Moffatt got a stick on it. The puck sat just to Hammond's right and Lynch found it before anyone else, diving head-first toward the net and knocking it home.

Michigan would add an ENG from Mac Bennett for the final margin of victory. Hunwick made 22 stops for his 10th career shutout. Hammond stopped 46 Michigan shots in the loss.

AJ Treais put ten shots on net in the game. Kevin Lynch had seven of his own. Only Hyman, Travis Lynch, Rohrkemper, and Sparks were not a plus on the night. All the other Wolverines were on the ice for one of the Michigan goals.

Highlights are here.

As MGoBlog predicted, a split wasn't too damaging in the PWR. The Wolverines sit 2nd in the RPI, .01 behind BC, and rank third in the PWR behind Minnesota-Duluth and BC. If the tournament started today, North Dakota and Merrimack would be the last two teams in. Cornell would be the first team out, closely followed by 4 CCHA teams (WMU, Ohio, Notre Dame, and LSSU).

Tory Krug and TJ Tynan tied for the CCHA Scoring Title. Reilly Smith's 18 goals were good for the conference crown in that category (by 5). Alex Guptill was tied for 2nd in goals and tied for 6th in points.

Connor Knapp led the CCHA in GAA (1.41 to Hunwick's 1.93) and save percentage (.945 to Hunwick's .937), but also only played half the minutes that Hunwick did. Hunwick was second in GAA, Save %, and minutes played. He led the conference in shutouts with 5.

1 comment:

Brad said...

Rooting for us to face LSSU or Alaska, I really don't want any part of ND or OSU, they both should have finished in the top half of the league.