Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Michigan Hockey: Michigan Icers End Regular Season With Series Split

Posted at 8:00am -- 3/2/2010

Michigan Icers End Regular Season With Series Split

Michigan’s hockey team continued its Jekyll and Hyde play this past weekend, ending the regular season with another disappointing split against Notre Dame. The result, coupled with NMU’s sweep of LSSU, ended any opportunity for Michigan to sit out the first round of the CCHA Playoffs.

On Thursday night, Michigan fans said adieu to five seniors making their last regular season appearance of their career. They also played a comprehensively complete game, blanking Notre Dane 4-0. The real story though, was the injury sustained to goalie Bryan Hogan about eleven minutes into the first period. Notre Dame, which carried most of the play early in the game, had one of their better opportunities rushing in on a semi two on one break. Hogan slid to his right, to attempt to stop a close range attempt by the Irish (which clanked off of the post), and crumpled to the ice in pain after play was stopped.

Hogan was helped off of the ice favoring his leg- apparently a severely pulled groin- and diminutive backup netminder (junior) Shawn Hunwick entered the game. Hunwick- who had seen limited action in his three years with Michigan- stopped the first shot he faced and looked comfortable in goal. Shortly thereafter Michigan got on the board during 4x4 play, as Chad Langlais ripped a hard shot that hit freshman Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson’s stick, bounced high over him and rolled into the net at 11:57. Hunwick was tested during the first of the five Irish powerplays, making a huge sliding glove save to keep the game 1-0. Chris Summers then made a nifty play on the following faceoff to spring Carl Hagelin and Matt Rust on a 2x1 shorthanded break. Hagelin fed Rust perfectly goalmouth, and he lifted it over Johnson to extend the lead to 2-0.

The second period saw no scoring, as Michigan settled into a defensive cocoon protecting their lead and their goaltender. Hunwick was perfect in stopping all six shots he faced, including chances during a short 5x3 Irish advantage.

Early in the third period Michigan went back to work as Chris Summers, off of a Matt Rust faceoff win, wristed a seeing eye shot that Johnson never saw, as Kevin Lynch had him screened. The puck hit Johnson and enveloped into the net to give Michigan a 3-0 lead. Michigan’s Brian Lebler tallied a PP goal at 8:17, sending a shot that ricocheted off of an Irish defenseman’s skate past Johnson to give Michigan their 4-0 advantage. Referee’s Hall and Wilkins whistled the Irish for 9 penalties for 21 minutes, while Michigan was sent off 10 times for 23 minutes. The second half of the period was chippy, as the Irish pressed to score. Hunwick stood tall to earn the first U-M victory of his career- a 14 save shutout. Michigan converted 1 of 4 PP chances, while the Irish were 0-5.

Saturday night in South Bend saw the Wolverines jump out to a two goal first period lead that they squandered in a devastating second period. Louie Caporusso got Michigan going at the :36 mark, circling deep in the Irish zone, and wristing a close-in shot that beat Johnson stick side. Michigan held tight to the lead and limited the Irish’s opportunities. Hunwick came up big stopping a clear cut breakaway to keep the Irish off of the board. David Wohlberg extended the lead to 2-0 with a fine individual play, splitting the Notre Dame defense and roofing a shot over Johnson at 17:43 on the power play.

Notre Dame came out strong in the second period and capitalized on a combination of Michigan’s loose and sloppy play, poor goaltending and overzealous officiating. Michigan squandered three PP attempts by quickly taking penalties of their own during those chances. Notre Dame scored at 2:22 after one such occurrence, as leading Irish goal scorer Calle Ridderwall tipped a pass past a screened Hunwick to ignite the Irish rally. Notre Dame followed with a shorthanded goal at 6:31 as an Irish defenseman (Blatchford) sent a low shot through Hunwick to tie the game. Prior to that, Chris Brown had a partial breakaway shorthanded and had an apparent goal waived off (the puck appeared by replay to enter the net, hit the backbar and exit the net) by referee Wilkins, as video review (at least the one angle he had) showed inconclusive evidence that the puck went into the net. Exactly one minute later the Irish tallied again on another bad angle shot that Hunwick wished he had back. Forward Kyle Palmieri finished the period off at 12:38 blasting a one timer during a PP chance stickside past Hunwick. So, Michigan, after building a two goal lead, and having a goal taken away to change momentum back, completely melted down allowing the Irish to essentially secure the game.

The third period saw Louie Caporusso bank a shot off an Irish defenseman to creep Michigan back to 4-3 at 3:51 . Michigan had two glorious chances to tie the game as both David Wohlberg and Kevin Lynch were stopped on breakaways. The game got increasingly frustrating as the officiating took turns whistling both teams off the ice- Michigan had 9 penalties for 26 minutes (including an uber frustrated Chad Langlais 10 minute misconduct) and Notre Dame had 11 penalties for 22 minutes. Ben Kissel iced the game for the Irish at 14:59, rushing in on the left wing, fighting off a Michigan defenseman and forcing Hunwick to move with him as he drifted towards the corner. He snapped a shot through Hunwick’s pads to end the scoring. Michigan ended the game 1-9 on the PP, and Notre Dame was 1-6. Johnson made 22 saves on 25 shots for the Irish, while Hunwick made 20 saves on 25 shots for Michigan.


Michigan ended the regular season 19-17-1, 14-13-1, 7th place, their worst record since 1987-88 prior to entering the CCHA playoffs. That team finished 22-19-0 in 1988, finished 5th in the CCHA and lost in the first round of the CCHA playoffs to WMU, 2 games to 1. It was Red Berenson’s first winning season (fourth total season), first playoff victory and was regarded as the first full year the program was turning around, highlighted by the first weekend sweep of MSU since 1980. This Michigan team could finish with a similar record, missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 seasons.

Also, in comparison, the 2005-06 team completed their season with a 22-15-5 record, 13-10-5 in conference. That team earned a first round bye, defeated Ferris State in the CCHA second round, lost to MSU in the CCHA semi’s, and defeated NMU in the consolation game. The team moved on to the NCAA tourney and lost to North Dakota in Grand Forks.

Michigan has earned a first round series at Yost with LSSU, who finished 10th in the conference. It is difficult to prognosticate with this Michigan team, but if they are fortunate enough to defeat the Lakers in the best 2 of 3 series, they will move on to play, at this point barring any other lower seed upsets in the first round, Michigan State in a second round best 2 of 3 series in East Lansing. Michigan State finished 2nd in the conference and will have a first round bye along with Miami (1) Ferris State (3) and Northern Michigan (4). Alaska (5) will play WMU (12) in Fairbanks; UNO (6) will host (11) BGSU; OSU(8) will host (9) Notre Dame. The seeds will be re-shuffled in the event that there are upsets in the first round, so that the highest seeds will be playing the lowest seeds possible. If all the higher seeds advance to the second round, here are the pairings: OSU @ Miami, Michigan @ MSU, UNO @ FSU and Alaska @ NMU.

Bryan Hogan’s status for next week’s playoff series is undetermined and will be predicated on whether he can skate Monday or Tuesday. If not, Shawn Hunwick will start in net.

Michigan’s Pairwise ranking is 25th, meaning that they will have to win the CCHA tournament to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Yostmeister three star selections:


1. Michigan - Shawn Hunwick- 14 saves and a shutout in relief of the injured Bryan Hogan

2. Michigan - Captain Chris Summers- 1G and 1A in his last regular season appearance at Yost

3. Michigan - Chad Langlais - 1G and 1A

Honorable Mention to Matt Rust and Brian Lebler who also chipped in with 1G and 1A


1. Notre Dame - Defenseman Teddy Ruth - 2 assists

2. Michigan - Louie Caporusso - 2 goals and 8 points in his last six games

3. Notre Dame - Ryan Thang - 2 assists and physical play all night

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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