Friday, March 28, 2008
FINALLY!!! SECOND ROUND!!!!!!
Bring on the Golden Knights!
Michigan beat Niagara 5-1 in the first round in their first NCAA tournament win since 2005. The Wolverines got four goals from Kevin Porter and a rock solid performance from Billy Sauer who proved that he could perform under pressure by keeping the puck out of the net after not facing a shot for nearly 20 minutes.
If Kevin Porter doesn't get to the Hobey hat trick after tonight's performance, i will be personally offended. There was a post somewhere the other day saying that the leading Hobey candidate was RIT's Simon Lambert, while i have no idea if this is true or not, this is an outrage that Porter's not in first. Everybody who reads this blog needs to vote for Porter at the site right here. The Michigan hockey team wants you to vote for Porter at least 25 times by sunday.
I said on Overtime that Niagara ran a soviet style offense, and that they would play less physical than Northern Michigan. I guess i didn't think that the Eagles would play differently against Michigan compared to Bemidji State, i was clearly mistaken. Niagara played a very good game in the first period and put good pressure on Sauer preventing Michigan from getting a good rhythm going. It was clear that although they tried to use speed to compete with the Wolverines, they could not, Michigan was too fast and the Purple Eagles had to play quite physical in the end to try and stay in the game.
Seeing that Michigan is playing Clarkson there clearly can be no repeat of the skating cheerleaders incident. The Golden Knights won their first game in the NCAA tournament since 1996. They did so with the help of an amazing performance by goalie David Leggio an undrafted senior. The only goal he gave up came off of a deflection while Clarkson was trying to kill a penalty, nothing else had a chance of getting by him. The Wolverines will have their hands full vs. this second team all-ECAC goalie. Clarkson played a really physical game against the Huskies and i would expect them to do the same against the Wolverines. While they are not as big as Northern was, they will try to make up for their size somehow, which seems to be the theme for any team trying to beat Michigan the last couple of weeks. Play physical.
Michigan's strategy has to allow them not to get discouraged if they don't get the early goal or give up one. They have to be able to come back from mistakes and persevere, much like they did yesterday. They also have to be able to create traffic in front of Leggio before they try and create opportunities from the point. Play the box and they won't necessarily need to force it in. They also have to continue their great play on special teams that they've had lately. If they can do all that they should be able to punch a ticket to Denver, if they remember one more thing....
ONE GAME AT A TIME!!!