Saturday, March 22, 2008
PHEW!!!!!!!!! AND NOW....MIAMI
The Northern Michigan Wildcats declared war on the Michigan Wolverines, and the Wolverines emerged victorious as few bouncing bombs managed to get past the supposedly impenetrable dam that was Brian Stewart.
Seriously though, Michigan is lucky they got out of this one with a win. The Wildcats backcheck was absolutely brutal, and Stewart was anything but a sieve. If we lost the game which before the start of the third period seemed like a genuine possibility, i would've probably titled this post "I F_______ HATE BRIAN STEWART"
The biggest positive that came out of this game was Billy Sauer's recovery from his god awful play in the first two periods, to really putting a stopper in the Northern attack in the third. Scooter and Rust looked really shaky and for good reason, they just came back from what could have been season ending injuries, and played against the most physical team in the CCHA. The first line played admirably in the absence of Max Pacioretty, who they really could've used to combat the physicality of NMU on the fore and backcheck.
Michigan will be playing Miami who eked out a win against a Notre Dame team who lost their leading scorer. Ryan "the mullet" Jones, the Redhawks Hobey Baker candidate, was kept virtually a non factor in the game. The Irish also got plenty of good offensive chances against Jeff Zatkoff who, up until a few weeks ago, was still reeling from having to face Michigan's first line in its purest offensive form. Hopefully Max Pacioretty will show the same brilliance coming back tonight that he did last month.
But don't count Miami out, they fought off the same kind of team Michigan fought off, and they did it in style too. A true come from behind victory, and Zatkoff has looked pretty solid the last four weeks after the Ferris State series. It's going to be a real good match up with both teams wanting to make a statement.
Both of these teams have a No.1 seed in the NCAA tournament practically locked up, with the losses of North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Colorado College, the fact that the CCHA got both of their top two teams into their conference championship game shows the committee that they are Frozen Four calibre.
Whatever team wins will not only get the Mason Cup but the final No. 1 spot in the pre tournament rankings. They probably won't play North Dakota in their region either.