Friday, March 28, 2008


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....


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Purple Eagles, Golden Knights and.... Skating Cheerleaders?!?!?!?

It's march madness time, hockey style.

I'm not going to make any predictions here or on the show seeing that two of my final four teams got eliminated in the second round (Pitt and Georgetown). I will say this, Michigan drew some teams that everybody is expecting them to beat, and anything aside from at least a frozen four appearance will be seen as a failure this year. Expectations have been growing all season long, the great start, the win in the College Hockey Showcase, the win in the GLI, beating Notre Dame, beating Miami, beating MSU at the Joe, winning the regular season and conference titles. This team has a target on its back right now and Niagara is hoping that they can hit it and knock off the maize and blue. Can they do it??

The Purple Eagles (how the hell does a team get a nickname like that?!?!?!) have the third highest rated offense in scoring, and they also have a really good goaltender in Juliano Pagilero who has a .929 save percentage according to Inside College Hockey. They finished second in the CHA before winning their conference tournament in a come from behind home win vs. Bemidji St in front of their home crowd. The best team they beat all season was Bowling Green, a team that gave Michigan all it could handle in a home and home right before the GLI. Niagara is no one to be trifled with, and Coach Berenson knows this, he went so far to say that he has reminded his players of the Holy Cross upset over Minnesota from the 2006 tournament, and he has told them that if they don't play hard they could end up the same way.

Playing hard seems to be the key for Michigan, the two teams have a big contrast in styles, Niagara thrives in a defensive, skating oriented, soviet style of play. Because of this they do not commit many penalties, Michigan has to be prepared to play a lot of five on five hockey, something coach has stressed all year. The thing the wolverines have to do is remember to bring their A game, because the Purple Eagles will definitely be bringing their's in Albany.

For the other two teams in the region, there's a contest between a local team known as Clarkson "Golden Knights" (another WTF name)and the St. Cloud St Huskies, the latter of whom we have an apparent history with because of a skating mascot and cheerleaders.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I think Coach Berenson should paint that in the locker room at Yost, just like Bo did at the Big House, because today he proved it.

This team endured harsh criticism at the beginning of the season. The college hockey media picked them to be fourth in the CCHA and be a bubble team to get into the NCAA tournament. Just goes to show how much we know. Jack Johnson and Andrew Cogliano both left the team as sophomores to pursue careers in the NHL, and while they have already made a mark in the pros, the wolverines could have probably used their help at some point in the season.

But Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik both returned for their senior years as opposed to signing contracts with the Phoenix Coyotes. Travis Turnbull the unfairly overlooked undrafted junior came back and proved his worth. Brandon Naurato also did so, and vastly improved his chances of getting into professional hockey as well. Mark Mitera returned and after scoring two very costly own goals in consecutive weeks, came back and really did a lot to keep the team going late in games (that's as much an apology for my previous remarks as i'm going to make). And who can forget Tim Miller, the man who was the MVP of this tournament for scoring four points combined in the semifinal vs. NMU and the final vs. Miami.

Billy Sauer, what more needs to be said about him. A real comeback kid. His first two seasons he went through all kinds of hell because of the fact that he gave up bad goals at crucial parts of the game. This culminated in the embarrassing 8-5 loss to North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA tournament. His previous game he gave up a really horrible goal to Notre Dame in the CCHA final that was a direct result of his misplaying it, the goal wound up winning the game for the Irish and Billy's confidence was destroyed just in time for the NCAA tournament.

When practice started heating up, the rumor around the hockey team was that Coach Berenson was going to rotate Billy in goal with freshman Bryan Hogan. Coach would later admit he was considering it at the time. Lo and behold, before the season even started Hogan got mono and Billy was expected to be the starting goalie. Not only was he not a sieve, he was phenomenal. Shutout both games in the GLI, made key saves to bail out the team in crucial moments, beat Minnesota, beat Notre Dame, there is not a team that Billy Sauer has played against so far this year that he hasn't beaten. He not only went out and proved that he is worth his weight in salt as a goalie, he defied everyone's expectations this year and he went out and proved to everyone that he was here to stay and be a Michigan man.

Normally I would write a game summary column, but this work of Mitch Albom-esque writing should suffice until we find out about Michigan's drawing in the tournament.



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.

Any who....

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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Daily Broomball part 3: VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We Won!!! We Won!!! We shot the BB gun!!!

They lost!!! They lost!!!

We showed them who is boss!!!

Yes ladies and gentlemen the Michigan Daily newspaper's broomball team in the co-rec intramural league of the University of Michigan finally won a game. The final score was 6-2 because all of our goals were scored by women on our team and goals by women count for two goals. It was the first time all season we played physical and matched up well with our opponents. Not only that we fought off their forecheck and were able to execute pretty darn well on our own.

It took about five minutes for our first goal to come from our copy editor Lindsey Ungar to give us a 2-0 lead. We were so happy that we finally scored that we unfortunately got a little lax on defence especially in the blocked shots department. Something that we will have to work on before we go to the playoffs.

Don't talk about playoffs!!! Talk about the game

Anyways they came back aggressive, took a shot at our goalie Jose who made save but was run into by the opposing shooter and knocked on the ice surface. He would sit the rest of the half on the bench, but thankfully would return and pitch a shutout in the second. In spite of the fact that i took a nasty fall on the ice surface and bruised my elbows just a few minutes earlier my teammate Ian appointed me goalie in Jose's stead. I told him i wasn't ready, but he wouldn't listen. And nobody else volunteered so i had to, i promptly let one in, not intentionally, i just wasn't ready to play in goal. Thankfully, it was a guy goal so it didn't tie the game for them. But i had to come out. The problem was nobody initially came in for me, so we only had four people on the ice and none of them were a good goalie and the other team scored another one to tie it.

By this point there were 5 minutes left in the half and around then our offense got physical. We forechecked we thwarted all shot attempts and attempts to clear the ball, we didn't let them get any rushes on Ian, who was in goal at the time. Finally with about 30 seconds left in the half Courtney Ratkowiak put one in on a beautiful backhand shot that gave us the 4-2 lead at half time.

For another look at it i turn it over to my colleague Lindsey Ungar.

YOST ICE ARENA - Maybe it was "Call on Me" blaring from the speakers before the game. Or
maybe it was the new t-shirts, emblazoned with The Michigan Daily flag.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was that the Daily Brooms finally scored. Six points, to be

Courtney Ratkowiak popped in the game-winning goal before the first half ended, and MVP
candidate Bridget O'Donnell scored twice in a 6-2 win over the team known simply as

"You know what my shirt smelled like afterward?" O'Donnell asked. "Victory."

Goaltender H. Jose Bosch turned aside all Ch-Ch-Ch-Cheyea shots, but was forced out of
the game after an unfortunate shot hit him down there. Ian Robinson and Charlie Clinton
split time before Bosch returned to celebrate the win from the crease.

But it wasn't just the shorthanded lineup - only eleven players suited up for the Brooms
- that somehow made this victory possible.

"Make sure to thank Nate (Sandals)," Ratkowiak said of the clutch Managing Sports Editor,
who rushed Ratkowiak and Mike Eisenstein to Yost just in time for faceoff.

Next up for the Brooms? Playoffs.

"I'm not gonna be able to sleep tonight," manager Lindsey Ungar said. "With this win and
the character we have in the locker room, I know a championship is on the horizon."

Forget Terrelle Pryor, we have Justin Feagin

As everybody knows now Pryor has committed to Ohio State. Now everybody is either saying either good riddance or we shouldn't have driven him to that school in Columbus. I personally take the former position, because we have a top level recruit at quarterback in our own right in Justin Feagin.

I recently found a video of Justin Feagin's highlights in the Florida high school football playoffs posted on youtube by the Michigan Sports Center blog. Once i get my computer fixed i'll post it on my site. The most remarkable thing that i saw on the video was that he made a 60 yard touchdown run, and a 60 yard touchdown pass in the same game!!! 45 of those yards on the TD pass were him, the other 15 was YAC.

Now i know he's an incoming freshman and expecting him to be able to do something like that would be completely unreasonable right now. But once he gets some experience and starts getting some experience eluding these big ten defenses that he's gonna be dealing with. Other schools are gonna be wondering why they didn't get this guy. This guy has gotta be one of the most underrated QB's of this recruiting class just judging from the video.

Personally i'll be surprised if the Pryor hype machine lives up to its expectations. Stuff this over hyped rarely ever does, anybody remember Kelly Baraka, look him up, you'll see what i mean.

And for those of you who doubt a Florida kid's ability to measure up in the midwestern cold, just remember these two Michigan greats, Anthony Carter and Brian Griese. Both came out of the sunshine state they both had great careers in the maize and blue, and they both had long pro football careers, case closed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The only take i have on the Hagen article.

A lot of fuss has been made about a recent Ann Arbor news article stating that at Michigan athletes have easier classes. Apparently a psychology professor Jim Hagen has been teaching an independent studies class that is apparently popular with athletes and said to be one of the easiest classes on campus.

While this may be true this is hardly indicative that athletes get no education and a free ride through college. If i recall correctly the policy towards student athletes who skip classes is that they serve a one match suspension for such action. The fact that there are such harsh penalties for skipping class would be a good reason to take easy classes in my opinion and the fact that our athletic department has enforced this rule on everyone from walk-ons in volleyball to all-Americans in football, is a pretty telling fact to me. Most schools with athletic programs gear their athletes towards easy classes from what i hear, this is no surprise, hell most students athletes or not are driven towards what they can learn and away from things that trouble them academically. What would be a real scandal to me would be if the athletic department preferred enforcing the no-skip policy in a preferential way for the scholarship athletes as opposed to the walk-ons.

P.S. i keep hearing people tell me that communications classes are relatively easy. I've taken two myself and i found them to be two of the hardest classes i have ever taken at the University of Michigan.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Massacre and The Slugfest

I'm not sure how to sum up this past weekend, but i do know this, Michigan has one of the deepest teams in college hockey. Oh yeah, and Carl Hagelin is the swede-ist shooter to hit Yost in quite some time. Chad Kolarik also picked up right where he left off.

The first game was really something i have to say, and once Tim puts the highlights up it should be very interesting to see how things looked out there. Normally you can remember the first goal of the game easily, not that day, i had to watch the highlights on mgoblue to remember what happened. To be honest the first two goals came and went so quickly i had a hard time figuring out what happened. The weirdest part about it was that none of the goals interrupted my sideline report. Although it would often be several minutes before i could go on, and i would often just be standing in front of the camera doing nothing, until the whistle blew. Which apparently got me some attention in both Michigan and Omaha circles. Most of it negative, i'll get some links tomorrow.

Back to the game itself Chad Kolarik was so impressive, i'd be surprised if he didn't overtake Kevin Porter in the Hobey tracker on Inside College Hockey this week. I was most impressed by the fact that a penguin suit ended up on the ice after the third goal, and that the "Water Buffalo" was actually the founder of WOLV.

As for Carl Hagelin, if ESPN cared, or had any contacts with WOLV they would've asked for footage of the goal. But seeing that the game was already in the bag by then and also that ESPN plain and simply doesn't care, it went by un noticed, for now.

Other idiosyncrasies: Friday's game was the first time i've ever witnessed the wave done at Yost Ice Arena. Also, in the photos posted on mgoblue, after the 10th goal the fans in the student section lifted a girl up and down ten times to symbolize how many points they had, like at the football games. I didn't actually see this, i was probably too busy grinning at the fact the refs didn't stop the game to let the opponents get off the ice for fear of further embarrassment. That being said i don't condone said action by the fans especially in a place like Yost, while i love their enthusiasm, that stuff is just plain dangerous, and she should be really glad none of the guys who threw her didn't drop her on the way down.

I didn't see the second game of the series because the cable Nazis at comcast local didn't want to stream their broadcast live over the internet, so basically everyone without digital cable was left in the cold. Not only that, but the stat tracker for CSTV was not working for this particular game, leaving me no choice but to follow the game via the Daily's live blog the game.

It must have been a really exciting game because the score was 2-1 Michigan, there was Brandon Naurato goal, and Max Pacioretty got into a fight. Unfortunately mgoblue didn't show the fight so for now i'm going to have to guess what it looked like. Hopefully somebody will post a youtube video of it eventually. So i can actually how bad a whooping Patch put on the guy to get a one game suspension.

Hopefully Patch's absence will not hurt the team, and they can replace him with somebody good. Right now Carl Hagelin seems like a good fit, but he's very much in tune with the line he's on now and has rarely ever played with Porter and Kolarik, if ever. But that's another matter. I also hope that Matt Rust and Scooter Vaughn will be able to play on the championship weekend, simply because Michigan's not a complete team without them.



Thursday, March 13, 2008

Daily Broomball part 2: a.k.a. frustration

If i were Kevin Borseth i'd be pounding the living crap out of podiums on this blog after this game. But i'm not so right now i'm just pounding the crap out of the keyboard here in the UGLI. What the hell man? Why can't we score a goal? We've got good players, a decent goaltending tandem, why haven't we scored? I know that this is supposed to be intramural sports and it's just supposed to be a fun activity.


Screw that, play sports no matter how minor or who it's against creates a release for my competitive impulses. In my previous post i talked about how i nearly killed my cousin in an informal wrestling match, if you think i get worked up on TV you should see me when i'm actually playing something. I once ran over a third baseman in a pick up game of softball at a church picnic, at work and right before the game and right after i'm nice and cracking jokes but once the whistle blows, or the ump yells play ball. GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of competitiveness please tune into WOLV TV or to view the first game of what should be Michigan's ridiculously competitive series vs. UNO on Friday.

Stayed tune to the blog after taping on Thursday for my exclusive preview of the series.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! NOT SCOOTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I regret to inform everyone that what the Michigan Daily said about Scooter Vaughn is true. Truly truly regrettable. He did not make the All CCHA Freshman team. What kind of blind idiot would not put this great man on that team. He's the best, he's got the speed, the toughness, the ability to do whatever it takes to get the puck out of the zone on defense, and keep it in on offense. He is the epitome of everything you want out of a college level defenseman. Yes he's a little unrefined in some ways more than others, but so is Max Pacioretty, who was the only one of Michigan's many fine freshman to make the freshman team this year.

Unfortunately this is the least of Scooter's or Coach Berenson's problems this week. He broke his jaw in apparently an incident with an unnamed teammate over the weekend and is unlikely to play until next week at the very least. There are two things that are interesting about this, first, instead of going through with having a wire in his jaw like a normal person would through this situation, he opted to have surgery and currently has nuts and bolts in his mouth (yes i mean literally, you dirty minded idiots). The second thing is the incident itself that interests me quite a bit at this time, I would think and hope that the incident was just the result of a bit of playful roughhousing that ended up getting a little carried away.

Sometimes that stuff will go way farther than it's intended purposes. I can think of a personal example when this happened, i was in Thanksgiving Day wrestling match up with my cousin Ben who was actually beating me well a few minutes into our unofficial match in his basement. He was trying to get me into submission when all of a sudden i got free and the tables turned and i put him in a choke hold so hard that had he not tapped out i could've killed him. AND THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY BAD!!!! I love my cousin Ben like a younger brother and the only thing he's ever done to get back at me for that is go to Michigan State (he he). I'm glad he never pressed charges against me for that

The other possibility, and i am in no way saying this is what happened, is that there was a legitimate argument that devolved into violence, or worse it could have been the result of racist remarks. If the latter is the case, the perpetrator of the incident should be thrown off the team. I highly doubt that was the case, because if it was we the public would know if somebody would have been thrown off the team. However we know that Red Berenson has a reputation for being tight lipped with the media and not revealing details about what goes on with players and suspensions or what the reasons are for why players leave or are kicked off of the team.

If the incident that led to Scooter's inaction leads to a loss in the series vs. UNO, Coach Berenson may want to think about rethinking this policy. But as of right now that's the least of his problems. He now has to find a replacement for Scooter on the back line who can play the point and the sweeper as well skate fast, whose name doesn't happen to be Kevin Quick. Good luck with that Red!

UNO y dos hombres

Michigan will play Nebraska-Omaha in the second round of the CCHA playoffs this weekend in a best of three series all at Yost. UNO, as i like to call them, has one of the deadliest scoring combinations in the CCHA this year as well as in the NCAA in general. Bryan Marshall and Mike Lawrence both finished the season tied for fourth in the CCHA in scoring with Derek Whitmore of Bowling Green. Marshall has been out with injury for the past two weeks, which did nothing but hurt the Mavericks in their epic struggle of a series with Alaska this past weekend.

After squeaking out a 4-3 win in Thursday's game the Mavs got very little help from their offense as the normally offensively anemic Nanooks scored five goals en route to a 5-3 win on saturday. The Mavs then fought in a battle to the death on sunday in which neither side could get a leg up for two and a quarter of overtime while the score remained 1-1. Then junior forward J.P. Platisha scored about four and half minutes into the third overtime letting the few people that were still interested in the game know who was going to play Michigan in the second round.

Michigan swept UNO earlier in the year in Omaha, in the first game of the series Kevin Porter had his first hat trick of the year against the Mavs. That was also the game that would set the tone for the legthy stretch in which Michigan would dominate third periods in terms of scoring, Michigan scored five goals in the final stanza to get a 6-3 victory. The second game was a closer affair that was finished off by a late third period goal by Carl Hagelin for the 3-2 win for the Maize and Blue.

Both teams are coming in off of stretches in which they had somewhat tough stretches. Michigan split their last two series, and UNO went 2-3 in their last five, including getting swept by Northern Michigan.

For more info, tune into Charles in Charge on WOLV overtime later in the week.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Daily Broomball game 1

Disclaimer: This game happened Wednesday @ 12:30 so i know this is kinda late.

The Michigan Daily played their first broomball game of the season this past wednesday, a game they quite frankly should've won. The Daily outshot their opponents 13-8 but lost on a goal in which two of the three guy players slipped and the goalie was out of the box cause he was trying to clear. Now for the details.

I started both halves in goal i probably played a total of about five or six minutes, the rest of the game was handled by Anthony Oliviera. His capable hands nearly got us through the game with a point. Unfortunately fate has ways of messing with you. With his Hasek like scary moves and his great stickwork he turned away anything that came his way when in goal.

Now for the offensive side of the story. For pete's sake Andy, Courtney and Lindsey learn how to elevate your shots, we would've won the game if we could've gotten at least two shots in the air, if we can do that we'll be able to win any game with Anthony in goal.



Sunday, March 2, 2008

We are the (regular season CCHA) champions, my friends!!!!!!!

And we'll keep on fighting till the end. da na do do

You know i had to do it.

Anyways, Michigan clinched their first regular season CCHA championship since 2005 beating Ferris State in a wild one on Friday 5-3. A game in which Michigan gave up an un-Wolverine like three power play goals. Kevin Porter and Max Pacioretty both scored helping the maize and blue to a win on senior night.

The real story about that night should be about what happened after the game. Chad Kolarik skated onto the ice for the first time since doing the splits and injuring his hamstring against Lake Superior State two weeks ago. The alternate captain could return to action as soon as the second round of the CCHA playoffs.

The fact that he was able to skate out there seems to imply that when the appointed time comes he will be ready. If he is Michigan certainly needs him out there because the team has been executing very poorly on their penalty kill without him on the ice. Kolarik's ability and will to do whatever it takes to kill of penalties is indicative of how much this team needs him. Sure he scores a lot of goals, but so do a lot of guys on the team, he does more than that, he gets down and blocks the shots, he poke checks the puck away at key moments on other team's power play and he makes the extra pass when it needs to be made. He's as valuable a player to the team as Kevin Porter.

Another player of value to Michigan is Billy Sauer, this was demonstrated by Red Berenson benching him in Saturday's overtime loss in favor of Freshman Bryan Hogan (i seriously wonder how many chants of mono did he have to endure). Although the Wolverines hate to lose, one can't help but think that the game meant a lot more to the Bulldogs than it did to Michigan.

That being said the championship is nice and Michigan has stuff to work on over the week off. For starters, their penalty kill. Secondly they will probably have to re-integrate Chad Kolarik back to Michigan's top line. The Wolverines have to do this in order to get the magic back in time for the second round, because even if the team they're playing is no match for them, they want to demonstrate to the conference that they are ready to take on any comers at the Joe and that whoever's waiting in Detroit better watch out, the best college hockey team in the country is heading in your direction.