Showing posts with label CCHA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CCHA. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go Blue beat Palin's Money.

Michigan's playing that school that's really close to Russia, in the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, I would post a picture of Sarah Palin on this blog, but my parents read it and I don't want to offend them. I'll have a more in-depth preview up later in the week, because i've had a busy week and i need some relaxation to catch up on.

FINALLY!!!!!!!!! Here's the video i promised of fan interviews at Yost Ice Arena which I said I was going to do last year.

Check out the old guy i interviewed.



Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Michigan hockey fan's longest week of the year.

With the bye week going on there has been plenty to occupy the mind of the typical obsessive Michigan hockey fan for the week. Namely the fact that Michigan has gotten not one but two outdoor hockey games next year. On top of the fact that Red Berenson will be back for at least one more season. And this doesn't take into account the fact that the Michigan basketball team is playing their biggest game in years on saturday, which i will get back to later.

The Michigan hockey team itself aside from dealing with post break stresses of every other student in Ann Arbor is also wondering who they are going to be playing next week at the great cathedral of college hockey, Yost Ice Arena. There is a possibility that the winged helmets on ice will be playing the now extremely hated Michigan State Spartans. However it is a remote possibility because the Spartans are the No. 11 team in the conference which would mean in order for them to play the Wolverines they would not only have to beat Northern Michigan in Marquette, they would also need Bowling Green to upset Ohio State.

The former might actually be possible, MSU got three points against the Wildcats in October, but that was before a wave of injuries and suspensions swept over the Spartans and reduced them to the laughingstock of the CCHA. The latter is highly unlikely due to the fact that the only quality win BGSU has had all year is against Michigan on a friday which shouldn't count because at that point in the year it seemed unlikely Michigan wanted to play anybody on friday at home for some strange reason.

The realistic teams that Michigan could face are Northern Michigan, Western, and Nebraska Omaha (UNO to those who care). They could also face Ferris State and Lake Superior State, but i'm not going to talk about them because it would involve some really weird upsets.

Northern and Western are the most realistic teams that the Wolverines will face next week, and they lost to both teams earlier in the year. In both games they lost with Billy Sauer in goal when the team was refusing to give him goal support. If Bryan Hogan is in goal they should have no such problem and advance to Joe Louis Arena with goals to spare.

Go Blue.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A mixed weekend

The first game was one of the best Michigan hockey game i've ever seen. They went on the road into a hostile environment into probably the worst arena in the CCHA, according to my friend Shaun, and they beat the number one team in the nation.

Not only did they do that they beat them on some incredible skilled goals from two undrafted seniors in Travis Turnbull and Tim Miller.

Although the first game was a masterpiece the second one is more likely to be on ESPN classic, as if they ever show a college hockey game, due to their general disdain towards all things at the University of Michigan, and love of all things Notre Dame. The first period featured a goal that is appropriate in the world's greatest game on grass, futbol, but should not be even considered legal in hockey.

I was at center ice and even i could clearly see from where i was standing that the goal shouldn't have counted. His foot was going forward as it hit the puck, and it went in the net. On top of that, if i saw it, how did the ref who was standing behind the net and called it a goal not see it. Was he looking away? Distracted by the crowd? Distracted by a player? Because if he saw the whole play he would not have called that a goal. I didn't make that big a deal of it at the time though, mainly because i thought that Michigan was going to come back and win it.

I knew Notre Dame had a great defense and was worried when they got that first "goal" but when the first period ended without another one, i felt confident that the wolverines would at least tie it.

This kinda summarizes how i felt after a penalty shot goal and another goal in the second period. (NSFW)

The so called "Irish" fans sitting in the student section proceeded to rub it in our faces that they were "the better team" so they claimed. Tensions and tempers were running high when i took my place in the dance for "Can't Turn You Loose."

Getting that first power play goal from Aaron Palushaj was just what the doctor ordered. Hope was restored, there was a flash of light towards the end of the metaphorical tunnel. Then Robbie Czarnik ended his 21 game goalless streak and the light was becoming more visible. Then with about half a minute to go and an extra attacker on the ice, after a lengthy scrum around the net a goal had been scored, and the winged helmets on ice had made it. They had gone into a series with the number one team in the country and were going to come out of it with at least three points.

But hold the phone.....

What was this? The refs were going into the booth to have a look and determine whether they had blown the play dead before the shot was released. They ruled it to be not a goal from their overhead camera, and the puck luck of the Irish prevailed once again to the general disdain of the thunderstick wielding Yost crowd, who proceeded to pop those balloons in disgust afterward. Michigan has retained their place in the top four in the CCHA and are four points, and two games behind second place Miami, but they would prefer to be four points and zero games behind Notre Dame.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Michigan vs. Miami series hype blog.

Disclaimer: i'm kinda drunk right now, so please excuse the way i might come off here.

The winged helmets on ice are going into what seems like the most important series of the regular season. They're coming into it pretty pumped up from winning their second straight GLI with Inside College Hockey's new hidden Hobey Louie Caporusso. Judging from that and the "Hobey Baker" chants i heard at the Joe after the death of the Spartans it wouldn't surprise me if he got some consideration for the hockey version of the Heisman trophy.

The Wolverines are hoping to capitalize off a win two weeks ago against a team that was limping through their season. Miami is hoping to recover from a loss to a team that hadn't won in 56 days. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly Michigan ended that team's season last year in the game that sent them to the frozen four.

There are many factors in this game, not the least of which is vengance. Last year that was a big enough factor in getting the Wolverines over the Redhawks in Miami with three hard earned points, especially considering how crazy that second game was.

Other than that there are the scorers. Michigan boasts two 25 point getters in Aaron Palushaj (who played in the World Junior Championship) and Louie Caporusso (who did not). Miami has the leading scorer in the CCHA in Carter Camper with 27 points 12 of them from goals. Louie trails him in points but is considered more deadly with his shooting as 18 of his points come from goals. He will probably start and he will probably get the old Bobby Hull treatment, wherever he goes, the Redhawk defenders go with him. With him and probably Camper being constantly trailed both teams will have to look to other options that are more likely to be open.

Special teams will also be a factor, Miami has a decided advantage in that department with three of the top seven power play goal getters in the CCHA. Staying out of the box will be absolutely crucial for the Wolverines if they want to win. They have to be able to play the type of disciplined hockey that Red Berenson has been preaching since he came back to Ann Arbor from the pro ranks in 1984. They need to play like they are ready to give their coach a championship in his last season. In order to execute that latter statement they have to get at least two points out of this series in order for them to be taken seriously by the selection committee, and that will also go a long way to get the team to make a first round bye in the CCHA tournament for the umpteenth year. They need all the help they can get they can get it from everybody who's available.



Friday, November 14, 2008

A season lof AUUUUUUUUHGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH on the ice too.

Football has been having a terribly excruciating season this year and it has put every person who bleeds Maize and Blue this year through a lot of pain.

But what happened today with hockey was just ridiculous. I don't understand how you can out play a team like Western like that and still lose. They had twice as many shots, applied almost constant pressure to Riley Gill throughout the first two periods and yet they only got one goal. On top of that, you really have to convince me that Gill had that good of a game and is that good of a goalie, a lot of time their opportunities were good it's just that either the passes out in front ended up untouched or they shot the puck into traffic and it ran into a guy in the wrong jersey. Granted he came up big when he could, but you can't tell me Michigan's ineptness was not the cause of several fans in the student section angrily screaming obscenities after the game.

I thought hockey was supposed to be a diversion from the crap that has been going on the gridiron this year. But the winged helmets on ice are disappointing too at this point as well, Michigan just had their first home loss to a team that prior to tonight hadn't won a game in conference play. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. You can't go to Michigan and lose a home game to WESTERN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the subject of Billy Sauer i am truly torn, i have to ask, WHAT HAPPENED???????

Last year he was standing on his head to get the Wolverines to the frozen four. Now? He let's in a slap shot in that he apparently doesn't see. I don't get it what is it with him this year. Last year he didn't have many problems and aside from the Notre Dame game in the Frozen Four last year he had an excellent year, and in my opinion was the comeback player of the year, but this is just bizarre and i am swallowing my words as far as Billy Sauer is concerned.

And for those of you naysayers who say that the defense is depleted without Mitera and Kampfer, yes those losses are crucial, but that's no excuse for losing to WESTERN AT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!



Sunday, November 9, 2008

Changing of the Guard part 1

As the winged helmets on ice struggled on the road against Sarah Palin's money at work. I read the score in the game tracker that said that Michigan State lost 3-0 to that school in Columbus. This came as an absolute shock to me because normally the Spartans would take apart a team like the Nuts. But not only did the Bucks beat MSU on the scoreboard, they outshot them 49-21. While outshooting opponents has never been State's mantra, this was still pretty jarring, even with as good a goalie as Jeff Lerg is in goal, Michigan State let the Bucks let loose on him and eventually he let three in. On top of that, the next day OSU completed the sweep with a 3-1 victory in a much more even handed game.

This plus the fact that the Nanooks played Michigan ridiculously close in both games despite the fact that the Wolverines outshot them in both games, cause me to wonder whether there is going to be a changing of the guard in the CCHA. It makes me wonder if the intra state rivalry is going to carry as much weight as it has in the past. With the emergence of Notre Dame in the last two years under Jeff Jackson questions have been raised and a new quadrumvirate has arisen in Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio). Now with State starting to falter and Michigan having playing under .500 hockey on the road it raises questions about who the State of Michigan's top two college hockey programs are.

Well rest assured dear readers one of them is undoubtedly still Michigan, they just need to adjust to playing on the road better. This year they've been letting the Yost crowd carrying them through the early part of their home schedule. I understand that this has been the way it's been done in the past, but they'd better snap out of it by now because otherwise they're not going to get very far in the season if they can only win half their games on the road. It's a tough conference to play on the road in, but this is a problem that needs to be addressed and soon, and hopefully they will when they face the Lawson Lunatics this upcoming saturday after my dear friend Peter Saul will try to attempt the impossible and get a one camera broadcast of a hockey game this Friday against Western Michigan.



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.