It's a Purps-centric "NSN" crew tonight. Apparently there's a revenge factor. Michigan stole their dream? Really? And would winning a non-conference regular season game really be an equalizer?
Ouch, Ted Cook is out with a broken hand. That's rough for the Purple Eagles.
The new uniforms look sharp and the regular hockey band is in for this Thursday night game.
Apparently Niagara isn't intimidated by this kind of atmosphere. Good to know, Walrus In a Suit. Hogan gets the start tonight, as Yost Built anticipated.
Rust wins the faceoff, but the puck is quickly tipped out of play. Michigan wins the next one and moves it quickly into the Purps' zone. Palushaj tries to find someone in front of hte net, but fails. Back and fort play again. Finally, Turnbull gts a near-breakaway and a shot on net, but Niagara's Anderson got a weak-ish hook on him, so the anemic powerplay gets a shot. Michigan gains the zone. Pateryn has a sharp-angle shot that nearly goes in, and then Turnbull thinks he has one, but Pagliero kept it in front of him. They clear the zone, but Palushaj comes back in and nearly snipes one.
Michigan's been dominating on the draw. Oooh. Pass to Hagelin from behind the net went to the wrong side or else that was a sure goal. Clear. The power play expires. A little pressure, but Michigan is flying. Wohlberg tries a centering pass from the slot on the rush, but his intended target is covered.
After a clear, Michigan tries to take it out of their zone, but a turnover at the blue line stops that. It comes to nothing, but on the other end Summers has his shot blocked and it turns into a rush beautifully broken up by a sprawling Pateryn.
14:00 left. Oooh. A Purple Eagle goes down and it's a turnover in their own zone. Palushaj has been very active and again Pagliero has to step up to stop him.
Moran on Niagara goes down on a knee-to-knee hit that isn' called. It looks bad as he crawls to the bench.
Elmblad's playing tonight, as we should expect. He's paired with
Llewellyn Pateryn, it looks like.
Pateryn gave it away on the blue line, but managed to poke it away again.
Sergott and Hall are the refs tonight.
Niagara player has lost a stick and Michigan has a great triangle set up behind the net. Rust has the puck slip on him as he tries to jam it home, which quickly dissolves into a race between Vaughan and an Eagle for the puck in the Michigan zone. The Eagle wins it, but Vaughan is on him before he can do anything.
10:13 left. After Pagliero freezes a puck, Niagara manages to get a clear and come to the other end of the ice. Hogan makes his first real stop of the night, hugging the post on a shot from near the left circle. And we reach our first break.
Breaks are quick tonight, almost as if there weren't any TV coverage. Elmblad takes down a Niagara player on what should've been a clear tripping penalty and gets away with it. Seriously? Nobody noticed that? Instead, Niagara is called for a hand pass.
Hogan makes the save on a shot that keeps rising on him, as play just kind of dissolves for a while after that. Eventually, Rust dekes a guy and gets a shot on net, but Pagliero handles it with relative ease.
Vaughan still needs work on his shot.
Niagara gets a 4-on-2 working against Michigan, but the (first) trailer apparently didn't expect the puck. Michigan gets a clear, but Niagara comes back. Caporusso goes down in a mass of bodies in front of the net, and Hogan makes the first stop, but the puck pops clear to a wide open man to the left of the net who gets about as easy a goal as you can score. Seriously, Caporusso was basically setting a pick on Turnbull, who absolutely should've gone to the other side of the net when there were already 3 white jerseys on the right. He left #11 and Baco wide open and completely unmarked.
Faceoff to Hogan's right won by Michigan, but Niagara's clearing pass finds Baco again alone on the blue line. Hogan makes two stops on him before Elmblad gets over. Vaughan was still way up on the rush, hustling back. Niagara's buzzing around the net and Hogan has to be sharp to avoid a 2-0 deficit. Icing on Michigan when it's finally cleared.
Turnbull takes a 1-2 but manages to get a decent shot off. There's some fuss around the net, but Hagelin's stick is tied up.
Michigan's top line comes in three-abreast, but the shot is directed up over the net. Less than a minute to go. Icing on Michigan waved off. Ciraulo playing tonight, Niagara having trouble clearing. Hogan has trouble on a shot that goes wide anyway. He freezes the puck with :08 left and hangs onto a sharp shot from the point with :04 left. And so the period ends. 1-0, Niagara. Michigan started well, taking the play to Niagara and flying down the ice, but that dissolved by the midpoint of the period. NSN gets it right that Palushaj has been outplaying everyone else, but our defense has looked scatterbrained at times and it feels like we're pressing.
The intermission report is focused on defenseman Armando Scarlato who apparently is a musician specializing in Euro-sounding acoustic guitar/keyboards-based rock. Niagara then runs a chemistry commercial that could've been straight out of my junior year of high school. A balloon full of hydrogen! Let's put a marker in liquid nitrogen!
Meanwhile, in 2004 it's tied 7-7 in the Michigan-MSU game. Stanton's still in the game and State is on the march. The Big Ten Network so often has audio that sounds like it was recorded inside an oil drum.
Second period. Summers gets the first shot of the period, from the blue line, but Pagliero handles it easily. The Wolverines are owning on faceoffs, but Niagara's been solid on defense and Michigan hasn't been able to dictate play. After a change, Czarnik tries the wraparound, but can't put it in.
Niagara knocks down a pass in their own zone, but can't clear. The shot is weak. Ciraulo tries a pass to Glendening in the slot, but he can't get a good shot on it with a man on him. A shot from the point is redirected by Elmblad, but there isn't a lot of velocity on it and it skips along the ice into Pagliero's pads.
Michigan gives up a stupid 2-on-1, but doesn't get burned on it. The shooter skates into the corner and gets uselessly hit from behind by Glendening, who picks up a 5:00 major and gets tossed from the game.
Quick clear by Llewellyn. Michigan's keeping the diamond with a lot of discipline, and gets a rush out of it that ends with Miller getting dumped into the net. Could've gotten a tripping call to even it up for a while, but Sergott and Hall aren't calling much tonight. After another Llewellyn clear, Hagelin steals it in the Niagara zone and wastes some more time. Niagara's getting nothing, and then Michigan gets a 2-on-1! Wohlberg slips it across to Winnett, but it's to Winnett's backhand and he can only muster a weak shot on Pagliero. Wohlberg breaks up another pass at the Niagara blue line and gets hauled down. On the delayed penalty, Caporusso to Llewellyn, but he can't get a shot off and Niagara stops play. Michigan has looked so much more focused and in control on this PK than any time since the opening whistle.
Michigan keeps attacking during the 4-on-4. Maddeningly, Turnbull can't bang home a rebound that goes across the slot. The Niagara penalty expires and Michigan kills off the penalty, but Niagara gets a dangerous opportunity with a loose puck on the blue line. A rebound goes right off Hogan and onto a Niagara stick, but he nearly whiffs the shot and the net is knocked off. Yikes.
Michigan looked so dominant with that PK. Winnett is absolutely hauled down in front of the Niagara net. Annesley fell down after knocking a puck down with his hand and Winnett was almost alone. Pass deflected and Hagelin has to chase. He flies in down the left wing. Palushaj dekes a man and Palushaj takes a useless hooking penalty as Rocco takes a wildly obvious dive. Gah.
Caporrusso comes up with the puck. Turnbull gets dumped in a corner and Niagara comes up. Hogan makes a couple of sharp saves. Niagara looks like they have heavier shots than Michigan tonight. Hogan sees another one and hangs on. Niagara's getting traffic in front as Hogan freezes another one from the point. After an icing, Niagara wins the faceoff and gets off a quick shot and then they're on the powerplay, peppering Hogan. Hagelin 1-on-1 vs. Annesley, but he can't get a good look.
Penalty expired. Michigan gets a 3-2 and once again Niagara dumps a Wolverine to the ice rather than give up the shot. This time it's Caporusso.
BOOM! Langlais to Hagelin, back to Langlais, over to Palushaj and he snipes it home. NSN walrus didn't like the call; argues that Sullivan barely touched him and it should've been goalie interference. No matter, it's a 1-1 game now.
Wohlberg takes the short side on his shot from the left circle, but Pagliero has it blanketed.
Ciraulo's weak pass to Naurato just sits on the blue line and Niagara picks it off. Hate that.
Niagara's picking it up, but Turnbull dumps it down into the Niagara zone for a change. They've been doing a much better job the last couple minutes of keeping the puck in the Michigan zone, but Vaughan slide the puck from the corner to Winnett near the half-boards who gives it right off to a streaking Caporusso and it's suddenly a 3-on-2! Caporusso gives it to Vaughan who of course gives it right back. Pagliero makes the first save, but the puck flutters to the right side of the net and Caporusso just has to skate around and stuff it in to give Michigan the 2-1 lead.
Michigan's been working a lot harder this period and finally the pucks are going in. 3:10 left and a Niagara shot is deflected into the netting.
The Sabres owner donated $10M for a new science building and got a new Niagara sweatshirt. You'd think they'd at least give him a hoodie.
Czarnik, that was idiotic. 2:33 left in the period, he takes a swing at the head of a man he just dumped on the ground. Roughing, contact to the head. ROBBERY! Vaughan was on the ground between the corner and the net and Llewellyn wasn't in position for the man comin into the slot. Hogan flat out robs him with a quick glove save. Niagara wins the faceoff...and what?!!! From behind the redline, some prayer of a shot goes off Hogan's back and into the net. Such a frustrating goal to give up with 1:29 left in the period. Walrus calls it a "thinking man's goal". No. Praying man's goal.
The goal's given Niagara a spring to theri step. Michigan gets caught on a change and Langlais hacks at someone's stick. His breaks and he gets called for the slash. Michigan clears. :15 left. Hogan freezes a shot from the point with :03 left. Play expires without a shot. Gah, what a down ending to a period of quality hockey from Michigan.
Niagara's AD is interviewed outside of Yost and then they go inside, talking about growing the program
Niagara starts the 3rd on the power play. PK looks a little more disciplined than things got at the end of the 2nd. Michigan kills it easily. Wohlberg steals the puck deep in the Niagara zone but can't get it past Pagliero. Caporusso knocks a pass down jsut outside the Niagara blue line, but Niagara manages a clear. Their pass to a guy down the ice is wide. Hagelin dekes around a man but Pagliero is hugging the post on the shot from the boards.
The faceoff in the Niagara zone shoots straight back to Hogan. As Michigan starts bringing it out, Niagara recovers, but is immediately whistled for a high stick to the head. 2:00. Palushaj behind the net to Hagelin in the slot, but he wasn't expecting it and Pagliero makes the save. 1:15 left after a Niagara clear. Turnbull gets a nice shot, but it's blocked. Clear. :50 left. Caporusso's pass to Turnbull hops over his stick and out of the zone. Michigan has dominated possession. Caporusso at the top of the left circle sends a weak pass into the right slot to Naurato. The puck kicks out directly in front of the net, where Caporusso has walked right in and he sends it home for goal #2 W00t! Michigan leads, 3-2.
Vaughan unleashes his best shot of the night, but Pagliero handles it and the puck kicks back out past the blue line. Ciraulo takes a shot that Pagliero handles. 13:37 left, commercial sign.
Caporusso gets a great pass on his stick in the left slot, but there's a man draped all over him. The band gets some love, as does the Yost crowd, as Bullwinkle is played.
Czarnik lowers the boom on his man and breaks up a Niagara possession in the MIchigan zone. Palushaj snakes a pass from the corner across the Niagara zone to Llewellyn, but his shot doesn't get through. Rust tries to find Palushaj coming down to the net, but can't. Palushaj dances around two men out at the point, but his off-balance shot is wide.
The Turnbull line almost has a sure goal, but Niagara falls on the pass from the red line next to the net across the crease. Rust blocks a shot and then, from his seat, sends it out of the zone.
Michigan gets away with one as two defenders collide in front of the net. Suddenly, Wohlberg's in alone on Pagliero with a defender chasing. Pags goes down, Wohlberg lifts the puck, and hits the outside of the post. So close. We need an insurance marker.
Pateryn gives up a bad turnover in the Michigan zone, but it's recovered withouty incident after Hogan makes a solid save. Finally a clear and both teams change. Hagelin gets the puck stolen after skating in. Hogan goes down, the puck is loose, but the defense covers for him. Whistle. Summers catches Consorti up around the jaw with his stick flailing after a puck, but Consorti's going to the box for the unnecessary sell on the call. Definitely "embellishment." Even the Walrus agrees.
6:00 left, :55 in the penalties. Rust takes a shot, the rebound sits there, but Niagara knocks it away. They have some trouble getting out of the zone, but finally do. Michigan's only sending a pair on the attack. They get a change. Niagara ices the puck as they try to get a change. Oops.
4:39 remaining. Wait, what? The faceoff is in the Michigan zone. I don't know what that whistle was for, then. Langlais rifles one across from the point and Dowd gets called for a crosscheck. He thinks Winnett helped a little on that one as he goes to the box. Michigan collects a clear and Rust heads up. He goes cross-ice to Czarnik, who feeds him right back and Pagliero is razor-sharp on the save.
Langlais bombs another one from the point. Hagelin adjusts, tries to snipe one, but Pagliero has a good line of sight on the puck and makes the save. NSN is incredulous that Palushaj can get away with some extracurriculars. Michigan keeps control of the puck in the Niagara ends as the penalty ticks down. Niagara clears and the penalty expires. Michigan brings it in offsides with 2:03 left in the game.
Niagara ices the puck at 1:50 on a missed breakout. They collect behind their net and try to come up at 1:30. Winnett gets it back and takes a shot form the point. Once Niagara clears the zone, Pagliero heads for the bench. Michigan gets a clear, but can't follow it up. Llewellyn clears, Hagelin streaks down to recover it, but can't get it out to Palushaj. However, Niagara can't clear, Palushaj tracks it down, settles it and buries the empty-netter. That should be the game, folks. 4-2, Wolverines!
Nothing much of note happens in the remaining few seconds, and Michigan finishes off the victory.