It was a solid weekend for the hockey team, as they swept Lake Superior State 6-2 and 2-1. Craig and I (with an assist from Tim of The Blog That Yost Built) live-blogged Friday's game for MGoBlog, and then on Saturday night I took the helm following the basketball game over at Varsity Blue (thanks to Paul and Tim over there for that privilege).
Of the two games, Friday's was decidedly more entertaining. The first period was a fairly equal one, with Lake State getting a good number of scoring opportunities on one end, while Turnbull and Wohlberg were working in tandem against Lake State goalie Pat Inglis on the other. I started to get flashbacks to last year's Friday night game between the two sides at Yost, and that was further increased when Lake State scored first, only for Michigan to get a late goal for a tie game at the first intermission. In '08, it was Gysbers with a deflected puck and Chad Kolarik with the equalizer. In '09, Hogan couldn't get across the crease fast enough to keep Will Acton's shot out of the net. With just seconds left in the period and on the penalty kill, Matt Rust stole the puck at the Michigan blue line, sped up the ice, cut around a defender and dragged across the crease to cap off his great effot with a goal. Only six seconds were left on the clock. The resemblance to '08 ends with the first period. Last season, Kolarik scored 4 goals (on the night before he suffered that hamstring injury on the 5-3 kill), but this time it was more of a team effort. Just over a minute into the second frame, Turnbull fought off a Laker for a puck behind the net and fed Wohlberg a great scoring opportunity which he capitalized on. 30 seconds later, Winnett won a face-off and got the puck to Glendening to really break the game open. We got the powerplay going when Wohlberg sent a pass up to Langlais, who found Caporusso across the ice. Early in the third, Lebler took a slashing call, but Lake State took their own hooking penalty to make it 4-on-4. Rust had a phenomenal shift. He carried the puck in, dug it out of the corner in the Lake State zone, and then took Hagelin's feed and deposited it in the back of the net. A few minutes later, the Lakers capitalized on one of their numerous power play opportunities when Rick Schofield wristed one past Hogan. After Caporusso made his way out of the penalty box for the second time in the third, Winnett hit him on a breakout pass for a pretty goal. Check out a longer take here from Yost Built.
The Saturday night game was, honestly, kind of boring. It didn't help that I was feeling exhausted by the end of the first period, having kept up with the basketball live-blog. The first period was disorganized on both sides, but the Lakers kept applying pressure. Finally, Michigan had flooded one side of their own zone, so when the rebound came off Bryan Hogan, nobody was anywhere close to former Wolverine Zac MacVoy, who tapped it in. But fortune turned remarkably quickly on the other end. Carl Hagelin dug the puck out of the corner near where the band now sits, carried it up the boards, circled across, and fired a rocket past Inglis. Just like that, tie game again. In the second, Palushaj took a shot which Inglis took care of, but the rebound landed right on Lebler's stick and he made no mistake about that one. 2-1 Michigan, and that's the way things ended. The rest of the game featured a lot of special teams time where neither Michigan nor LSSU could capitalize and a couple questionable calls at the end which went our way.
Next up is Nebraska-Omaha, who just had a brutal weekend against Western. The Broncos went into the Qwest Center and took UNO to the shootout the first night (pulling out the win there), then shutting out the Mavericks 5-0 on Saturday. UNO has had a lot of trouble putting the puck in the net since January 10: Their high-water mark was when they scored 2 against Miami on January 23. Other than that, they've suffered two shutouts and five games where they could muster only one goal.
Remember the 2007 tournament, where we won just a little too much for our own good and instead of the Grand Rapids regional, we were sent out west to the Regional of Death? A similar situation may be brewing and I hope to have a separate post on that up later tonight.