Friday, December 05, 2008

Liveblog: Hockey vs. Sparty, 12/5/2008

Michigan seems to have opened things up with a spring in their step, getting some shots in on Lerg early. Turnbull had a nice open-ice hit on a frosh defenseman. Man, Lebler had a couple of great looks at the net, but Lerg was tremendously quick. A lot of the action is centered on the corner where the zamboni doors are. Damn. Caporusso tried a slick move to get Wohlberg a tap-in, but couldn't do it, as he was running out of space in front of the net.

And here we have the first dirty Spartan play of the night. Caporusso got railed in the back by Gentile. He was about a yard away, and his head went into the boards. Dangerous, filthy play. Scooter wastes no time in settling that score and a full-fledged brawl breaks out. Caporrusso was mixing it up with Daultan Leveille. Gentile should be gone, no question. 5:00 + DQ. He's at least getting the misconduct tonight.

Anyway, they line up to drop the puck with Michigan having a one-man advantage. Nobody can find a seam, then Naurato makes a bad pass that lets Crowder come down the other way, but it isn't dangerous. The first shot is a weak one from the point that Lerg handles easily. Summers drives the net and tries to tuck it short side, but Lerg holds the post. Dangerous pass on the give and go from Naurato back to Czarnik, but it's just a broken up chance, not anything more serious. Sparty's in all of our passing lanes. Only a minute left on the PP. GAHHHHHHH. Giving up a 2-on-1 with a puck that hopped outside the blueline. Llewellyn got tripped up by the linesman trying to handle a pass back to the line from Wohlberg. Vaughan took the passing lane away, but Hogan couldn't stop Schepke's shot. MSU 1, Michigan 0.

OHH. Loose puck right in front of Lerg and Wohlberg roofs it just over the bar. He lifted Petry's stick and had it sitting there. Oh well.

6:00 break. The ice is so entirely tilted in our favor, but we're not getting too many really dangerous looks. We're being kept along the boards with bad angles and clogged lanes. Need to get more shots on net.

Turbull just destroyed Adam Henderson. A weak shot, Lerg covers up, Winnett skates in...vanilla stuff. And he gets jumped. Turnbull gets in the middle of it too. Matt Crandell's heading to the box with Turnbull. Scooter got a good look at the net, but Lerg handles it. Caporusso tries to find Palushaj in front of the net, but the pass goes behind him. After a Sparty possession, we get a change. Summers does well to handle Gazley coming up on an intercepted pass. On the other end, we get an odd stoppage in play.

Things are starting to get chippy out there, you might say. Players on both sides are trying to make the big open-ice hit. Crowder goes to the box for something. Someone for Michigan went too, because we haven't actually gotten serious about this yet.

Palushaj made a nice move, knocking the puck off the boards and around Crandell, making a move in on Lerg, but he's held on the play.

Well, here we are now. Another scuffle breaks out. Tropp gets a subtle elbow and then goes off on Wohlberg, who really doesn't know when to quit. We only have 1:40 left in the period. We're going to continue 5-on-5, but Tropp is given a misconduct. BAH. Puck loose in front of Lerg, and we're getting a weak call for goalie interference on Palushaj. 1:00 left and 1:40 on our PK.

NICE hip check by Vaughan, absolutely taking his man (Tim Buttery) right off the puck and breaking up an MSU possession. Hogan is sharp off a draw to make a save. And at the end of the period, Summers takes a chop and shrugs it off, rather than kick off Round 4.

Teddy bear toss! Woooo!

MSU doesn't threaten on the remainder of its powerplay. Fardig levels Nill in the neutral zone. Michigan has numbers momentarily, but Sparty catches up. Another interference call. This is idiotic. Palushaj again. I fail to see how it's a penalty when he's CROSS-CHECKED into him b--


Summers creates a turnover, Rust jumps on it, and feeds Summers crashing the net trailed a beaten Petry. He backhands it behind Lerg and we're tied at one.

Anyway. Turek cross-checked Palushaj and Palushaj went to the box because Jeff Lerg is made of porcelain.

Fardig gets a nice block, as MSU is still on the power play. MSU is trying--- Ooooh, nice stop by Lerg. Michigan is flying up-ice, Wohlberg has his man beaten and Lerg goes post to post to slam the door when he's fed by Summers.

Penalty over. Dull, this game is not. Sooner or later Wohlberg's going to come up with something.

And he intercepts a pass and feeds Palushaj, but Lerg is in position for a stop without too much danger. Seriously? Again? These stoppages are mostly the back of the net lifting up. Puck goes over the boards and we're at the break with 13:37 left in the second.

Fardig was left alone in the slot with the puck, but Lerg was hugging the post. MSU comes back the other way, but the Wolverines are quick enough for Burlon to catch up and take away the tap in. Sprague ends up in the net.

YESSSSS!!! Wohlberg!!! The Caporusso line is buzzing, and Palushaj slides the puck across the slot to Wohlberg, who just gets his stick under him to knock it past Lerg. Michigan 2, MSU 1.

Whoa. Pateryn absolutely destroys Sturges in front of the bench. Offsides, and we're at the break at 9:23.

Naurato gets surprisingly good composite on a rolling puck inside the blue line, but Lerg has a clear sight line and stops it. The #1 line is out again. Burlon kicks it low and Palushaj stickhandles, looking for space or a man. Wohlberg skates out from behind the net and puts a shot off the goalpost. They hold it in, Caporusso skates out from behind the net into the slot, draws a crowd, and backhands the tap-in over to Palushaj. AWESOMENESS. Michigan 3, MSU 1.

And we're getting all fighty again. Rust is coming down through the slot as Lerg is jumping out to cover the puck. Rust is going to the box, and this is more deserved than either of Palushaj's, IMHO. Two Wolverines in the box, so it looks like we'll be down a man, with Czarnik joining Rust. It's Petry in the box for MSU.

MSU controls off the draw, but the shot from the point is deflected wide. Oh, Hogan. Schepke's shot is dangerous, and Hogan gives up a weak rebound as he's lying on his face. He gets up just enough to deny the follow-up from the next Spartan. Yikes. Why isn't this game over now? 0:30 left in the power play. Hogan makes a save though screened. Gazley has a good look, but Hogan denies him. By far this is the best pressure MSU has had all night. Penalty expires. 5:00 left. MSU still has a buzz from their effort on the power play. Kind of a dangerous feeling here.

Michigan steadies the ship, and we make it to the break when Lerg covers up.

Look, that was dumb. Lebler, you're a moron. Instead of taking the puck and putting it deep into the MSU zone, he elects to rail Ben Warda from behind and it's an obvious 5:00 penalty. I thought he'd taken care of that imbecilic tendency after last year. He's no stranger to this!

MSU isn't buzzing the way they were before just yet, but they're getting solid chances. I hate, hate, hate such stupid penalties. MSU icing. 35.5 seconds left in the period, 2:54 in the Lebler call. We make it to the end of the period without further significant action.

The FSN penalty clock isn't on, but I think we've got about 1:19 left in the powerplay. We're doing an excellent job thus far of holding strong and denying access to the offesnive zone. A lot of long clears. About 30 left now. Llewellyn hits Winnett who launches a long shot that Lerg handles without trouble. MSU's been better on draws than you'd expect. Hagelin plays the puck back into our zone to kill the rest of the penalty. There's some trouble clearing, but we get it out. Another easy shot on Lerg and he freezes again.

Caporusso gets called for what may or may not be offsides. Turnbull came up lame on his last shift and uses this to stretch out.

The pace is starting to pick up. Michigan gets soem opportunities, but Lerg handles the shot and the follow-up. Llewellyn emulates Scooter and gets a solid hip-check on Turek. Petry dogs it a little and the ref doesn't give him the icing. After a stoppage, we find out that Turnbull blocked a shot with his right ankle. Ouch.

Caporusso does some beautiful stick-handling to bring the puck all the way up-ice and is rewarded, as it looks like a Spartan is headed to the box. It's Sprague for tripping. We're at the 14:00 break.

Ooh, and we're getting a 5-3 powerplay. 1:23 left in Sprague's penalty, and Turek is impounded for cross-checking. Caporusso, Hagelin, and Palushaj are out. Burlon takes a shot from the blue line, then sneaks in, but his shot is wide and bounces to Lerg. Hagelin gets called for a crease violation and the puck goes out of the zone. MSu's done well with the 5-3, it's now 5-4. Turnbull is back out and looking OK. MSU gets another clear, and this PK is over for them. Turek comes out looking for the puck. Turnbull dumps it into the MSU zone and we get a change. Winnett finds the puck at his feet, can't control it for a shot, but corrals it and passes across to Summers. His shot is wide, but goes RIGHT to Wohlberg for his second goal of the night. EXACTLY what we needed there; extend the lead in the third. We've got about 9:00 left in this one as we head to the break. Michigan 4, MSU 1.

WE ARE A HOCKEY SCHOOL! Everyone follows Turnbull as he gets the puck from behind the net. He kicks up to Pateryn, who gets it to Naurato all alone at the edge of the circle, and it's Michigan 5, MSU 1.

Comley takes a time-out. Lerg was totally hung out to dry on that last one. He hasn't given up a single bad or even mediocre goal this game. It's the rest of the team letting him down. Palmisano will replace him in goal.

Obvious tripping call on Gazley, taking down Rust at the blue line. This could get out of hand. Caporusso is the object of a knee-on-knee hit, and he comes up limping. Could be a sell job. At least, that's what I'm hoping. So we're 5-3 for a while. Michigan is content to do nothing but make passes, with this game well in hand. 5-4 now. Palmisano makes a stop on a shot through traffic. Louie's back out there. He looks fine. Penalty over, 4:30 left.

WE WANT MOOOOOOOORE GOALS! Burlon drives the net and gets his first collegiate goal. Michigan 6, MSU 1.

And we take a roughing call with 2:35 left. OK.

Rust gets in the middle of a pass across the goal mouth to break up an MSU chance. I really want to hold this score for the rest of the game. Fardig clears it, and he's been his usual bulldog self on the PK tonight. And I'm pretty sure the crowd just got a "You're welcome" after we crossed the 1:00 mark.

Michigan runs off the last 55 seconds without incident. We haven't beaten MSU this badly since 1996, when it was an 8-1 margin.

Quick thoughts: Summers was a beast on both ends of the ice. That first goal, the shortie, that got us moving, and it was a result of the hard work he'd been doing all game. The Caporusso-Palushaj-Wohlberg line was the other standout tonight for the Wolverines. Wohlberg, in particular, looked fired up for his first game against the Spartans and came away with a well-earned pair of goals and it could've been more. Don't have a letdown tomorrow, boys. I'm sure Hogan's getting the start.

The only real minuses were on special teams. The power play couldn't crack MSU with a pair of 5-on-3's and a 5:00 major. And on the other side, Lebler's penalty for hitting from behind was indefensible. If Gentile gets a DQ, so should Lebler. Tomorrow's going to be interesting.

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