Saturday, March 10, 2007

Final thoughts

Some final notes from the broadcast:

- FSN Detroit had a nice feature on Marquette being a hockey town with a perspective from Walt Kyle, Rob Lehtinen, Josh Hatinger, Pat Bateman and Dusty Collins. FSN did have one oops, which labeled Hatinger as a Marquette native. FSN Detroit...welcome to the Mining Journal's world when you diss Negaunee. Feel the Miner's wrath.

- Side note on Marquette being a hockey town, Marquette Senior High School fell in the MHSAA Division-I state hockey finals, 4-2. The Redmen gave up two, third period goals.

- Pat Bateman received the hit of the night from the FSN crew.

- Michigan will meet Michigan State at 'The Joe' while LSSU meets Notre Dame. The state of Ohio was shut out this season while the Irish and Lakers return after a hiatus. Notre Dame hasn't been to the CCHA Championships since being ousted on Thursday by Ohio State in 2004 during the then Super 6. And the Lakers...well it's been awhile (fill us in Pete).

- And finally, my thoughts from watching on TV...the Wolverines are good. Really good. They made the NMU defense look awful with guys getting open looks at the net all night. Michigan fans were saying that their team had a ton of open looks last night and I thought they were exaggerating. After watching tonight's game, I have to believe them.

It would be easy to hate on the Cats after being embarrassed in this series but they lost to a very good Michigan team. I was wrong when saying to Walt Kyle a few weeks back that Michigan is the team I'd like to play in the second round. Obviously the right choice would have been Miami, which was the last team Kyle wanted to play.

Wolverines sink dagger into Cats

Wolverine fans: you can pick up your hats at the entrance.

TJ Hensick is good. So are the Wolverines.

Hensick netted his third goal of the evening at the 14:13 mark of the final frame. He also had an assist in the game, running his season point total to 62.

'Hobey Baker' chants rang out from a fairly creative crowd. Three Wildcats in the sin bin equaled a 'yooper orgy' and when the outcome of the game was obvious, they told NMU to 'warm up the sled'.

This is the loudest I've ever heard an arena. Ever.

Long story short, I'm going to go get on the next bus back to Marquette. See you in my dreams, Wolverines.

Michigan wins the game 8-3 and takes the series two games to none.

It's been real, it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun

Walt Kyle's thoughts during the second intermission:

Shireen Saski: How do you stop the Michigan offense?

Walt Kyle: End the game.

That pretty much sums up the night right now.

Despite the Cats not heading to 'The Joe' this season, the Upper Peninsula will still be represented. The Lake Superior State Lakers upset the Miami RedHawks, completing a road "holy shit" upset sweep of the third seeded RedHawks. If the Irish hold on, the Lakers will be facing their former coach in the CCHA semifinals - Jeff Jackson, now coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

On a positive note to end the season: The NMU power play is finally working as the Cats make it a 7-3 game. Better late than never I guess.

Side note: Mike Santorelli's father should be the one dancing because his son will be getting a very nice check this week or the next. Johnson will have to wait another few weeks.

Second Period Recap

Two things that the Wildcats couldn't afford to do entering tonights contest?

1) Play catch-up
2) Spend the night in the box

They are doing both at this point. At the second intermission, Michigan leads the Wildcats 7-2. After an ugly rebound goal by TJ Hensick, Zaniboni was replaced by Stewart in the net.

The Wolverines were soon the beneficiaries of a 5-on-3 advantage and they capitalized, netting their sixth goal of the night, a one-timer from Kolarik at Stewie's stick side.

Then, with under 30 seconds remaining, the Wolverines came down the ice with a 2-on-1. Kolarik made a perfect pass to set up the one-timer to Cogliano, who put Michigan up 7-2.

While a three goal lead at the first intermission is nothing, this is bad. NMU has six shots on the game and only two in the second period. The 'Cats can't gain control of the puck from the Michigan forwards and even the Wolverine defense is out-muscling them now.

NMU has scored five goals in a game four times this year (twice in exhibition play). They'll need to do it in the third period if they even want overtime.

Side note: I just watched Jack Johnson's dad dance for two minutes. Please tell me that this man's son isn't going to get $800,000 next year. This isn't right.

The beauty of replay

The greatness (or maybe sadness) of watching this game on television is that I get to see the replays over and over again, allowing me to dwell on each Michigan goal and how Northern let it happen.

The first two goals were not Bill Zaniboni's fault. The Cats turned the puck over in their own zone on the first score, something the Wildcats have done a lot late this season. The second score came after Matt Maunu failed to see Jack Johnson sitting right in front of the net.

The next two scores should have been stopped by Zaniboni though the NMU defense should not have been allowed to be set up for the pick. Zaniboni had plenty of time to see the shot. he just wasn't quick enough. Fourth goal came off the faceoff and Zaniboni was not ready for it.

Northern has two power-play goals now and with Billy Sauer in net for Michigan, a three-goal deficit is nothing, hence why Michigan coach Red Berenson was not celebrating during the intermission interview.

The Darin Olver to Pat Bateman goal is something the Cats have been missing all year. Olver set Bateman up perfectly in front of the net. Now in the second period, Mike Santorelli did what he does best - score pretty goals. Zaniboni had a nice pass to set him up.

First Period Recap

You can't let a Michigan forward skate untouched to the net. More times than not, he will score.

Andrew Cogliano did just that at the 13:59 mark of the first period, flipping a goal over a sprawling Zaniboni. The score gave Michigan a 3-1 lead and murdered all the momentum that NMU had grabbed after a power-play goal of their own just 80 seconds earlier.

Michigan opened up the scoring with goals from TJ Hensick and Jack Johnson in the first half of the frame. The Hensick goal came after a bad defensive turnover around the net, while the Johnson marker came during a four-on-four stint.

NMU had just missed a golden opportunity after Wolverine netminder Billy Sauer coughed up a rebound. Michigan secured the puck and took it the length of the ice, scoring immediately.

Then, with less than two minutes remaining in the period, Kevin Porter scored his 20th goal of the season straight off the draw, which was won by TJ Hensick.

4-1 Michigan after one period

It took us 60 minutes to get to this point last night...

Zaniboni has looked shaky in this first period, stopping 6 of ten shots faced and outside of the first 2:30 of the game, Michigan has been in complete control, flying up and down the ice.

Northern was out-shot 10-4 in the period.

The crowd is perpetually chanting 'we want Stewart'. I honestly wonder why.

What is more annoying?

I, Matt Wellens, will be joining Kyle on TSS II tonight, giving the perspective that most of you have - the television viewer.

First question, having watched a little of CCHA All-Access, is how does FSN Detroit make any money off of the CCHA? The only advertisements are CCHA promos and adds for Olympia Entertainment events at the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena.

This is getting more annoying than the Pepsi "Kick in the Cherries" crap on The Bear. I can't believe I'm actually glad to see Charter pipe in at the wrong time with its lame commercials.

Having worked in broadcasting, my guess is the CCHA is paying for these games to be broadcast, which means the universities are paying for this, which means you are paying for to watch tonight's game with tuition and taxes.

Also, the host of CCHA All-Access called the Omaha coach Steve Kemp. His name is Mike Kemp. Nice job kid.