Congratulations to the Michigan Wolverines, the 2010-11 CCHA regular-season champions! Hear them sing the fastest version of “Hail to the Victors!” ever.
As UM head coach Red Berenson says, “That’s hockey.”
Entering the weekend one point behind first-place Notre Dame, the Wolverines took care of what they needed to by sweeping Northern Michigan on the road. Now they owe Western Michigan a big muffin basket; it was the Broncos’ 2-0 shutout of the Fighting Irish in South Bend that provided the room for the Wolverines to move into first place.
Michigan-Northern Michigan. The Wolverines never trailed in the weekend, winning 3-2 and 5-0. Carl Hagelin had yet another game-winning goal at 13:15 in the first period, his sixth of the season. With six minutes left in the game, goaltender Shawn Hunwick told the bench he wanted out so that senior Bryan Hogan could play part of the last game of the regular season. Since Hogan made three saves, Hunwick’s gesture was especially noble – he lost a shutout because of it. Says a lot about the kid. Michigan gets a bye in the first round. The Wildcats finish in sixth place and will host a first-round playoff series.
Notre Dame-Western Michigan. The Fighting Irish were one team in control of their own destiny going into the weekend. After beating the Broncos, 3-2, on the road, all the Irish had to do was come home and win a game. They didn’t, and they finish in second place, two points behind Michigan. They still earn a bye in the first round – as do the Broncos, who will host fifth-place Ferris State in the second round. WMU goaltender Jerry Kuhn had 51 saves on the weekend and 16 in the final period of the shutout, including stopping ND’s T.J. Tynan on a penalty shot.
I need to clarify something here, too. In last week’s picks blog, I reported that Wolverine Carl Hagelin said that WMU head coach Jeff Blashill told him in the handshake line that the Broncos would get a win against the Irish this past weekend. What Hagelin said, after the Wolverines beat the Broncos 5-4 in overtime Feb. 19, is this: “Talked to the Western Coach after the game and he said that they’re going to get a win next weekend.” That came directly from the post-game press conference, and I was told by another reporter that it was meant in context of the post-game handshake. Blashill contacted me to tell me that he’s never spoken to Carl Hagelin. Both Blashill and Hagelin are class acts, and it would be unfortunate for anyone to construe otherwise based on a strange little tidbit that made its way into one reporter’s blog.
Miami-Lake Superior. The RedHawks – who couldn’t have finished anywhere but third place – went to Sault Ste. Marie and manhandled the Lakers, winning 8-1 and 4-1. Carter Camper, Reilly Smith and Justin Vaive each had two-goal nights on Friday; Smith added a goal on Saturday and Andy Miele scored each night. Multiple RedHawks had multiple-point games. Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp split time, each allowing a goal. Kevin Kapalka and fellow freshman Niels Erik Ravn each allowed four goals in the 8-1 game, with Ravn replacing Kapalka in the third period. Miami, who has a bye in the first round of playoffs, is peaking at the perfect time. The Lakers finish eighth place and will host the Buckeyes next weekend.
Ferris State-Ohio State. The Bulldogs did what they needed to do, too, in Columbus last weekend – while the Buckeyes did not. Heading into the weekend, FSU was in sixth place with 38 points; OSU was in ninth place with 36 points. Five points would have propelled the Buckeyes into fourth place. Instead, OSU finishes in ninth and will travel to Sault Ste. Marie to face the Lakers for a best-of-three, first-round series. The Bulldogs took two points from the Buckeyes on Thursday with a win and extra shootout point. Friday, FSU won 3-1, with Kyle Bonis’ game-winning goal coming at 18:02 in the third. OSU’s Cal Heeter had 65 saves for practically nought in two games.
Bowling Green-Michigan State. Perhaps the most boring series I’ve seen all season. Competent hockey by both teams; the Falcons didn’t capitalize on chances. When BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron called a timeout near the end of the third period Friday, I cursed him for prolonging the game. Oh, and the Spartans swept, 2-1 and 2-0, their only weekend sweep of the season. Saturday’s game was better than Friday’s, mostly because MSU’s team wanted to send out head coach Rick Comley with a good one. Neither Will Yanakeff nor Drew Palmisano were tested; each stopped 16-of-17. Poor BGSU goaltender Andrew Hammond. Really good player who gets no help – made 54 saves on 58 shots on the weekend. The Spartans knew they’d finish in 10th, the Falcons knew they’d finish in 11th. Now they know where they’re going: MSU travels to Alaska and BGSU plays Northern.
Alaska vs. Alaska-Anchorage. Congratulations to the Nanooks for successfully defending the Governor’s Cup. UAF won 5-1 at home Friday and lost 4-1 in Anchorage Saturday, so the hardware came down to a shootout – something familiar to the Nanooks, not so much to the Seawolves. Freshman Colton Beck and sophomore Andy Taranto each scored in the shootout that the Nanooks won 2-0 following Saturday’s contest. No surprise that UAF went with those two, plus Kevin Petovello, when it came down to it. In Friday’s game, Petovello scored the tying goal in the second period, and UAF netted four unanswered in the third – two from Beck, one from Taranto and another from Petovello. Scott Greenham didn’t have his best night in regulation Saturday, allowing four goals on 15 shots, but he was solid when they needed him.
How did I do?
Last week, Friday and Saturday only: 8-3 (.727)
Season to date: 108-68-26 (.599)
Still better than a coin flip.