Thursday, April 10, 2008

Live Game Blog: Michigan vs Notre Dame NCAA Semifinals

And there it is. Notre Dame is headed to the Championship game as Hogan gets beat for the game winner off the stick of Calle Ridderwall for the 5-4 victory. Kevin Porter is the first Wolverine over to console Hogan as he could only turn away so many shots before getting beat. Great game from Denver, unfortunatly, the Irish come away with the win to set up a Notre Dame vs Boston College Championship game on Saturday night. Thanks for tuning in, highlights probably won't be up until tomorrow. Great season for the Wolverines as they came up one goal short of the NCAA Championship

Another big glove save from Hogan keeps things knotted up for the time being. Notre Dame has been the more aggressive team here in overtime. It's only a matter of time before an Irish shot finds the back of the net unless Michigan can pick up their intensity.

A nail-biter here from Denver as we're down to 15 minutes left in overtime and Michigan's holding their own with a true freshman in Bryan Hogan in the net.

15:00 Overtime

The Wolverines have had all sorts of trouble staying onsides as they are called once again for crossing the blue line before the puck, taking away a scoring opportunity as Kolarik and Porter had a 2-2.

Hogan comes up with the first save of OT standing up to the pressure early on. Hogan had to turn away a number of good chances from the Irish including a 2-1 break for Notre Dame

Injury for the Irish right off the opening draw as Christian Hanson went down clutching his knee and had to be helped off the ice.

It sure seems like Berenson's move to pull Billy Sauer in favor of freshman, Bryan Hogan has paid off. Hogan let up just one goal through the second and third periods. The defense seems to have responded best to the challange, stepping up infront of their freshman netminder. While Sauer allowed the three first-period goals, the defense has to shoulder some of that blame as they allowed Notre Dame to break in untouched and get off easy shots on Sauer. Now we'll have to see if the freshman can perform under the pressure of overtime. I'm sure the last place Hogan expected to be when he woke up this morning was between the pipes as overtime was set to begin.

End of Regulation

We are headed to overtime from the Pepsi Center as Michigan has battled back from the 3-0 deficit to force OT! We'll play a 20-minute sudden death overtime period after this 15 minute intermission. The NCAA blogging policy does not tell me how many posts I get in overtime, so I'm going to assume that I get three like the other periods. We're going to go try to catch our breaths, we'll be back with you in a few minutes as OT begins.

Here's some NCAA Tournament overtime history for you: the last time that Michigan appeared in an overtime game during the NCAA tournament was back in 2004 when they fell to Boston College 3-2. Michigan is 6-8 all-time in overtime games while Notre Dame is 1-0 with that victory coming last year over Alabama-Huntsville in double overtime. The last NCAA semifinal to go to OT was back in 2003 as that game saw Michigan lose to Minnesota 3-2 in Buffalo, NY.

Notre Dame has killed off 89.1% of its penalties on the year but Michigan was able to score earlier this period when Kolarik knocked the loose puck into the net. Not so fortunate on this one as Notre Dame kills it without allowing a Michigan shot on goal.

Huge penalty here on Notre Dame as Hagelin is hooked so the Wolverines will be on the power play for two minutes. With just 2:51 to go, Michigan will have the one-man advantage for just about the rest of regulation. Kevin Keeth is the guilty party for the Fighting Irish.

3:28 3rd Period
Unbelievable!!! Goal for the Wolverines as Hagelin ties the game up 4-4 with a backhand that squeezed between Jordan Pearce and the near post! That was the 11th goal on the season for the Swede as Rust and Palushaj pick up assists. A bad goal for Pearce to give up with the one goal lead as he failed to seal off the post allowing Hagelin to bounce the puck in the net.

Big save for Hogan as Notre Dame almost took a two-goal lead. Hogan was able to pounce on the loose puck in the crease to allow Wolverine fans to breath again...not that breathing is easy at this point when you combine the altitute and the way this game has gone

Wolverines have their backs up against the wall now as there are just 7:00 left in their season unless they can come up with another goal to match the Irish. Hogan hadn't been tested until Deeth got in all alone and couldn't come up with the save. He'll have to be strong the rest of the way as another Notre Dame goal could be the dagger.

8:00 3rd Period
Goal for Notre Dame as Kevin Deeth beats Hogan stick side to give the Irish the 4-3 lead with 8:30 left in the game. The goal was the 10th on the year for Deeth as Kissel and Cole pick up assists.

Michigan has been doing uncharacteristically well in the faceoff circle winning 35 of the 54 faceoffs on the night.

Notre Dame with the only major scoring chance in the last five minutes but Hogan able to come up with the pad save.

The two semifinal games today were announced as sellouts. Interestingly enough, they announced 18,543 for the first game and 18,544 for the second. I wonder who that extra person was that decided to check out Michigan vs Notre Dame? There are plenty of empty seats here in the Pepsi Center as roughly half of the North Dakota fans left after their 6-1 loss but attendance is based on tickets sold, not people in the seats.

14:26 3rd Period
GOAL!!!!!!!!!! After Aaron Palushaj and Max Pacioretty pounded away at the loose puck, Chad Kolarik scored his second goal of the game, knocking the puck out of the air and around the far post from his position behind the net. Palushaj and Pacioretty pick up the assists. What a job by the Wolverines to claw their way back to an even score. The power-play tally is Kolarik's 30th goal of the season

3rd Period starts with a penalty to Notre Dame for too many men on the ice. Great opportunity for Michigan to even things up here, but they have not had any success on the power-play today as Notre Dame came into today #2 in the nation on the penalty-kill.

Unfortunately the internet is not strong enough for me to post the highlights as they happen, but as soon as we get back to the hotel, I'll get them up.

2nd Period Intermission
Michigan could not convert on the power-play as their best shot came from Caporusso but his shot missed wide. Hogan still has not been tested in goal and that credit goes to the Michigan defense which has figured something out from the first period.

Bryan Hogan has been strong in net and Michigan has seemed to regain their edge and equally important the momentum. Scoring update: Carl Hagelin has been credited with an assist on the Matt Rust goal and Bryan Hogan earned an assist on the Chad Kolarik goal. 3rd period just a few minutes away...I'll be back around the 15:00 mark.

Reminder, you can listen to our live broadcast by clicking here. Tony and Christian have the call of the third period

4:45 Second Period
Now Michigan will be on the power-play as Kolarik drawks a holding penalty. Michigan has done a great job to get within one goal, let's see if they can even it up before the next break.

Roughing penalty coming to Michigan here so Notre Dame will have another two minutes of a one-man advantage as Mark Mitera is sent to the box. After killing off the first thirty seconds, a great hustle play by Tim Miller results in a Notre Dame slashing penalty so we're back to a four-on-four for the next 1:20 or so and then Michigan will get about :30 seconds on the power-play. Miller chased the puck all the way down into the Fighting Irish zone and then beat the Notre Dame defensemen to the puck as Jordan Pearce decided to play it to his left instead of covering it up. Despite losing his stick, Miller stayed with the puck, pinning it against the boards with his skates and eventually drawing the slash.

Michigan is winning the faceoffs today as you can certainly see the change in momentum. Michigan is now the more aggressive team with most of the action occuring down in the Notre Dame zone. Bryan Hogan has held up his end in net as he came on to replace Billy Sauer after the first period. More credit should go to the Wolverine defense as after a poor first period they seem to have stepped up protecting the freshman goalie as they have kept Notre Dame from getting any good attempts on Hogan.

10:00 Second Period
GOAL! Michigan is on the board as Chad Kolarik scores his 29th goal of the season off the Kevin Porter assist and before the PA announcer here as the Pepsi Center could even finish announcing the goal, the Wolverines stike again as Matt Rust pokes one in with assists going to Aaron Palushaj. Michigan's right back in this one as the Notre Dame lead has been cut to 3-2 with two Michigan goals just :15 seconds apart! The Michigan crowd is back in it as well as the Wolverines have all the momentum.

Some chippiness here as Scooter Vaughen threw his man to the ice after a whistle but no penalty called. Michigan can't loose their heads as going shorthanded is no way to start a comeback.

Yet another missed opportunity for Michigan as Porter and Pacioretty got out ahead of a ND line change but Kolarik's pass missed it's mark.

14:42 Second Period
Michigan looking much more aggressive here as they realize that their season depends on it. Lots of looks, but still no goals for Mihchigan as it's 3-0 Irish.

Bryan Hogan tested early but is able to turn away a nice drag play from the Irish. Ben Winnet had a great chance of a rebound but missed just wide. You have to wonder what's going through the mind of Billy Sauer as after an outstanding weekend in regional play against Clarkson and Niagara he allowed three first-period goals to Notre Dame and finds himself on the bench in what could be the last game of the Wolverines' season.

1st Period Intermission
Michigan got a chance with a one man advantage as Brock Sheahan took an interference penalty with 2:27 to go in the period. Notre Dame showed why they had the second best penalty kill in the nation as the Irish easily killed off the penalty and then added a short-handed goal to boot. 3-0 Notre Dame as Thang got in on the act scoring unassisted with :34 seconds left in ther period. Michigan's in trouble as for some reason, Sauer can't stand up to playing in the city of Denver.

While the defense hasn't played well either, all three goals were certainly saveable. Michigan's got a tall task ahead of them if they plan on advancing as they'll need four goals against Jordan Pearce who is one of the best goaltenders in the country.

I guess it doesn't matter that the internet isn't strong enough for highlights as there sure haven't been any for the Wolverines.

As we get set to start the second period, Red Berenson has elected to pull Billy Sauer in favor of freshman Bryan Hogan. Wow.

3:44 First Period
Naurato had an open net as Jordan Pearce found himself out of position but could not get a stick on the puck. There have been some opportunites for Michigan in this period but they haven't been able to convert. Notre Dame is definitely the more physical team, not a style Michigan wants to play against trailing 2-0.

Notre Dame playing with a lot more intensity here in the first period as they are beating the Wolverines to all the loose pucks. You have to wonder if Michigan might have been looking past the Fighting Irish a little bit as many of the fans were. This is my last post of the first period, so more to come at the intermission.

8:08 First Period
Mitera is back on the ice for this penalty kill. Nice save by Sauer as he turns away the Irish attempt to poke one past. Michigan is taking a more aggressive approach to this kill as Hagelin got in on net shorthanded but couldn't get a good shot off. Michigan now back at full strength

Louie Caporusso tagged with a hooking penalty so Michigan is back on the penalty kill with 10:21 to play. Not the start Michigan wanted to get off to and as we saw out of the earlier game, Michigan's got to get something going soon or they're in trouble. You have to wonder if Michigan came in a little overconfident having beaten the Irish twice already this season.

Notre Dame on the power play as Winnet takes an obstruction/hooking minor at the 6:52 mark. Sauer needs to get something going as he has not looked good at all in this first period. Michigan cannot afford to go down 3-0 as Notre Dame is known for their strong defense. Good job killing off the penalty as Sauer had to come up with a few big saves to keep this game at 2-0. Winnet back on the ice as we're 5-5 again.

13:20 First Period

Early scoring opportunity for the Wolverines as Hagelin's shot went just over the net :43 seconds in.

Michigan appears to have traveled fairly well as the Wolverine cheering section occupies two of the corner sections in the Pepsi Center. What they lack in qauntity they make up for in quality as they have been loud during the games opening minutes belting out Hail to the Victors every chance they get.

Another oportunity for Michigan as Hagelin came in strong with Turnball, but the centering pass went a bit wide. Our internet has been pretty shaky so as of now, highlights aren't happening.

Bad news for Michigan as Mark Mitera appears to limp off the ice. More on this as we figure out what happened.

And with that, even more bad news for Michigan as Notre Dame has jumped out to an 1-0 lead behind a Calle Ridderwall goal. Assit to Justin White.

Just as I was about to hit the publish button, Notre Dame scores again. 2-0 Fighting Irish as this one will be credited to Mark Van Guilder with the assist from Ryan Thang. It should be noted that earlier this year when Michigan beat Notre Dame at Yost, they also came back from a 2-0 first period deficit.

We're here live from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado as the second NCAA semifinal is a few
minutes away. We'll be complying with NCAA blogging policy so count on three posts per period. Listen to our broadcast live on the stream

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