Friday, March 27, 2009

MIchigan Hockey vs. Air Force: Live from Bridgeport, CT


2:35 pm - We arrived in Bridgeport, CT at about 12:30 after a wonder, 11 hour drive in former sports director Tony Bolton's Saturn. The game is set to start in about 25 minutes and both teams are currently warming up on the ice. While we will be calling the game (see the link in the post below), we will also blogging the game live. Due to NCAA blogging restrictions, we can only post so much, but we will do our best without getting our credentials revoked.

FIRST PERIOD

20:00 - The puck has dropped in Bridgeport, with Carl Hagelin, Matt Rust, and Aaron Palushaj getting the start up front, captains Mark Mitera and Chris Summers starting on the blue line, and Brian Hogan getting the nod in goal. Hogan and the Michigan D are looking to rebound from a dreadful third period in the CCHA Championship vs. Notre Dame, where the Wolverines gave up 5 unanswered goals. Early in this game, the puck has gone back and forth with Michigan failing to capitalize on a great scoring chance. With 16:48 left in the period, Air Force winger took the game's first penalty (contanct to the head/elbowing) and Michgian will get an early chance on the power play.

6:22 - After failing to put the puck in the net with over a minute of 5 on 3 hockey, the Wolverines have taken 3 penalties. They got lucky when the referee Michigan is dominating the shot counts 12 to 2, but have been unable
to get a good flow going with all the penalties against them.

4:42 - Air Force 1, Michigan 0 - Air Force has scored the first goal of the game, a power play goal scored by Derrick Burnett. Air Force was starting to get something going on the multiple shot opportunities from the power plays. Michigan's defense will need to clamp down on against the speedy Falcons so that the offensive opportunities can develop.

0:00 - The first period is done with Michigan down to Air Force 1-0. Despite spending the last 4 minutes of the period in the Falcons zone, the Blue could not find the back on the net (on 16 shots). Michigan has also taken 4 penalties in the period, with 3 on Air Force, showing that the refs are calling a tight game (with questionable calls on both teams). Michigan definitely looks like the more talented team, but they seem to have a block of some sort, with iffy turnovers and lack of shot taking. The Falcons are definitely a dangerous team with some offensive power.

SECOND PERIOD

12:58 - Air Force 2, Michigan 0 - Air has just notched their second goal of the afternoon on just 4 shots on goal. Jacques Lamoureux, the nation's leading scorer, put in the puck on a 2 on 1. The period has been dominated by sloppy play on Michigan's part. A bad play by Mark Mitera in Michigan's zone led to Air Force's second goal. The energy show by Air Force is far eclipsing any urgency from the Wolverines. Michigan has shown that they can pass in the Falcon's zone and win battles in the corners, but a lack of shots has led to few scoring opportunities, as well as great goaltending from the Falcon's Andrew Volkening.

5:59 - Not much to say except that the incredibly poor and sloppy play is continuing from the Wolverines. They can't seem to get any breaks from the boards or refs (Wohlberg was called for embellishment) . If they want any hope for a comeback, they need to focus and get their last 3 periods of hockey out of their heads. At 4:51, Michigan will go on the power play, so the Maize and Blue faithful will look for their boys to get back on track.

0:00 - I don't really want to write any more on this period, which was one of Michigan's worst all year. No one on the team is immune to the sloppy play. Michigan will start the third period with the man advantage. UAF 2, UM 0.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00 - The puck has dropped on the most important period of Michigan hockey of the year. They will begin on the power play, which has started with not 1 but 2 icing calls on the Blue. Air Force has blown 2 leads in recent tournament history and every Michigan hockey fan hopes for more of the same.

13:20 - Desperation has begun to set for the Wolverines. Michigan has slowed the sloppy play, but still is playing with a less than desirable energy level. Great goalie play from Volkening continues. Michigan has tried many times to set up long break out passes, but those have frequently led to turnovers by the Blue. Carl Hagelin looks to be the only one playing with some passion. Even with multiple man advantages, it just seems to be one of those night where nothing goes Michigan's way.

6:02 - The situation has gone from bad to worse as the Wolverine's most dangerous penalty killer Carl Hagelin takes a holding call in the Falcons' zone. The Michigan bench and fan section look stunned and completely out of options.

0:00 - The Michigan Wolverines hockey season has come to an end with a 2-0 loss to the Air Force Falcons. Offensively Michigan could really have done nothing more, as they put 43 shots on Andrew Volkening with no success. Almost everything, from the bounces to the questionable officiating, went against the Wolverines. It just seemed like the hockey gods wanted Air Force to move on in this tournament. The player of the game has to be Volkening, whose 43 saves anchored the Falcons. The Air Force defense seemed to know exactly what players to shut down, as Palushaj and Caparusso got roughed up for most of the game. While the season ends in a very disappointing fashion, Michigan fans can just shake their heads and laugh about this. The Wolverines were just not meant to win this one.

Signing off from the Arena at Harbor Yard in Brigdeport, CT, this is Kevin Gregus saying Go Blue.

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