Michigan Hockey: Season Ends With One & Done B1G Ten Tourney Loss
It’s all over and to no one’s surprise it’s due to the in-explicit underachievement that Coach Red Berenson pointed at after the Wolverines dropped a 2-1 double overtime loss last Thursday in the opening round of the B1G Ten Hockey tournament.
Michigan had set themselves up to sneak into the NCAA tournament with their regular season split with Minnesota- a tough 3-2 OT loss on Friday and then a resounding 6-2 romp over a Gopher squad that had already sewed up the B1G ten regular season the night before and rested a top forward and their starting net-minder. The Wolverines were seeded 3rd and had to face what is now a nemesis- Penn State- who was the 6th seed.
The two teams had split four contests on each other’s home ice to set up the rubber match. It went down as one of Michigan’s poorest BIG GAME efforts of the season, a far cry from the spirited, high level pace they achieved against Minnesota. The Maize and Blue had put themselves into a must win position with their 4-7-1 finish down the stretch, including three key losses to Penn State & Michigan State. PSU also was in a must win situation to keep their season alive, which set up a very tightly contested match-up.
The story of the game was goaltender Zach Nagelvoort who ended up facing 65 shots and stopping 63 of them. He kept the Wolverines from being blown out by a seven win team- which outhit, out-skated and forced Michigan into turnover after turnover. On the other side, Lion net-minder Matt Skoff stopped 52 of 53 shots and was one shot better than Nagelvoort.
The game remained tied at 0-0 deep into the second frame until a Michigan forward threw a blind back hand pass to the front of the PSU net, but had the pass intercepted and quickly sent up ice to a forward off the bench, Taylor Holstrom. The Lion forward moved in and beat Nagelvoort on the breakaway for a 1-0 lead at 19:37 of the 2nd period. The Wolverines responded in the third period with several good shifts when finally Phil Di Giuseppe scored what was Michigan’s last goal of the season from an angle to tie the game at 11:06. Overtime ensued and saw glorious chances by both teams stopped. Andrew Copp came the closest, rattling a drive from the circle off the near post and then behind Skoff. The shot spun like a top and was ¾ over the line when it was swept out by a Lion defenseman.
The game retreated into a chip and chase style with quick line changes. Finally, after a stop in the Michigan end, the Lions scored at 12:47 of the 2nd OT from a face-off. The two centers were tied up and the puck lay in the circle until forward Zach Saar found it and wristed a shot that Nagelvoort didn’t see. It went in shortside and that was it. The Wolverines had to then hope that a combination of events occurred in the conference tournaments going on to qualify as an at-large in the field of 16 teams for the NCAA tournament.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — YostMeister
Go Blue — Wear Maize!