CCHA Championship Live Blogging

Posted by: brett

8:32p – Jack Johnson is in the box AGAIN. His third of the night…he is certainly the most talented player on the ice, but he can’t do much in the sin bin.
8:30p – NOTRE DAME Goal!! The Irish worked the puck around the back of Sauer’s net and tried a wraparound. The puck hit Sauer’s pad and bounced to a wide open Condra in the slot, and he put it home. Notre Dame 1, Michigan 1. Less than 4 to go in the 2nd.
8:28p – Icing call…ND 0, Michigan 1. 5:22 left in the second.
8:27p – TV timeout….The CCHA plays David Brown’s CCHA player of the year award video and the Michigan fans start with the Hey Brown…you’re not a goalie…,etc. cheer.
8:22p – Almost a minute into the power play Notre Dame strings together a few passes and finds Garrett Regan all alone on the back door. Regan held onto the puck a second two long, allowing Sauer to make the save….Penalty expires with another huge save by Sauer on the doorstop on a shot by Deeth. The Michigan fans…often skeptical of their netminder are screaming their support tonight.
8:19p – Michigan’s Johnson is back in the box again…The Wolverines can ill afford to give up this many power play chances to the Irish…surely the puck will bounce Notre Dame’s way eventually with a man up.
8:17p – Notre Dame has its best chance after the too many men penalty expires and they went on the power play. The Irish has a forward wide open in hte slot but his redirection was right into Sauer’s chest. The penalty expired without further incident. ND 0, Michigan 1 9:07 left in the 2nd.
8:14p – Any chance of a power play goal fades for Michigan as Notre Dame worked the puck into Michigan’s zone. As Johnson regained possession for Michigan, Hensick was putting pressure on Notre Dame’s forwards when called for obstruction tripping. Less than 12 to go in the second. ND 0, Mich 1.
8:10p – The tide of the game has changed a bit. The Fighting Irish maintained control of the Michigan zone much more effectively than they had in the previous period. TV timeout gives both coaches a chance to change the pace…Too many men on the ice for ND was the cause for the whistle, Michigan must use this Power play, just their second of the game to change the momentum back their way.
8:07p – Still nothing significant here in the second period…15:20 to go. Both teams have a had a few shots but no real threats. Notre Dame 0, Michigan 1 15:20 2nd.
8:00p – Start of the second period. It only took 9 seconds for Notre Dame to get their first shot.
7:42p – MICHIGAN GOAL! The Wolverines have taken a 1-0 lead with :05.2 to go in the opening frame. After Jack Johnson was stopped on a redirection, Kevin Porter notched his third goal of the weekend with the rebound, slamming it home from the slot. Brown, who was adjusting from his position relative to Johnson never saw the puck until it was just about past him. Michigan 1, Notre Dame 0 END OF 1st Period.
7:37p – Coincidental penalties to Kampfer of Michigan and Jindra of Notre Dame for a scuffle which ensued due to a pair of big hits by each team.
7:34p – Notre Dame 0, Michigan 0. 4:56 to go in Period 1. Neither team has really generated any sustained momentum. Michigan has had a few chances but the puck seems to bounce up their sticks on redirections because they’re not getting a lot on shots. Notre Dame hasn’t had any alarming lapses but also can’t seem to generate any real offensive threat. Good defensive hockey on both teams’ parts.
7:27p – Notre Dame has been playing a lot of dump and chase hockey, as the Wolverines have been able to generate more offense in the neutral zone and continue to threaten Brown’s net.
7:23p – Johnson’s penalty expires, and his teammates generated more offense than the Irish during the 2 minutes. Thus far, Michigan’s three best chances have come shorthanded. Now 10:14 remaining in the first period. Notre Dame 0, Michigan 0.
7:19p – Michigan is shorthanded as Jack Johnson is headed to the box for tripping.
7:16p – Quite reminiscent of yesterday’s shorthanded near miss against Michigan State, Wolverines’ forward David Rohlfs hits the post after beating Irish goaltender David Brown on the near side from just inside the left circle.
7:12p – Michigan’s Porter takes a penalty with 16:36 to go, leading to 1:15 of 4-on-4 play. Johnson and Hunwick finally left the ice, for Steve Kampfer and Jason Dest. Hockey substitutions shouldn’t be this notable?
7:10p – Notre Dame penalty to Evan Rankin…2 minutes for obstruction hooking, penalty at 2:38 of the first…Johnson and Hunwick have played the first two and a half minutes for Michigan…a mighty long shift to start the game.
7:07p – Nothing too exciting so far, but the first minute of play has been contained in Michigan’s end. Notre Dame has won the first two faceoffs from Hensick, normally the Wolverines’ top winner on the draw.
7:05p – Getting ready for faceoff. The arena is surprisingly full, mostly Michigan fans but a fair number of Irish faithful have come to see their team’s bid for the Mason Cup.
7:00p – Notre Dame received a “warm” welcome by the Michigan-dominated crowd as they took the ice…
Saturday March 17 — CCHA Championship Game

No. 1 Notre Dame v. No. 2 seed Michigan

10:29p – It’s over. Michigan 5, MSU 2. It’ll be the Wolverines and the Irish in Detroit on St. Patrick’s day tommorrow. Thanks for reading everyone.
10:28p – MICHIGAN EMPTY NETTER! With :07.5 to go Hensick pots an empty net goal from center ice on a turnaround shot after taking the puck from an MSU player running out the clock.
10:28p – Michigan clears the zone with :30 to go
10:26p – There goes Lerg…it’s an empty net for Michigan State…icing call brings the faceoff back to Michigan’s zone…1:02 to go
10:26p – MSU is controlling the puck in Michigan’s zone with 1:30 to go, but Michigan clears and gets a change…UM 4 MSU 2 now 1:10 to go
10:25p – Unnecessary offsides call on Michigan State…just a little too anxious to get into the zone..
10:22p – TV timeout. Both teams needed this. Michigan needs to settle down and find a way to rekindle the defensive fire they maintained for so long while Comley’s bunch must stoke the blaze they have finally found after more than 50 minutes of play. Metallica plays and both teams fans go wild….This is what MSU-Michigan is all about. Dueling cheers of Let’s go Blue and Let’s go State
10:20p – MSU SCORES AGAIN! It’s been a wild three minutes in Detroit as Tim Kennedy scored with 3:56 remaining to bring the Spartans back within two. The puck was loose in the slot and just as Crowder tried shooting he pulled back, giving Kennedy a free shot at Sauer, who had no chance on the rocket. 3:56 to go Michigan 4, MSU 2.
10:18p – Michigan Retaliates! Michigans Chad Kolarik took a drop pass from Cogliano in the slot and beat Lerg on his glove side 50 seconds after McKenzie’s goal. Michigan 4, MSU 1 5:33 remaining.
10:17p – MSU GOAL!! We might have a game on our hands after Jim McKenzie, who had previously been fairly silent slipped a shot past Sauer and inside the far post. Michigan 3, MSU 1 6:23 remaining in regulation.
10:12p – As Miller’s penalty was concluding, Michigan broke out on a two-on-two with Hensick and Porter. Hensick slipped the puck between the defenders to Porter, who broke his stick trying to redirect the puck. There was a delayed penalty to MSU’s Nick Sucharski on the play.
10:08p – After MSU completes a successful penalty kill, Michigan’s Tim Miller is nailed with an obstruction-holding call at 8:48 of the third period. If MSU can score one here they are certainly back in the game.
10:05p – Michigan State’s Tyler Howell’s is penalized for tripping UM’s Travis Turnbull into Lerg’s net…see if Michigan can do anything with this power play. If they are unable to convert, MSU NEEDS to take advantage and jump back in the game with a quick goal.
9:59p – MSU returns to full strength. Michigan handled the puck well in the Spartan zone but couldn’t get a clear shot. The Wolverines have to be careful not to fall into a trap of excessive patience, which cost them the game at Lake State a few weeks back.
9:57p – MSU penalty to Snavely for interference at 2:07 of the second.
9:55p – The third period has begun. Jack Johnson’s father regaled the fans with his well-known dancing antics between periods.
9:39p – End of the Second…we’ll see what MSU can come up with in the 3rd. If there is one thing a Rick Comley team never does…it never gives up.
9:35p – Michigan State almost catches the Wolverines in a line change, but the pass is too long. 1 minute to go in the second, Michigan 3, MSU 0.
9:30p – GOAL!! Michigan scores again. Kevin Porter took a David Rohlfs pass and brought the puck into the zone. After fumbling the puck, Porter spins around the MSU defense and knocked it past an outstretched Lerg. Michigan 3, MSU 0. Lerg is perhaps one of the most positionally sound goaltenders in the nation, but his lack of size showed on that play, where he did not have the reach that a Sauer or David Brown might have. Now less than 3 to go in the second.
9:25p – Michigan State’s Matt Schepke has a nice chance to cut down the lead, but loses his handle on the puck near Sauer’s crease.
9:22 p – Hunwick’s penalty was killed with ease and few great shorthanded chances including a David Rohlfs breakaway off the crossbar. Michigan has certainly dominated the last few minutes and Comley needs to get his team coming out of this TV timeout strong.
9:19 p – Michigan’s Hunwick takes a second penalty of the game with 10:37 left in the second.
9:18 p – Coincidental Minors given again, this time to MSU’s Chris Mueller and Michigan’s Mark Mitera. MSU needs to take advantage of open ice, as they have Abdelkader and Kennedy in at forward (two perennial Wolverine killers).
9:15p – Have the MSU fans given up already…? There was a small contingent beginning an NIT..NIT…NIT chant. It’s certainly unlike the Spartans’ normally loud and passionate fans. Michigan can be Comley and his team won’t give up so easy. Back in the first half of the season, Michigan took a commanding lead in the first period of a game in East Lansing before MSU came out firing and crushed the Wolverines in the late second and entire third period…..Another fight just broke out after Sauer gloved a puck…11:19 to go in the second…Michigan 2, MSU 0
9:10p – MSU is down a man once more as Chris Snavely is whistled for cross-checking Chris Summers. A bad penalty, certainly due to frustration. 4:49 of the second.
9:08p – GOAL #2!! Michigan jumps out in front again with a quick goal on a 3-on -1 started by Johnson, given to Hensick who slipped his trademark pass to Kevin Porter for the goal. It was Porter’s 21st goal of the season, many of which have come with the help of Hensick. The roof has come off on the Michigan half of the JLA and Comley calls a timeout. Time of the goal was 4:11. Michigan 2, MSU 0.
9:05p – GOAL! Michigan takes a 1-0 lead as Chris Summers slips a breakaway goal off of Lerg and into the net. Jack Johnson began the play with a pass through the neutral zone which bounced to Summers who walked Ethan Graham to the net and scored. Goal at 3:07 of the second period. Michigan 1, MSU 0.
9:03p – Period 2 has begun. Two penalties came out of the scrum at the end of period 1, so the period started 4 on 4 without much fanfare for either team.
8:45p – End of the first period. Michigan 0, MSU 0. A small fight broke out at the end of the period…we’ll see if penalties ensue.
8:43p – Michigan’s Billy Sauer has played extremely well so far, turning away several chances he might not have in earlier games. Whether or not he holds on to this form in the next two periods will be a key for the Wolverines. :48.7 left in period 1. Michigan 0, MSU 0.
8:31p – Penalty Shot!!! Michigan State’s Justin Abdelkader breaks out of the zone all alone shorthanded and is taken down by Hunwick. Abdelkader skates in and tries a deke but gets stoned cold by Sauer and the Michigan fans erupt…what a potential turning point for Michigan. The last time they stopped a penalty shot in Alaska in October 2005 when then-goalie Noah Ruden stoned Lucas Burnett and sent Michigan to a 4-0 victory.
8:30p – MSU is a man down once more as Mike Ratchuk took a hooking penalty with 8:34 left in the period.
8:26p – Michigan State returns to full strength with 9:28 to go in the opening frame. Looking at Michigan’s power play which dominated the two minutes while Dunne was in the box, the Spartans must stay out of the box to keep Michigan off the board. Michigan 0, Michigan State 0.
8:23p – The Spartans take their first penalty as Jeff Dunne mauled Michigan’s Chris Summers near Michigan State’s goal crease… Cogliano, Johnson, Porter, Rohlfs and Hensick on the PP for Michigan.The held the zone for the first minute, but Michigan State finally cleared it back out.
8:18p – Michigan State’s Tim Kennedy has two quick chances and is robbed by Sauer. His first was a shot from the right side, which he then wrapped around the netand almost put in on the back side.
8:16p – The Wolverines are back in the box after Travis Turnbull was whistled for obstruction tripping at 4:43 of the 1st. Not a good way to start for Michigan’s discipline.
8:12p – No GOAL! Just moments after Hunwick’s release from the sin bin, Spartan forward Jay Sprague found open space inside the right circle and released a shot which beat Sauer on his stick side and slammed into the far post. It was initially ruled a goal, but review clearly showed that it hit the post and not the net.

Michigan 0, Michigan State 0

8:12p – Michigan captain Matt Hunwick received an early interference penalty just one minute into the game, but the Wolverines were able to kill it off successfully despite Michigan State controlling the offensive zone for a large part of the two minutes.
8:06p – Michigan and Michigan State are ready to faceoff. For the opening period, Michigan will be skating right to left in their third yellow jerseys and Michigan State left to right in green.
7:05p – It’s Over… Notre Dame 3, Lake State 0 and the Irish will face the winner of tonight’s Michigan/Michigan State Matchup in the CCHA title game tommorrow (ironically, St. Patrick’s Day).
7:03p – With :53.2 to go in the game, Lake State fans give their team a standing ovation after an offside call, thanking them for a magical run to Joe Louis…3-0 against the best team in the land…something to build a dream on for next year.
7:01p – GOAL! Notre Dame ices their victory with an empty net goal by Christian Hanson

Notre Dame 3, Lake State 0 less than 2 minutes to go.
7:00p – Lake State pulls Jakaitis.

Timeout with 3:10 remaining. Jackson has decided to use his team’s timeout to regroup the defense with an impending faceoff to Brown’s left. Not sure entirely what he has to say, but judging by the job the CCHA coach of the year has done this season, I’m sure he gave them an earful, and he changed the line he had on the ice.
6:56p – With 4:12 remaining in regulation, Notre Dame has taken control of the game again, playing a conservative trap defense while wasting time in the corners and dumping the puck deep. And to think I thought a game with Lake State couldn’t possibly get more boring…
6:48p – Lake State’s Dan Eves creates a breakaway after skating through the Notre Dame defense, but Brown stops him cold.
6:45p – The game had been almost completely devoid of action for several minutes when Lake Superior State initiated a rush of shots on goal that somehow stayed out of the net when Brown couldn’t find the puck but neither could the Lake State forwards. 10 minutes to go…still Notre Dame 2, Lake State 0.
6:36p – Notre Dame once again killed off the penalty with little effort, and had their best chance of the period when Thang jumped into the attack and the Irish odd-man rush generated a flurry of shots that couldn’t find their way past Jakaitis.

6:33p – Notre Dame ‘s Ryan Thang is headed to the penalty box for tripping after taking Derek R. Smith’s feet out from under him while he tried to cross Brown’s goal crease after walking the Irish defense to the outside.

Smith’s chance was the first semblance of Laker offense this period…The Irish had previously kept it in the Lake State zone for all but an icing call.

6:30p – Third period is underway. Notre Dame 2, Lake Suprerior State 0.
6:11p – End of the second Period, Notre Dame 2, Lake Superior State 0.

The Irish almost put a third goal in with Kevin Deeth on the doorstep after a shot by Kyle Lawson was deflected by Jakaitis. But once again, the goaltender had none of it, standing tall and denying Deeth any open space to shoot.

Going into the third, it will be important for Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson to keep his team’s head in the game, as Lake Superior has snuck up on teams in the third period before, handing Michigan a decisive loss in the CCHA Regular season title race in Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 16.
6:09p – Heading into the last minute of play in the second, Notre Dame’s Ryan Thang took a pass in the neutral zone speeding free of the Lakers’ defensemen and unleashing a shot which beat Jakaitis but hit the near post. This is the first semblance of any Irish offensive momentum in almost 10 minutes.
6:07p – After the Irish take a too many many penalty at 17:25 of the 2nd, the Lakers nullify their power play opportunity when Dominic Osman took a hooking penalty at 17:56.
6:04p – Lakers’ forward Derek R. Smith has a near miss on Brown’s near post.. perhaps the best individual chance his team has mustered thus far after Troy Schwab worked the puck around the Irish defense and shot it across the zone.
6:00p – Lake Superior State’s Jason Blain delights the crowd by leveling Notre Dame’s Michael Bartlett as the Irish clear the puck out of their zone…finally something to cheer about for Lakers’ fans. Blain’s teammates still continue to maintain more pressure in the Irish zone, maybe a sign of changing tides.

Notre Dame 2, Lake Superior State 0 4:20 remaining in the second period.

5:56p – With just under 7 minutes remaining in the second Lake State finally begins putting some pressure on the Notre Dame zone, but still can’t seem to get a shot through to Brown. Whatever Jim Roque said during the TV timeout certainly made a difference in the ensuing minutes.
5:53p – TV timeout….Notre Dame has really taken control of the game in the past few minutes, rarely allowing the puck out of the Lakers’ zone. Jakaitis has stood strong for his team all season long, but they have to give him more help than this if they expect to live another day. Time after time the star goaltender has come up with the big save…now he’s just relying on his teammates to get it out of the zone.

5:48p – GOAL! Notre Dame lights the lamp for a second time with a long one-timer by Brock Sheahan. Sheahan took the puck between the top of the left circle and the blue line and redirected it past a screened Jakaitis.

Thus far, both Notre Dame goals have come through a crowd of Lakers, who tend to collapse in front of the net.

Notre Dame 2, Lake Superior State 0
5:43p – The Lakers have their first legitimate chance in a long time while still shorthanded, with a two-on-one, but Notre Dame’s David Brown thwarts an attempt to pass across the net and the Lakers come back to full strength just seconds later.

5:40p – Lake Superior State’s captain Barnabas Birkeland is whistled for hooking at 5:31 of the second period.
5:39p – The Irish have killed off White’s penalty with little to worry about

5:37p – Notre Dame’s Justin White takes a penalty for hooking at 2:33 of the second period.

Notre Dame 1, Lake Superior State 0
5:33p – The second period has just gotten underway with Notre Dame leading Lake Superior State. The Irish outshot the Lakers 14-4 in the opening frame, but stellar goaltending by Jeff Jakaitis has kept the underdogs in the game.

The game’s lone goal came at 9:46 of the first period when Notre Dame’s Wes O’Neill slipped a power play tally through a screen and past Jakaitis from the top of the circle…

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