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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Last night against NMU in a 4-1 loss. The first two goals were on Montoya being way, way too aggressive.

The game was entirely frustrating, as Michigan dominated the first ten minutes of the game but couldn't get much in the way of pucks on goal, and then a fortitous bounce changes everything. The puck was coming into the Michigan zone and Monotya charged out to get it... he didn't. And just like that Northern had a 1-0 lead with all of two shots on net. They finished the first up 2-1 with four shots on goal after Montoya made a poke-check attempt that left his five-hole wide, wide open.

Michigan almost doubled NMU's shots on goal and still lost badly. Can you really put this on the skaters? There were some turnovers, some poor plays, particularly Werner's screw-up that led to the fourth NMU goal, but overall, I mean... 14 shots against. I'd say it's bad luck, but I don't believe it bad luck when it comes to goaltenders. The sample size for save percentage is large enough that this far into the season you should have a good idea who's playing well and who isn't. The problem isn't with one goal that may have been soft or may not have been soft, the problem is that after every game there are one or two of those iffy goals. After every game.

Northern is a pretty good team. They plays a tight-checking game and blocks a ton of shots. I would take Oystrick and Waugh over any Michigan defenders. They're big, mobile, and unpleasantly dispositioned. Tarrki was very solid last night, making all the saves he had to and a couple that were really impressive--I am thinking in particular of a deceptive Kolark shot that was wired for the top corner that Tarrki managed to get with his shoulder. If they had a couple more guys who could score they'd be a serious contender for the CCHA.

Refereeing... didn't really notice it. Piotrowski has apparently abandoned the idea of calling those minor off-the-puck interference penalties, which is disappointing but expected. This always, always happens.

The penalty cheer and the riot that was going to break out? Uh, not so much. I think exactly two kids got booted, and one of them got booted for screaming at Tarrki... I would note that he screamed nothing profane (nor particularly witty), though, so that gets an official "what's up with that?"