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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Since Snowbird, Utah has a) high speed internet in its hotel rooms and b) not much else, I find myself with some time on my hands, as is usually the case after breakin' yoself skiing. I managed to catch the CCHA championship game against OSU and now offer some belated thoughts.

I thought the game was quite encouraging going into the tournament. Michigan ran over OSU, outhitting them signficantly, which almost never happens when Michigan runs into a physical OSU-type team. Usually Michigan contents itself with getting a little beat up and winning anyway. Not so against OSU. Nystrom, Brown, Ryznar and company were all over the ice stapling Buckeyes to the boards. Nystrom has begun to assert himself as captain on the ice in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of Ortmeyer. Michigan will need to sustain that physical play against a tough Wisconsin team that plays a lot like the Buckeyes (only one BILLION times better because they are from the holy WCHA).

Also encouraging was Montoya's play. It was the first very good game I've seen from him probably all year. He couldn't possibly have stopped either goal and made several good saves. He wasn't forced into making a great one (except maybe a pad-stack off a rebound). No shakiness occurred and was not tempted to scream "get back in the net!" even once. He looked, dare I say, focused. I know, I know. I talk the crazy.

The bad, well, I shudder at the prospect of Sertich and Sterling rushing into the offensive zone against just about any of our defenders, should the anticipated CC-Michigan matchup occur. Moss was missed. His return for the tournament is still up in the air, and followers of this blog know the irrational affection I have for the heady Moss. But there isn't a whole lot to dislike about the OSU game, to be honest, and I have high hopes entering the NCAA tournament.

I believe I'll be able to catch the game tomorrow, but I will be on a plane for any hypothetical second-round game until about six, so I will miss maybe half the game, perhaps even more if Northwest Air screws up, but, come on, what are the chances of that?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, my predictions for this weekend: Michigan throttles the reeling Badgers, and wins against CC by shutting off Sterling and Sertich and peppering McElhinney. Columbus awaits.