- Coming off a big weekend sweep of Miami, Michigan faced the dreaded potential “letdown game” when they faced Bowling Green, one of the bottom tier teams in the CCHA, tonight at Yost Ice Arena. Sure enough the Falcons capitalized on the Wolverines sloppy play and got solid goaltending from Jimmy Spratt to upset #6 ranked Michigan, 3-0. I’m reminded of last year’s “letdown game” against Ohio State following the big sweep at the College Hockey Showcase that the Buckeyes won, 3-2. The Buckeyes were just 1-7-0 in CCHA play at the time, too.
- The loss certainly hurts Michigan in both the CCHA standings and the PairWise Rankings. The Wolverines fall to 6th place in the CCHA with 18 points. They are two points behind Ohio State with no games in hand on the Buckeyes. They are three points behind Nebraska-Omaha with two games in hand, and five points back of Alaska with four games in hand. Michigan will face UNO and Ohio State on back-to-back weekends in February in what will no doubt be critical games in deciding the CCHA standings heading into the playoffs. As for the PairWise Rankings,Michigan dropped from 6th to 9th after tonight’s loss.
- The first period was lackluster but saw the Falcons get on the board 9:18 into the contest when Tommy Dee banged in a shot from between the circles. It was one of just three shots on goal for BGSU in the opening stanza. Michigan only had four shots, three of which came during their two power plays.
- U-M looked sloppy in the early going and throughout the night passes were off target and pucks were hopping sticks. Their intensity picked up throughout the game and Michigan outshot BGSU 25-14 over the final 40 minutes and had their chances, but couldn’t convert. Spratt made a couple of excellent stops late in the game. Late in the third period Travis Turnbull had the best chance, a wide open net just off to the right of the crease, and he hit the post.
- Michigan’s attempted comeback hit a snag early in the third period when Scooter Vaughan nailed a BGSU player into the boards and got a major penalty and game misconduct. The Falcons scored on the man-advantage. While Vaughan can play tomorrow night, I won’t be surprised if he’s back on the bench and Greg Pateryn is back in the lineup.
- One of those odd ball things… there were back-to-back penalties called during the third period involving an infraction and a dive. Louie Caporusso was whistled for tripping at 7:14 and Josh Boyd was given an embellishment penalty on it. Then at 13:47 the Falcons Kevin Schmidt was called for interference and Tim Miller was given an embellishment penalty. I’ve never been a big fan of such calls. Either it’s one or the other. As Stephen Colbert would say, “pick a side, we’re at war!”
- Despite the loss, I must say it’s always enjoyable watching the work ethic of guys like Tim Miller and Carl Hagelin, especially when we’re a man down. Miller’s really found a role this season as a shorthanded specialist. Last weekend against Miami he got a couple of standing ovations for singlehandedly killing off a good 15-20 seconds battling along the boards and tying up the puck in the Miami zone, and he was at it again tonight.
- The weekend series wraps up tomorrow night at Bowling Green. The game starts at 5:05 p.m. and can be seen on Comcast Local and taped delayed on the NHL Network.