Much better effort. Michigan put the brakes on the Nanooks Friday, but UA made a stand Saturday, and executed.
The forecheck was aggressive when it counted, but didn't put on too much pressure to get on the wrong side of the play. I have got to give props to Kevin Petovello, as the two captains hooked up to get Kevin his first goal (also, his first point) of the season. Peto was out injured for the better part of the first half of the season, and its great to see him come back and nab a pretty good looking goal against a very solid goaltender in Bryan Hogan.
Dion kept things rolling, walking right into the crease area on the power play and backhanded one in uncontested. A tip for Michigan though, if you let someone, like Dion, skate in front of the net without so much as a hand check, chances are, Hogan isn't going to be able to stop him. Granted, UM had 2 guys in the box, but that should be even more of a reason to keep the puck to the outside. But, that's how the Nanooks regained the lead, 2-1.
Carlo Finucci, just 29 seconds later with a man advantage, extended the lead to 3 being in the right place after Brandon Knelsen's shot gleaned off of Hogan's pads and gave Carlo an empty net to shoot at. He buried it to end the Nanooks' scoring for regulation.
But the Nanooks have had a bit of a bad spell this season, gaining considerable leads and letting the opponents creep back up on the doorstep. After netting those two power play goals, going up 3-1, they stopped attacking, and let the Wolverines keep the puck, and cycle it around. Now, the Nanooks play good defense, but you can't expect a desperate team like Michigan to take a beating without fighting back. If they can cycle it around for long enough, eventually, their skilled shooters will find a way to score, and that is precisely what happened.
Going into OT with a 3-3 tie, sitting on the couch watching, I had great confidence in the guys to pull it off. Having gone all season, with 6 overtime appearances to date, none of which have ended in losses. A few have ended up in ties and wound up in the shootouts, but Greenham and our wealth of shooting talent have maintained an undefeated shoot out record this season. Sure enough, the Nanooks clamped down defensively and didn't allow any good scoring chances. The Wolverines put up 6 shots on Greenham compared to the Nanooks' 1 on Hogan, but keeping the Wolverines out of the net is a mini victory for our defense, especially Greenham. Scottie got a trophy for this as well, but I'll get to this in a second.
Greenham played big in the shoot out as well, stonewalling all 3 Wolverine shooters. But the story here, was the Nanooks' incarnation of Pavel Datsyuk, Dion Knelsen, dangling the puck and beating Hogan on the backhand.
Breaking down the shot, if you watch the replay below, you'll see Dion sell the fake and drag the puck on the toe of the blade over to the backhand after Hogan over committed, and lift the puck over the pads. Hopefully, I didn't ruin this shot from making an appearance in the future, but it's such a pretty shot, I couldn't resist. Check out the video to see for yourself.
My cohort, Danny Martin over at the News-Miner wrote up that after the game, an overzealous fan threw a shoe at Scott Greenham after the shootout. I hope he caught it in his glove. Pucks nor shoes will be scored on him. I hope Scottie didn't throw that thing back either. Keep it as a personal testament to his future relations with his loving Wolverine fans...