Every morning I wake up and go through the same process. I head straight to the Keurig and start making coffee. I use the make-your-own filter because it saves money and lets me choose from different types of ground coffee, but it doesn't taste very good. There's always grit in the bottom of the cup, like the ugly duckling cousin of french press coffee.
I'm a creature of habit, you see. Sure, the coffee I make admittedly isn't very good but I continue to make it. It's just what I do in the morning. At some point I think hockey slipped into that domain for me.
I love hockey, always have and always will. At some point, though, it just wasn't as exciting as it used to be. I watched all season long but couldn't bring myself to write one of these goal-by-goal analysis posts from November to February because it just isn't much fun to write about how it feels to get punched in the face repeatedly.
I started writing again because there was a storyline besides misery to write about. Either The Streak would come to a screeching halt or it would be miraculously continued. What came of this was more than I could have hoped for in some ways and a bitter disappointment in others.
The second period of the Miami game reminded me why hockey became part of my routine in the first place. Those four goals were an adrenaline bomb to the system, the crescendo of a symphony writ by composite sticks, metal blades, and a black rubber sphere. I can't remember the last time I was that excited about hockey, and in that way the tournament run demonstrated just how far this team had come.
At the same time, I don't see how this season can avoid being labeled a failure. Sure, the team came on strong when its collective back was against the wall. They also finished below .500 and broke The Streak. Lessons will undoubtedly be learned from this season, and as Brian said in his post the future does indeed look bright. If anything this season will be remembered for both utter ineptitude and the kind of performance that can only come from seeing the prospects of your future in front of you and fighting like hell to avoid them.
At least, that's how I'll remember this team. They were both the team that sleepwalked through being bludgeoned by the Bowling Green Falcons at home and the team that obliterated the No. 3 Miami Redhawks in the CCHA semifinals.
CCHA Semifinals: Michigan vs. Miami- March 23, 2013
03:26 Michigan 1 Miami 0: SH Andrew Copp (10) from Kevin Lynch (15)
Copp is covering the point on the powerplay and takes away the shooting lane precisely as Spinell takes his shot. The puck ricochets off of Copp's stick and glides towards the blueline, which Lynch is charging.
Spinell overplays Lynch, who reads this and passes under Spinell's stick to Copp.
Copp rushes the net, stops, pulls the puck forehand to backhand and lifts it over McKay.
09:22 Michigan 2 Miami 0: Andrew Copp (11) from Jacob Trouba (16) & Jon Merrill (8)
A Miami defneder rushing like a bat out of hell towards the blueline makes Merrill's pass to Trouba both the smart and easy play.
One defender near the blueline leaves the four highlighted in the screencap. Two are bunched down low, and the other two are spaced far enough apart that there's a huge passing lane for Trouba from his position to the corner. Copp and Trouba both see this, and Trouba puts a perfect pass in front of Copp.
Copp saw this one all the way and one-times a shot from his knee that angles in off of the leg pad of McKay
10:50 Michigan 3 Miami 0: Luke Moffatt (8) from A.J. Treais (19) & Lee Moffie (10)
A Miami defender dives at Treais in order to stop him from passing to the front of the net, which would have been an ok move if he got to the puck. He doesn't, and Treais skates around him.
Treais could try the netfront pass here, but instead opts to hit Moffatt in the slot. This turns out to be the best decision because Moffatt is able to get more on his shot than Sinelli and also has a better angle to shoot from.
Whaddaya know, it worked
11:33 Michigan 4 Miami 0: A.J. Treais (12) from Alex Guptill (20) & Derek DeBlois (9)
Michigan starts with what looks like a harmless 2-on-2 rush. "Looks like" is the operative statement here. Guptill lets the puck slide past the defender, makes an unreal swim move and regains control on the other side.
As Guptill re-emerges with the puck Miami's other defneder (Hartman) realizes that he has to switch from Treais to Guptill. This gives Treais a clear path to the front of the net.
Guptill carries to the front and then dishes to Treais, who simply has to tap the puck past the netminder.
17:14 Michigan 4 Miami 1: Sean Kuraly (6) from Austin Czarnik (23)
Czarnik loses the faceoff but is able to step around the faceoff circle and pick off the puck before Michigan can touch.
A desperate cross-crease pass from Czarnik to Kuraly somehow connects. Meanwhile, Merrill slides into Racine and effectively erases him from the play. Kuraly backhands the puck into an open net.
00:55 Michigan 5 Miami 1: PPG Alex Guptill(15) from Kevin Lynch (16) & Jon Merrill (9)
Merrill makes a simple pass to the corner for Lynch.
Two intersting things happen once Lynch gets the puck. First, Guptill creates separation for himself by skating from the crease to the slot. Second, all of Miami's penalty killers start to chase the puck. You can see in the screencap above that they all look to Lynch and start to move towards the corner.
Guptill has the far side of the net to work with because of the angle of both the goaltender and the PKers. He shoots and puts the puck over Williams' shoulder (Yep, Rico Suave had switched goalies at this point).
05:05 Michigan 5 Miami 2: PPG Curtis McKenzie (10) from Austin Czarnik(24) & Matthew Caito (16)
Czarnik carries the puck in on a Miami powerplay. Trouba takes a bad angle on him and tries to knock him off the puck but can't, leaving him to now play catch-up.
Trouba moves off of Czarnik to where he's supposed to be in the faceoff circle. I like that he doesn't blidnly chase the puck carrier, but it doesn't work out well here. McKenzie is wide open in front of the net and easily gets the pass from Czarnik.
McKenzie takes a split second to go forehand-backhand before tucking it past Racine.
12:14 Michigan 6 Miami 2: Alex Guptill (16) from Kevin Lynch (17) & Brennan Serville (2)
Serville fires from above the faceoff circle and Williams stops it, but not without giving up a rebound to Lynch in front of the crease.
Lynch's shot is also stopped, but another rebound goes off to the side of the net. Guptill is right there and jams it home just before he runs into the net.
Tast the fur, taste the claws, taste the whole thing
CCHA Finals: Michigan vs. Notre Dame- March 24, 2013
19:00 Michigan 1 Notre Dame 0: SH Derek DeBlois (11) from Jacob Trouba(17) & Travis Lynch (5)
This play starts with pressure at the point. Notre Dame gets shoved out of the offensive zone and the puck ends up behind the point man, Trouba comes up the boards to pick it up and start the shorthanded rush.
Trouba passes to Lynch the younger before Michigan enters the zone on a 3-on-2 rush. Trouba drives the net, which opens up DeBlois to receive an easy pass.
DeBlois' shot is stopped by Summerhays, but he kicks the rebound towards the corner.
Trouba is there and collects the puck. He pulls a nice spin move around his defender before hitting DeBlois with a pass that he just shovels past Summerhays. Summerhays is kinda out of position on this one.
10:34 Michigan 1 Notre Dame 1: Anders Lee (20) from Jeff Costello (19) & Stephen Johns (13)
Notre Dame sends in a shot from the point. It's hard to tell from the video whether the shot is direct of whether it gets slightly tipped, but either way it goes behind the net and hits the infamously bouncy Joe Louis Arena dasher boards.
The puck takes a bad bounce (for Michigan) and ends up with Costello at the side of the net.
He spins towards the front of the net and passes to Lee, who's open in the slot. Racine has already hit the ice to stop a potential shot from Costello, so all Lee has to do is lift the puck over him. Michigan handled this pretty well defensively, as I can't think of what else you could really do here. Just an unfortunate bounce that ended up in the back of the net.
00:29 Michigan 1 Notre Dame 2: Austin Wuthrich (5) from Mario Lucia (11) & T.J. Tynan (18)
Bennett gets turned inside-out by his man, though the puck ends up at the blueline before Notre Dame gains control again. He takes a step towards the guy that burned him, so Trouba starts to move in the other direction.
Bennett then steps the other direction again (towards Trouba), which bunches both of Michigan's defensemen together. By stepping back towards the middle Bennett has opened up his check to a pass, and that's exactly what ND does.
Wuthrich gets the puck and shoots quickly, beating Racine. Trouba tries to move over to cover where Bennett should be but can't get there in time.
18:53 Michigan 1 Notre Dame 3: Jeff Costello (11)
Moffie chops at the puck to try and get it into the Notre Dame zone, which causes Racine to go towards the bench for an extra skater. The problem? There's an ND player at the blueline who gains possession of the puck and passes it up into the neutral zone.
Just read the screencap please.
This season in one screencap: effort, yes, but not enough to overcome a bad situation.
If you have hockey-related things you'd like to see future diary entries about please let me know in the comments section. Without games to do GBGAs of I'll be looking to branch out a little.