Life As A Vole Comment Count

Brian April 8th, 2011 at 1:46 PM

4/7/2011 – Michigan 1, North Dakota 0 – 29-10-4, national championship berth

[Ed-M: M 2, NoDak 0 if you count the empty-netter but it felt like 1-0]


little pimpin'

42:40: The first time I looked at the clock. You'll note this is still in the first period. At this point I was a bit uncomfortable with the way things were tilted and wanted them to get to the locker room to regroup so they could get back on the relatively even footing it seemed they'd grasped. I mean, North Dakota seemed better but there was a bit in there where this looked like a plausible hockey game.

40:59: Ref gives Michigan embellishment call as player tries to hop around defender to grab the puck. Furious.

40:00: Exhale. Pop on twitter to complain about Rust's elbowing call. Think back to the 2003 Yost regional final when Mark Mink turned a harmless shorthanded CC turnover behind their own net to a wrap-around goal. Remember shouting "you haven't done anything all year but I FORGIVE YOU" at Mink. Half wince at persistent complaints about amount of playing time handed over to Ben Winnett over the years, half take credit for goal since universe tends to say "oh YEAH" at blog assertions.

39:30: This isn't going well. Already.

36:55: Derek DeBlois is headed off the ice when the puck approaches the bench; he hesitates for a second, looks like he's going to play it, and then continues. They call too many men.

34:55: Michigan kills another power play without really letting North Dakota get set up. That's their third; at no point has UND looked dangerous.

35:00: Still not going well at all.

33:03: Ref fails to call a matching minor on a Sioux slash. Power play.

29:50-ish. Hunwick robs Chay Genoway as he plunges into the slot, Eric Werner-style. He receives a cross-slot pass. A pass that goes from one prime shooting area from another is completed and Hunwick makes the save with his body. He's outside the crease as he does this.


29:05: The point at which I look at the clock and say "over half this period is gone" with sudden relief and realize I have been looking at this hockey game as the world's longest penalty kill since the 42:40 mark. I admit this to myself now. We are going to look like Wayne State against Colorado College the night before Mink scores the goal that forgives all: lined up on the blue line like men being executed for treason.

25:00-ish: Gregoire turns Langlais and comes swooping in on net right-to-left. He's on his forehand and has the entire net; Hunwick slides with him and stones him.


24:12: Hunwick drinks water. A friend who sits in the end zones at Yost told me that Hunwick is finicky about his water. Whenever a ref comes by to drink some his body language reads "why do you have to be like that?"


20:00: Exhale. Type "shitshitshitshitshitshitshit" into twitter because at this point analysis is impossible. I'm pretty sure Clare isn't playing much and there have been points when the fourth line has gotten trapped in its own end against the Frattin line that I can remember now but it's fight or flight.

18:00: Ten percent.

16:00: Twenty percent.

15:51: Frattin plays in on Malone as Glendening gets beat around the corner. Hunwick goes for a poke check and gets it; I realize this about five seconds later since the animal terror had been focused on the area behind Hunwick where the puck would pop out as the inevitable, devastating five-hole goal was scored. imageimageimage

I think about how I've seen this story before.

In 2004 Boston College was bombing Al Montoya but Michigan was hanging on to a one-goal lead thanks to goals from Mike Brown and Andy Burns—basically Winnett, except Burns was a defenseman scoring his first of the year. After a hectic nine-minute stretch without whistles in which Michigan finally started playing BC even, Michigan gave up a goal off an offensive zone faceoff. Whole self deflated, etc. BC won in overtime; shots ended up 42-15 BC.

12:33: I am being hunted. A shadow passes to my right as I scurry, tiny legs whirring through wildflowers. The shadow is getting larger.


image imageimage



I have no idea where the puck is but I don't care because it's not in the net. Air Force did this to us. God, we were good that year.

When I came home my then girlfriend had someone over. I said nothing, went into the bedroom, and closed the door. She silently brought me a glass and some whiskey, and I thought she was as wonderful as anything could be in a universe of total blackness.

Fifty percent.

9:32: Nothing much is happening righ—DON'T EVEN THINK THAT

8:50: Merrill holding call. This is all my fault.

6:50: Merrill comes out of the box without North Dakota getting much more than a point shot, but Michigan gets stuck in their end just as the penalty expires and is clearly gassed. I remember a game against Maine in which Michigan was down to five defensemen, one of whom was a walk-on, but not like Hunwick is a walk-on. Like a walk-on walk-on. They mostly played four guys. Mike Komisarek was a giant, a future pro who was unbelievably good, but by the end of the game he could barely move, and Maine put the Comrie era to bed.

The puck slides to the blue line, but not out. The linesman doesn't see it that way. Good linesman. I take back everything bad I've ever said about offsides.

5:00: Seventy five percent.

4:00: Now counting in minute increments. At 3:14 I decide there are three minutes left. I hate that 2:37 is still three minutes. 2:16: two minutes. Kill one power play. Come on.

1:13: Goalie gone. "Get it out," someone screams. The puck does not get out.

57.5: A pass slithers out from behind the net and manages to avoid the mess of sticks and skates camped out there. This memory does not require a refresher from wikipedia because it's terrifyingly recent: UMD just scored into a wide-open net against Notre Dame on this exact same pass. Hagelin throws himself at the shot and blocks it. The puck turns heel and ends up right back on Trupp's stick. He walks into the slot and lets it loose; Pateryn has thrown himself at this one and the puck deflects into the corner. It's thrown back out into the same spot on the ice, where Trupp waits; Hagelin has recovered and chucks the puck into the other corner.

image imageimageimage

44:1: UND recovers and throws a couple passes around the perimeter. The second one is one-timed; Hagelin is again there. He blocks it. Puck turns back into an American hero by somehow lying directly at Hagelin's feet after the block. He's attacked by the defenseman who just fired it; Hagelin evades him; Michigan breaks to center ice three on two; Hagelin passes it over to Caporusso as another Sioux player comes up to stop him; Louie does the same when the last remaining defender approaches him at the blue line; Scooter—of course it is Scooter—slides the puck into the empty net.


Someone tries to shake my hand or something and is hugged.

0:00. 60:00.

Photoshop Espectacularrrrr

I didn't want to lead the post with this but there was quality work done on the board last night, most of it inspired by this guy:


[click for big]

Usually bird-flipping maniacs don't look like accountants. Our previous experience tends more towards lawyers:


Two things to note:

  • Louie Caporusso giving him the bird right back—I didn't even know you could do that in a hockey glove.
  • See the guy in the white giving a death stare that moves from Scooter to the bird-flipper? Yeah, if you watch the Winnett goal that guy flips off Winnett. North Dakota fans: classy.





Complete this photoshop espectacularrrrr.

Hell Yes Bullets

Random guys who played well unexpectedly. Luke Moffat had as much of a game as you can have as a third/fourth liner in a game where you're pinned in your own end most of the time. Melrose was all about Rust, and with reason. Moffie was not exploited—he went with Frattin in the first period and tied up his stick, turning what looked like it was going to be a dangerous chance into a weak shot Hunwick had no problem with.

Rust. RUST. I think we're getting a sense of just how silently good he is. Michigan's late-season renaissance has come with Rust logging huge minutes against top lines and it doesn't seem to matter who's on his wing. A win tomorrow makes Shawn Hunwick a legend and it should probably make Rust one too—Schwartz, Frattin, and UNO's big guns have little to show in three nerve-wracking games. If UMD says the same tomorrow he instantly becomes the most underrated Michigan player in the last decade.

Ref complaint. Seriously, the reason people say "keep your head up" is so you can get hit in the head with someone's shoulder, and calling a charge on Michigan after an obvious charge on North Dakota makes me want to die, not to mention a trip on the goalie late in the game that was totally ignored. Yost Built heard it was Scott Hansen from HE and immediately said "that's the guy who waved off the Ryznar goal in Buffalo"—so, yeah, basically any time Michigan gets a HE crew they will have screwed Michigan at some point in the past.

ESPN non-complaint. Melrose was all about North Dakota last night and people were all about ripping Melrose, but he was right. This was a "sometimes the best team doesn't win situation" and it was obvious on the ice. Kudos to Michigan for doing what they needed to but asking Melrose not to marvel at the Sioux is asking him to turn a blind eye to reality. Red agrees:

“I’ll tell you, they’ve got to be stunned,” Berenson said. “I know we were in '97. We were stunned. There’s so much momentum built up in your season. They rolled through the season, they rolled through their playoffs, they rolled their playoffs, they rolled through the first regional.

“But they’re stunned. They can’t believe it. They’re going to second guess themselves.”

Michigan just beat '97 Michigan. That team was stacked, and saying so doesn't make you a bad dude.

Also, I love Gary Thorn so much.

Gurrrrrgh. Someone retweeted Lee Moffie apologizing for nailing some dude in the crowd:

I want to apologize to the guy I hit in the face today in crowd. #toughmits #peterpanic #bouncingpucks

I followed Moffie since that's entertainment right there, and then it suggested I follow "ajtrea23," which is obviously AJ Treais even if the number is messed up, and I clicked through. Treais's bio:

University of Michigan 13'. The Andover High School 09'. A less dynamic version of TJ Hensick.

My spidey sense told me to Google this and sure enough:


Tell Winnett I'm so so sorry.


The highlights in non-picture format:

Yost Built on the flipper:

didn't you feel like that when Andrew Volkening shut us out 2-0, despite the Wolverines outshooting Air Force 43-13? Didn't you feel like that when Ryan Miller beat us 1-0 in a game that we outshot Michigan State by a 31-13 count?

This is how it feels to have the goalie that makes opposing fans do...well...that.

Sioux fans are going to think about this game--this season--for the next decade as the one that got away. This is going to be their 1997. The year their team was near unbeatable during the year, actually unbeatable for the 2 1/2 months heading into the tournament, and that damn tiny walk-on goalie slammed the door on them.

I don't even blame the guy, really. HSR. You can stream the game again if you want. Blazefire says that was Lloydballed—I wonder how much of it was optional. Daily coverage includes:

"Kevin Hunwick" reigns supreme. Mets Maize on blind terror.


Michigan Arrogance

April 8th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

Are you kidding? I was counting in minute increments the ENTIRE 3rd period. I said to my self,"well, all I have to get thru is 20 of these one minute intervals. That's not too bad."

Well, it was.... until it wasn't anymore.


April 8th, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

I was wondering what was taking so long for the "daily" post. It was well worth the wait.

So, does Burlon play on Saturday night or shouldn't the 'chemistry' be messed with?

Six Zero

April 8th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

The forecheck was incredible in that game.  Intense, bring the lunchbox, yet incredibly intelligent.  That's all Red right there.  Kudos boys


April 8th, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^

I'm commenting on a *tiny* subset of NoDak fans here (the ones visible in the video).

They look like a nasty bunch of people, maybe Ohio State -- Upper Midwest.  I've seen their type at Iowa games (but, for some reason, not so much at Minnesota games).  I get the feeling they all know lots of non-PC jokes of the racial variety (consistent with their monoculture).


April 8th, 2011 at 2:15 PM ^

There were points in the third, my left sock half off because that's how it was against UNO and CC, where I was freezing, despite wearing my Big Chill scarf, and I could not make my fingers type the letters to make anything appear on the screen.  I literally was too nervous/anxious to type. That has never, ever happened to me before.  It was amazing.


April 8th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

It seemed like 75% of the game was played in our end.  I never entertained the idea that we could actually win until it was under 3 minutes.

2011 the year of the Wolverine!


April 8th, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

I have seen this game at least 20 times before, only usually that means I'm suffering through Game 6 - and the last - of what's already been a miserable series for the Wings.  So this is what it's like on the other side.


April 8th, 2011 at 2:22 PM ^

Wow.  You know that Red still smarts from 97 if he brought it up so easily in those post-game comments.  Must be nice "redemption" in a way, for him.  Because 97 sucked.  Big time.


April 8th, 2011 at 2:23 PM ^

I want the Scooter-Cappy-bird GIF is there anyway i can "save" that to my computer or get it? I'm not real good with computers, just know the basics, any help would be appreciated.


I see you Matt Rust, I see you! Dude was sick all game, and got ALOT of ice time! Also, you see Scooter DANGLE??!!?! No goal came from it but DAMN he had the rubber on a string, Just seeing that got me out of my chair.


"YESSS!! YES!! YES!! YEESSSS!!!" - The only word I could get out of my mouth after the empty netter...all year we havent been able to fill the empty, and when we did, I couldn't do anything but yell, loudly "YEEESSSS!!"


April 8th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

All my friends have been ripping him today but I have always liked Barry Melrose and nothing he was saying was necessarily wrong. Don't people get it? North Dakota was the heavy favorite and for good reason. They doubled up Michigan on shots on goal and had loads more scoring chances. People need to stop crying about Michigan getting disrespected. THEY WERE A BIG UNDERDOG. IT WAS AN UPSET.


April 8th, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

It was not that he had the "North Dakota as steamroller" meme locked and loaded as his game narrative, because that WAS the dominant narrative.  It was that its like he had not looked at a Michigan line chart before the game.  Go back and watch the first period and see how many times he refers to "the Michigan player" instead of the player by name.  In the third, it was clear that he had time to settle in and start finding Michigan's guys (his praise of Rust, as one example above) but by that point, I was so nervous, I only heard the muted trombones of a Peanuts cartoon adult rather than actual words.


April 8th, 2011 at 3:54 PM ^

Thorne was far worse about this and I'm hugely disappointed Brian likes him.  He continually identified Merill as Hextall and Scooter as Lapointe.  Not to mention all the times he misidentified what was going on because despite calling the damn sport for two decades he doesn't have any fucking clue what the rules are.


April 8th, 2011 at 5:29 PM ^

I've always liked Thorne.  Maybe his precision as a play-by-play guy has slipped, but he usually does a great job of capturing the emotion and intensity of the game.  I'll always remember his call of Darren McCarty's cup winner in '97. 

Plus, I like that he always refers to the Marsh Peg when the net becomes dislodged. 

matty blue

April 8th, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^


  • completely loved the post-live liveblog, and it's amazing how many of brian's thoughts matched my own, down to doing the ridiculous "we're 20% through the last period" calculations in my head (i swear to ufer that's true, by the way.  i always thought i was the only math dork who did that).  AND my pulse was totally racing reading the recap, and the game's been over for 14 fucking hours.
  • i, too, have a hard time giving shit to the bird-flipper.  anyone who says they wouldn't have flipped off ryan miller after that 1-0 game or the air force goalie or just about any ohio state football player prancing about within arm's length after a clincher is lying.
  • it's been a pretty great stretch here in michigan land.  i don't believe in karma, at all, but it's pretty hard to not equate this all with brady hoke coming in.  or not.





April 8th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

I do the calculations too. Except I factor in the whole game. 36 seconds is 1% of the game. It works for football too. With a minute and 48 seconds left, I'm thinking, that's 97% of the game. They haven't scored in 97% of the game, how can they score in the last 3%. And then, of course, they pull the goalie and I start the fetal position rocking. Thank goodness we got the empty netter and saved me a heartattack. I don't think I could've survived the final 1%.

Thanks to Brian for pointing out Caporusso giving the ND fan the glove finger. I missed that the first 100 times I watched it. Classic. Just classic.

Will Vereene

April 8th, 2011 at 3:14 PM ^

This was a great game and though I recognize that MI was the underdog, Melrose could not not get out of NDU's sphincter and give the Michigan team any credit; kept talking about the pace of the game and the many stoppages favoring the Wolverines.

Also, was it strange that most of the sioux players looked like they were thirty sporting full-face  Paul Bunyan beards. Just thought that was odd compare to Hunwick's clean-shavin' baby-face.


April 8th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

It certainly felt like that, didn't it? By nature, all leads in hockey have a little of that feel. But this really felt like it all the way through.
<br>I don't know if anything can heal '97...but a win tomorrow would help.
<br>And anyone else just reads the post just to find out what the title means?


April 8th, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

and may i say

we want more goals     sieve sieve sieve sieve sieve sieve sieve

its all your fault, its all your fault, its all your fault, its all your fault

go blue, go blue, go blue, go blue


April 8th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^ in the rear view mirror, it's time to look forward -- to what the memes will be Sat night.

Plucky underdogs: UMD

Historic power who hasn't won in a few years: Michigan

Goalie playing out of his mind during playoff hockey: Hunwick

Former walk on leading his team to the championship game: Hunwick

Goofy playoff hockey team effort: UMD's blond hair dye jobs



April 8th, 2011 at 10:45 PM ^

"That game was like any Mighty Ducks movie I've ever watched, except more gripping and heartfelt. And faster."

                     - Fred Jackson


April 9th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

i think it has sadly been lost, but one of my friends was a Daily photog during the 2004-05 season and had a brilliant (unpublished, obvs) photo of Milan Gajic flipping off the ref through his glove because there were five Wolverines in the penalty box and they didn't have anywhere to sit.  if i can find it i'll be sure to post it.