Tag Archives: Wolverines

Our GLI Experience

College hockey is an amazing thing. I would go as far as describing it as the heart of the sport. The players aren’t out on the ice competing for a paycheck, but rather to support their teammates and represent the name on their sweaters. This past Monday and Tuesday, I was fortunate to attend the Great Lakes Invitational. I was reminded why I love college hockey and how it truly has a strong impact on higher levels of the game. Here is a quick recap of the two-day tournament:

Falcons Crash the Party

The Bowling Green Falcons were this year’s Great Lakes Invitational Champions. They achieved this by defeating Michigan in a close matchup Monday night, then by downing Michigan Tech 4-1 the following evening. Goals in the second game for the Falcons were provided by Brett D’Andrea, Connor Ford, John Schilling, and Tyler Spezia. Freshman goaltender Eric Dop played very well between the pipes in the final game, stopping 29-of-30 shots.

Tournament Team

The all-tournament team consisted of players from each of the four participants. Forwards included Lukas Craggs of Bowling Green, Cooper Marody from Michigan, and Patrick Khodorenko out of Michigan State. The defense corps were represented by Bowling Green’s Alec Rauhauser and Michigan Tech’s Mitch Reinke. Bowling Green goaltender Eric Dop rounded out the all-tournament team. Craggs was also slated as the tournament MVP, with two goals and three assists during that span.

Hockey in Michigan

Three of the four teams that participated in the invitational were from the Mitten State. Minnesota may proclaim themselves as the “State of Hockey,” but Michigan sure does have their own argument. All of these programs performed well and had bright spots in each of their games. The rosters themselves were made up of many players from Michigan, including eight on the roster of Bowling Green, the only out-of-state team in the tournament.

Little Caesars Arena

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see the NHL’s newest venue, you’re missing out. The design of the perimeter and concourse area make for a modern and clean look. There are several restaurants connected directly to the arena, which make for a great game day experience. At different points, we sat clear at the top, as well as right by the glass, and I don’t think there was a bad seat in the place. The décor was spot-on, filling the venue with rich history and tradition.

Michigan v. Michigan State

Ohio State may be Michigan’s rival in most sports, but in hockey, it’s their inter-state foMich-Ste, Michigan State. These two teams met in the consolation game, with the Wolverines taking a 6-4 decision. There was plenty of exciting action, including some pushing and shoving after the whistle. These two teams will meet again in the same location for a “Duel in the D” on Saturday, February 10th.

Falcon Momentum

After the New Year, the season has resumed for NCAA Hockey teams around the country. This is the most intriguing point in the season, where teams either stumble and miss the postseason, or they get a massive load of steam rolling forward. Momentum can be a crazing thing in sports. At the moment, the team that represents that is Bowling Green. Their players have a ton of confidence after winning this tournament as the “special invite” team. They face Ferris State in WCHA play this weekend.

Island of Misfit Toys

The second-place Michigan Tech Huskies might have lost the tournament they were hosting, but their supportive fan base surely liftMichiganTeched their spirits. Shout-out to Mitch’s Misfits and their pep band for a great tournament. Even in an NHL facility, they could be heard. At one point, it’s almost certain they were shouting “Go Tech” for two or three minutes straight. Keep those lungs rested and best of luck the rest of the year.

Jeopardy Question

Who raised the first banner in Little Caesars Arena? Well, that would be the Bowling Green Falcons. It was joke on the car ride home that in technicality, the Red Wings won’t be able to say they raised the first banner in their own area. The Great Lakes Invitational banner was lowered after the game and raised following the ceremonies.

Dreams Come True

Although the NCAA is a great pool for the NHL to pick through, not all players have the talent to make it at the next level. This event was an opportunity for some lower-tier players to skate in a game on NHL ice and live out their dreams. One thing that makes the GLI so special is the relationship with the Detroit Red Wings, who have loaned out their home ice since the beginning of the tournament. Seeing the smiles on players’ faces was like watching kids in a candy store, as they scratched an item off their bucket lists.

NCAA Weekly Match-Up, 10/1/17

October is finally here! The puck has officially dropped on the 2017-18 season!

While it’s time for celebration, it’s also time for people like me to get busy. I’m rolling out a new weekly segment, where I will be choosing one game/series and give you a pre-game preview and post-game write-up(s). If you ever have any suggestions or want to see your team in the spotlight, let us know on Twitter (get ready for the shameless plug.) You can find us at @DTFrozenRiver.

At this point in the early season, there weren’t many games to choose. I could have sided with one of Saturday’s matchups (Boston University defeats Union 4-1; Colgate wins over Niagara 5-1), but I find this Sunday tilt particularly interesting. Without further ado, here is the NCAA Weekly Match-Up:

Wisconsin Badgers v. Michigan Tech Huskies

Let’s start with the Badgers. The Big 10 preseason poll has them coming in at 3rd out of seven teams. In this particular position (if preseason rankings actually mean anything to you), they are a “bubble team.” What that means is if they perform particularly well, they could exceed expectations and be sitting atop the standings at the end of the season. Or, they could live-up to that 3rd place ranking, which will result in an acceptable season, but not a great one. Wisconsin will be a fun team to watch, as tWisconsinhey hope to crash Minnesota’s party. The Gophers are preseason favorites, but I think the Badgers may have something to say about that. Wisconsin will have to replace their leading scorer, Luke Kunin (22-16-38), as well as graduated senior and former Assistant Captain Grant Besse (9-19-28). They will need to see improved play from others, which they believe they will get. If they want to make a good run, they will look to start off on the right foot with this non-conference match-up.

Alright Techies, time to talk about you. I am really interested to see how the Huskies perform this season. What type of product will they be able to put on the ice? In the WCHA pre-season poll, they also received a 3rd place ranking. There problem is that they have a lot more going on behind the scenes in Houghton. Let’s start with the obvious. Mel Pearson was a machine. He helped lead Tech to many successful seasons, culminating in a Broadmoor Trophy. With the retiring of Red Berenson in Michigan (Pearson’s former home as an Assistant Coach), many people feared the worst. Their fears became reality with Pearson accepted the Head Coach position at Michigan. TMichiganTechhe hiring of new Head Coach Joe Shawhan will bring a new era. This new era will also begin with uncertainty on the back end. The goaltenders on their roster include a true freshman, a young transfer, and a junior who has only appeared in five games. With the surprise exit of Angus Redmond, the Huskies must find a way to protect their own net. While they do return many good quality players, graduating seniors made up a large bulk of their scoring last season. I think Michigan Tech will still have a good season, but they will need to overcome a lot of adversity to be back in the NCAA Tournament.

Players to Watch:

Wisconsin – F, Trent Frederic (Sophomore) and G, Jack Berry (Sophomore)

Michigan Tech – F, Joel L’Esperance (Senior) and D, Mark Auk (Senior)

 

Game Details:

Sunday (10/1/17) at 2:00pm

Kohl Center (Madison, WI)

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Post-Game Wrap-Up:

The Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan Tech Huskies faced off in an early season tilt and what a game it was.

The Cardinal and White got off to a great start, as they put up the only two goals of the first period. At 5:51 of the first period, junior Seamus Malone moved the puck behind the net. Although Tech goalie Patrick Munson was able to fend off the chance, junior forward Will Johnson capitalized on the rebound.

Later in the period, a new face to the Badgers would collect his first collegiate goal. As Michigan Tech’s Jake Jackson went off for a slashing call, Wisconsin’s power-play unit took the ice. Linus Weissbach regained control of the puck after it was blocked by a Husky and sent a wrist shot over the shoulder of Munson. Assists were credited to Johnson Trent Frederic.

Into the second period, Michigan Tech showed they were also capable of using the man advantage. Joel L’Esperance would score his first goal of the young season. Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, the Badgers would regain their two-goal lead shortly after. Senior forward Ryan Wagner entered the zone along the boards and placed a beautiful pass right onto the stick of Weissbach, who was camped near the front of the net. He one-timed the puck behind Munson for his second of the night. Frederic also earned a helper, which earned him his second point as well.

The Huskies would close the gap one more time late in the second period. Another goal on the power-play, scored by Jake Lucchini, put them within one. Gavin Gould and Mark Auk assisted on the play, with Auk earning a multi-point game. Neither team would find the back of the net in the third period, as both Munson and Wisconsin goaltender Kyle Hayton were dialed in.

 

Post-Game Notes:

Players to Watch – Well, we went three for four, which is probably about as good as it gets (we aren’t technically professionals at this). Wisconsin’s Trent Frederic had two assists; Michigan Tech’s Mark Auk also had two assists, while Joel L’Esperance put one point on the scoreboard.

Goalie Match-Up – The goaltending was very well played, regardless of the scoresheet. The Huskies started Patrick Munson, the transfer from the University of Denver. Although his game was not perfect, he showed flashes of brilliance. If he can polish his play, Tech may have found their new number one. Wisconsin countered with Kyle Hayton, a graduate transfer from St. Lawrence. If he continues his strong play that Badger fans witnessed tonight, Jack Berry may be finding himself on the bench more often than not.

First Collegiate Goal (…and Second) – There are many Badgers to keep eyes on this season, but you can surely add Linus Weissbach to the list. The Gothenburg, Sweden native may be a long way from home, but he seems right at home in a Wisconsin uniform. He scored two goals tonight, leading the way to a non-conference victory. Another unique first on the night came from Patrick Munson, who assisted on the first Husky goal (that’s right, goalie making plays). That was his first point as a member of the Black and Gold.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game – Regardless of the outcome, both teams were surely proud to partake in such a special game. Unfortunately for the Huskies, they will not have a shot at revenge this season, since this was not a two-game series.

Next Appearances – Wisconsin will take on Ohio State next weekend (10/6 and 10/7), as they open up Big Ten play. Michigan Tech will head to Duluth, Minnesota, as they are participating in the Ice Breaker Tournament. They will face off against Union on Friday and will drop the puck against either Minnesota or Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday.

December 8 – Day 57 – Orange you glad I picked two orange teams?

It’s Thirsty Thursday at a hockey rink near you!

*Disclaimer: I do not actually know if it is Thirsty Thursday at your local arena. Please do not assume I know your club’s Thursday promotions.*

The action starts at 7 p.m. with three contests (Colorado at Boston, St. Louis at the New York Islanders and Edmonton at Philadelphia), followed half an hour later by three more (New Jersey at Montréal [RDS/SN360], Vancouver at Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh at Florida). The New York Rangers at Winnipeg drops the puck at the top of the hour, and Nashville at Dallas trails at 8:30 p.m. 9 p.m. marks the beginning of Calgary at Arizona, which precedes tonight’s nightcap – Carolina at Los Angeles – by 90 minutes.

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Flyers are currently playing must-watch hockey. Tonight, they host a good Oilers team, so we’re off to the Wells Fargo Center.

Unknown-5Philadelphia Flyers Logo

 

Edmonton enters tonight’s game on a streak of their own, but it’s as far from Philly‘s as it can be without being a losing skid – they’ve suffered two-straight overtime losses. The Oilers are 14-10-4 for first place in the Pacific Division, and they’ve gotten to that position by playing an incredible offense that has already notched 82 goals, the most in the Western Conference.

Second-year pro and first-year captain Connor McDavid has headlined that scoring effort this season, notching 36 points in 28 games – the highest point total in the league, much less the Oilers. He’s joined by Leon Draisaitl to co-lead the club with 11 goals apiece.

Much of the success is due to Edmonton taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves in the form of opposing penalties. The Oil‘s 20.4% success rate is 10th-best in the league, co-led by Draisaitl and McDavid’s 10 man-advantage points. Draisaitl’s effort with the extra-man has been especially impressive, as his seven power play goals ties for second-most in the NHL.

Hosting them this evening are the 15-10-3 Flyers – a club who has earned 40% of their wins in the past 12 days to move into fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. The reason they’ve been able to pull off this streak is due totally to their offense, which has notched 87 goals so far this year.

Who else to lead Philly‘s scoring effort than Wayne Simmonds? His 26 points are just another line item in the long list of things he does for this club. 15 of those points are goals which – you guessed it – is also the best on the squad.

Edmonton‘s power play is good, but Philadelphia‘s is way, way better. Led by Claude Giroux‘ 14 power play points, the Flyers have connected on 23.8% of their man-advantages, the second-best rate in the league. Eight of Simmonds’ goals have been on the power play, double the tally of Giroux to top the squad.

Some players to keep an eye on this evening include Edmonton‘s McDavid (36 points on 25 assists [both lead the NHL]) and Cam Talbot (three shutouts [tied for second-most in the league] among 13 wins [tied for fourth-most in the NHL]) & Philadelphia‘s Giroux (18 assists [tied for fifth-most in the league]) and Simmonds (15 goals [fourth-most in the NHL] among 26 points [tied for ninth-most in the league]).

Philly is marked the favorite by Vegas with a -130 line, but I like Edmonton to take the victory. My pick is dependent on Cam Talbot having a good game, as he either plays well… or he doesn’t. That being said, the Oil do have the additional advantage of the superior penalty kill in their back pocket, which could still be enough to get them out of Philly with the victory.

Hockey Birthday

  • Red Berenson (1939-) – This center was a longtime Blue, playing 519 of his 987 games in the Gateway to the West. He notched 658 points over his 17 career, but nowadays he’s the head man at the University of Michigan.
  • Ted Irvine (1944-) – A left wing with 11 seasons of NHL experience, he spent most of his days playing in Madison Square Garden. He notched 331 points in his career.
  • Drew Doughty (1989-) – This defenseman has never played for anyone but the Kings, the club that drafted him second-overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Recipient of last season’s Norris Trophy, he notched 51 points and 105 blocks.

It took 61:36, but the Washington Capitals were able to hold off the Boston Bruins with a 4-3 overtime victory in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.

It took only 23 seconds for the Caps to earn their first lead of the game, courtesy of Second Star of the Game Justin Williams (Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin). They doubled that lead to 2-0 7:34 later when Williams (Kuznetsov) buried his second of the night with a wrister.

Washington‘s final goal of regulation was struck 5:51 into the second period off a Daniel Winnik (Jay Beagle) wrister. The Bruins waited until 3:25 remained in the frame to begin their impressive comeback with a Dominic Moore (Anton Blidh) wrister. David Pastrnak pulled Boston within a tally with a minute remaining in the second period to set up an exciting third frame.

Only one goal was struck in the remaining 20 minutes, of course belonging to the Bruins. It was Colin Miller (Austin Czarnik and Brad Marchand) who took credit for the game-tying tally with a power play slap shot that eventually forced three-on-three overtime.

Although all momentum was on Boston‘s side, it was First Star Nicklas Backstom (Nate Schmidt and Marcus Johansson) who finished the contest for the Capitals with a game-winning wrister.

Braden Holtby earns the victory after saving 31-of-34 (91.2%), leaving the overtime loss to Tuukka Rask, saving 16-of-20 (80%).

Washington‘s win improves the home sides’ record to 32-19-8 in the DtFR Game of the Day series, a seven-point advantage over the visitors.