Friday, March 2, 2007

NMU falls behind 1-0 in first-round series

The first games of the CCHA Playoffs were everything that a fan could have hoped for. Three of the four games went into overtime and two of the wins were come-from-behind victories. Playoff hockey was, as it should be, a thrill.

Unless you're talking about the NMU Wildcats.

It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong for the Wildcats did on Friday as they dropped their first (and the night's most lopsided) CCHA Tournament game against Ohio State, 6-2.

At the 12:29 mark in a scoreless game, Darin Olver was whistled for kneeing. He received a five-minute major and a ten-minute game misconduct. The OSU power-play kicked in and two PP goals put the Buckeyes up 2-0 early in the second. Soon after, they struck again as Mathieu Beaudoin put OSU up by a trio.

That marked the end of senior goalie Bill Zaniboni's night and he was replaced with freshman netminder Brian Stewart less than halfway through the game.

Zaniboni had allowed three goals on 22 shots. Playing in roughly half of the game, Stewart allowed three goals on 21 shots.

Matt Maunu cut the Ohio State lead to 3-1 at the second intermission, but the flood gates burst open again in the final frame, with the Buckeyes piling on three more goals. Mike Santorelli added one last goal for the 'Cats.

NMU was out-shot 43-24 on the night and have now lost 11 straight games in Columbus. NMU must now win back-to-back games against OSU in order to advance in the CCHA Tournament.

This may prove to be a problem. Although the Wildcats have occasionally looked like a very solid hockey team this season, they have had serious trouble piecing together two good games in back-to-back nights.

The puck drops tomorrow at 7:05.

In other CCHA Tournament games (aka. the way playoff hockey should be):

FSU 4, LSSU 3 (OT)
-Trailing 3-2 with less than four minutes remaining in the game, Ferris State's Aaron Lewicki sent the game into overtime with his goal at the 16:29 mark. Then, 12 minutes into overtime, Bulldog forward Mark Bomersback completed a hat trick and lifted Ferris to victory over the Lakers.

-Staying in the come-from-behind vein, the Nanooks were trailing 2-0 late in this game. They then mounted an improbable comeback, scoring two goals (one short-handed) in the final two and a half minutes to send the contest into OT. The Nanook momentum carried them to the victory and Lucas Burnett netted the game-winner at the 4:09 mark of overtime.

UNO 3, BGSU 2 (OT)
-Another overtime game, and probably the most surprising. After blowing the Falcons out in the regular season (overall score: 20-3), UNO was pushed to the limit at home against Bowling Green. After trading goals throughout regulation, the two teams skated through 4:24 of overtime before Maverick Mick Lawrence fired the game-winning shot.

-All teams play again Saturday night.

No comments: