BY TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Writer
Published February 15, 2010
The Wolverines won’t forget Nebraska-Omaha senior forward Dan Swanson, not after this past weekend.
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On Saturday, Swanson outsmarted Michigan junior goalie Bryan Hogan — and sealed a crucial weekend sweep for the Mavericks over the Wolverines.
With ten minutes remaining in the third period of Saturday’s game, a Nebraska-Omaha player who was double-teamed near the glass at the top of the circle sent the puck to streaking freshman forward Brandon Richardson. And skating with Richardson was Swanson — they had created a two-on-one, odd-man rush.
Richardson passed the puck past the Michigan defenseman and right to Swanson, who easily scored on Hogan, who was out of position on the pass.
Twenty-three seconds later, Swanson carried the puck up the ice in another two-on-one opportunity. This time, Michigan sophomore defenseman Greg Pateryn went to his stomach to block the pass. But Swanson calmly pulled the puck back and ripped a shot over Hogan’s shoulder.
And just like that, Swanson made it history. The Wolverines were done.
Hogan and the Michigan defense gave up eight goals in all during the weekend sweep, and the netminder was blasted with odd-man rushes at will.
“He made good saves, and he gave up goals he should’ve saved, simple as that," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “There were times when he saved us, and there were times where he cost us. Four goals against is not good enough. And that’s a team thing too, but Hogie is the last line of defense.”
Hogan finished each loss with 27 and 24 saves, respectively, and deserves credit for keeping the games from getting obscenely out of hand. With all of the odd-man rushes Nebraska-Omaha got, things could have been much worse for Michigan.
“There’s been a lot of pressure on him,” Berenson said. “Our team has not been consistent and neither has Hogie. You’re hoping that your goalie can win you a game here and there. And I think he’s been a factor in some of our wins. But he also, like the rest of our team, has been the victim of some of our losses as well.”
This season has been a rollercoaster to say the least for the goalkeeper. Hogan has four shutouts on the season, a 2.30 goals-against average and an average of 21 saves per game. But he has had weekends like this past one in Omaha when the offense struggled and he needed to keep the opponents down, but couldn’t.
After a 2008-09 campaign during which he went 24-6 as a starter and had a 1.97 GAA, he has lost more than double that amount of games this season. One of the biggest differences, and one that showed up this past weekend, was that the offense was scoring goals in bunches when Hogan started last season. This year, the support just hasn’t been there.
But a lack of offense wasn’t completely at fault for Nebraska-Omaha’s sweep, either.
Berenson saw his goalie out of position on some of those odd-man rushes which resulted in goals. Hogan was put in a tough position, but he wasn’t playing the pass and was just waiting on the shot. When the puck was passed, the Mavericks had a wide-open backside of the net to work with.
“There were times when he had no support and times he didn’t read the support,” Berenson said. “Like, if I know this guy (to my side) is wide open, and I’m focused on (the guy with the puck), and I’m convinced he’s going to shoot. And he passes it. I’m toast. I didn’t read it. Every time they got a two-on-one, they scored.”
Nebraska-Omaha prevailed in the end because of the smallest of errors.
The sweep could have crippled the Wolverines’ chances of making the NCAA tournament — Swanson put a dagger in the game, the weekend and possibly Michigan’s season, too.
Injury update: Senior captain Chris Summers was held out of Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Nebraska-Omaha due to concussion-like symptoms. Berenson said Monday that Summers told him that he feels “100 percent.” Summers will skate today and probably take limited contact for a couple of days. And he will take a baseline test today to see whether he indeed suffered a concussion in Omaha. Berenson said he was “optimistic” his captain would play this weekend against Northern Michigan.