KALAMAZOO Unbeknownst to them, the Michigan and Western Michigan hockey teams escaped the realms of reality this past Friday night and played their game in Bizarro Yost.
And just when it seemed like there had been enough strange occurrences to last for the entire season, another found a way to manifest itself.
n When the Michigan line charts were distributed before Friday”s game, Mark Kosick and Dave Huntzicker”s names were back. Kosick had been benched for three games after struggling through the first half of the season. Huntzicker, one of Michigan”s assistant captains, was returning after injuring his MCL on Nov. 17 against Alaska-Fairbanks.
While the presence of those two names in the lineup wasn”t all that surprising, as the coaching staff had mentioned that both were possibilities to play in the game, the No. 1 goalie on the sheet was.
Instead of Josh Blackburn, Michigan”s usual starter, the chart listed senior L.J. Scarpace, a former goalie on the Western Michigan team, as Friday”s starter.
Blackburn was in goal to start the game.
n To add to the confusion in the lines, Michigan”s starters on defense were called over the public address system before the game as Jeff Jillson and Huntzicker.
For the opening faceoff, Jillson took the ice with freshman Mike Komisarek, his linemate since early November.
“That was a mistake,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “The starters made a mistake on that, but he wasn”t going to start the game. Maybe that was a sentimental mistake.”
n The PA system was in the spotlight again as the game proceeded. Throughout the first two periods, the speakers were giving off a muffled, almost inaudible sound reminiscent of the tone made when talking through a styrofoam cup.
But, at 7:17 of the third, during the announcement of a Michigan goal, the speakers suddenly started working, startling the fans and the announcer himself.
“Let”s try that again,” he joked before starting the announcement from the beginning.
n The goal that was being announced when the system kicked in was about as rare and unusual as the rest of the night”s events.
Trying to clear the puck on a penalty kill, defenseman Mike Roemensky fired it down the ice to the left side of the goal. In an attempt to stop the puck, which was a good five feet away from the net, junior goalie Jeff Reynaert put his stick to the ice.
Miraculously, the puck deflected off the stick and sailed into the net, sending the Michigan fans into a confused frenzy.
But no one was more surprised than Roemensky, who didn”t even see his first goal of the season find the twine.
“I was asking people how it went in because I just made a line change,” Roemensky said. “It”s kind of weird. It”s a goal. I”ll take it wherever I can get it. It”s a lucky goal at best.”