Posted Feb. 2
In a penalty-ridden game before a relatively tame Yost Ice Arena crowd, No. 2 Michigan tied Northern Michigan 3-3 in the Wolverines’ third-consecutive overtime contest.
This is the first time in program history Michigan has tied three games in a row, and the Wolverines (15-2-3 CCHA, 22-3-3 overall) have not won a game since beating Notre Dame two weeks ago at the Palace at Auburn Hills.
Michigan outshot the Wildcats (7-11-2, 10-15-3) by 16 shots, but managed just one power-play goal in a game where 21 penalties dished out between the two teams.
Less than four minutes into the first, Freshman Carl Hagelin jumpstarted the recently struggling Wolverine offense. Receiving the puck at the red line, Hagelin outskated everyone on the ice before depositing the puck in the back of the net and negating an impending penalty call to put Michigan over 1-0.
The Swede flew into goalie Brian Stewart after the shot, leaving the Wildcat hunched over for nearly five minutes, but he remained in the game and tallied 34 saves.
Despite Michigan’s strong start out of the gate, Northern Michigan was able to tie the game when a behind-the-blue-line shot took an unlucky bounce off goalie Bryan Hogan (18 saves) and into the goal.
A couple minutes later, the intensity of the series erupted in front of the Wildcat bench. Junior Tim Miller got into an intense shoving battle with senior Matt Siddal, who joined the confrontation between Miller and sophomore Ray Kaunisto in front of him despite being seated on the bench. After deliberating for a few minutes and conferring with an alternate captain from each team, the referees handed out 10 minutes of penalties and Michigan earned an unfruitful power-play opportunity.
But on the next Wolverine man-advantage situation, freshman Louie Caporusso found the top of the net on a beautiful wrist shot from the center of the right circle to put Michigan up 2-1 with just minutes remaining before the break. The goal gave junior alternate captain Mark Mitera his second assist of the night.
In the closing minutes of the period, Miller was called for another penalty (charging) at the same time freshman Matt Rust went to the box for a 10-minute game misconduct.
But as the saying goes, when it rains, it pours, and that was just a drizzle.
Five penalties were called within 95 seconds at the start of the second. At one point, there were four Wolverines squeezed into the box.
Freshman Chad Langlais was called for roughing (contact to the head) and was the first one to join Rust, who was still sitting out for his game misconduct. Less than 30 seconds later, sophomore Chris Summers put Michigan in a 5-on-3 situation after he was called for crosschecking.
Siddall was then called for a rare five-minute headbutting penalty shortly afterwards, and the Wolverines no longer faced the daunting task of killing two minutes of two-men-down hockey. Senior Chad Kolarik’s hooking penalty was the last of the slue of penalties, which would have reminded anyone of the movie “Slapshot.”
Though penalties marred the period, each team found the back of the net once. Kolarik put Michigan up 3-1 after poking in the puck while Stewart was sprawled on the ice halfway through the period. But 37 seconds later, the Wildcats responded when center Matt Butcher found the bottom right of the net on a 2-on-1 situation to make the game 3-2.
The third period was more of the same in terms of penalties, but with 13 minutes remaining, the Wildcat Nick Sirota tied up the game wrist shot from the left circle. Hogan was simply beat by the quick passes set up by Northern Michigan.
With just over a minute left in regulation, Stewart stood on top of his head and stopped an onslaught of Michigan shots with the puck bouncing around the crease. Caporusso had one of the best opportunities with the Wildcat goalie out of position, but was unable to capitalize from the crease’s left side.