BUFFALO, N.Y. – It may have not been enough to win, but it made Minnesota worry enough.
The pseudo-fourth line of sophomores David Moss and Jason Ryznar – fellow winger Milan Gajic was injured during most of the game – played well enough without a third linesman, according to Minnesota coach Don Lucia. Michigan senior Jed Ortmeyer usually filled in for the injured sophomore.
“The hardest matchup we had was with Ryznar’s and Moss’ line,” Lucia said. “(Minnesota sophomore fourth-line center) Jake Fleming’s not real big (compared to Moss), so it’s not a great matchup, but what are you going to do? That was our biggest concern – they were such a load down low … they threw Ortmeyer on that line … and we tried to put bigger defensemen out there.”
Neither Moss nor Ryznar had a point – Ryznar came close midway through as he had an assist (or a possible goal, depending on what the replay showed) disallowed as an official blew the play dead before a dribbling puck went in the net. But what they did do was shut down Minnesota’s fourth line of Fleming, junior Jon Waible and sophomore Garrett Smaagaard, holding it to a combined four shots, no points and a minus-four rating.
“They call it the so-called fourth line, but they’ve got four real good lines,” Smaagaard said. “We had to play defense first and then try to produce offense coming out.”
Even though the result of the game was hardly what Moss wanted to see, he could still manage to hold his head up high in being able to play his style of game well.
“Ryz and I, we work the puck down low, and we take pride in that,” Moss said. “If we can shutdown one of their lines, that’s fine. We just wanted to work hard out there.”
One that wasn’t: For a second, it appeared Michigan had scored a huge goal midway through the third to take a 3-2 lead. The section of Michigan fans behind Minnesota’s goal rose to their feet, as the Wolverines pushed the puck through a melee and over the goaline.
But after review, the goal was waived off because it was ruled that the whistle had already blown. That left the score 2-2 and the Wolverines deflated.
“From our angle on the bench, we could see it going over the line about the time the whistle was blown,” Berenson said. “I didn’t have the privilege of seeing the replay.”
Berenson added that the Wolverines tried not to dwell on the play down the stretch. But he was left wondering if the right call was made.
D-town representin’: So, watch out Utica – Detroit is a city on the grow.
Apparently with the Super Bowl coming to Ford Field in 2006 and the possibility of baseball’s all-star game coming to Comerica Park in two years, Joe Louis Arena is possibly ready to host one of the premier sporting events other than the usual World Wrestling Entertainment event.
According to CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos, the Frozen Four may be coming to the Joe as early as 2007 or 2008 – and it may also be the site of an upcoming NCAA Midwest Regional within the next three years – after next season’s regional in Grand Rapids.
“We’ve met with Joe Louis (officials), and it looks like we’re moving forward,” Anastos said.
Anastos also said both 2007 and 2008 are up in the air, as for who will host. But in 2008, the selection process becomes much more complicated, as the Frozen Four is a week later than usual – as was the case this year – and becomes a conflict with the NHL playoffs. The NCAA dodged a potential problem when the Buffalo Sabres did not make the playoffs, which started two days ago. Detroit’s chance to host in 2008 may not be as good as it would be in 2007, given its playoff schedule would not be as easy to adjust to the Frozen Four as the regular season would be.
Stop it already: The crowd at HSBC Arena was not happy with the repeated playing of the NCAA “student-athlete” commercials – seen during about every commercial break of the men’s basketball tournament – being played over the big screen. After the third running of the shot-putter version and second of the swimmer, the fans began to boo the 30-second clips and produce some of the loudest noise of the night with their displeasure. The 18,000-plus fans applauded the new Niagara University advertisement that appeared in the third period in place of the NCAA one.