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Under Siege: GLI Recap

Box score for the semifinal here; final here.

The semifinal went about as expected: Michigan Tech threw a lot of pucks at the net, but MSU made their shots count. Greg Wolfe scored a power play goal early to take the lead, and Chris Forfar made it 2-0 just before the middle of the game. Tech struck with a 5-on-3 goal from Ryan Furne with 12:32 to go in the game, but Drew Palmisano remained a wall in front of the net and kept the Spartans in front until Brett Perlini could seal the game with an empty-net goal. Tech outshot the Spartans 46-26 for the game, but there were few truly scary chances for the Huskies.

With Michigan upsetting Boston College in the other semifinal, the final was a rematch of the series three weeks ago. The opening strike didn't occur until past the midway point of the second period, with Tanner Sorensen putting the Spartans up 1-0. MSU carried that advantage into the third period, but the third period was not a good one.

Michigan absolutely dominated play in the third with a ridiculous 24-3 shots-on-goal advantage. A mid-period power play for the Wolverines was killed off, but MSU was never able to clear the puck and regroup, and about 30 seconds after the penalty expired, Michigan cashed in with a goal from Derek DeBlois. The Spartans regained the lead with just 7:28 to go on Perlini's second goal of the weekend off a beautiful feed from Kevin Walrod, but that was only a brief respite from the siege. An unfortunate penalty on Brent Darnell for tripping away from the play with just over two minutes to go only made matters worse. Michigan pulled goalie Shawn Hunwick for a 6-on-4 advantage at the one-minute mark, and Kevin Lynch deflected in a pass from the corner to force overtime, where Kevin Clare would eventually win it nearly 12 minutes in.

The good:

  • Drew Palmisano set a GLI two-game record for saves with 90, 45 in each game. There were a couple of spectacular saves against Tech, but it was the Michigan game in particular where he made several outstanding stops. The final could easily have been a blowout if not for his heroics.
  • Perlini scored once in each game, an empty net goal to seal the semifinal win and the third-period go-ahead goal.
  • Torey Krug had two assists for the weekend and a +2 plus/minus rating. Krug, Palmisano, and Perlini all made the all-tournament team.

The bad:

  • Being outshot 94-51 on the weekend. It's a mark of how spectacularly Palmisano played that we were in either game; you won't win too many games that way even with Ryan Miller in his heyday in net.
  • A second chance at Boston College might have been helpful for Pairwise reasons; with our only Hockey East game for the year being the loss to them in the Icebreaker to start the season, the common games point against Hockey East teams is likely lost. A win over BC could have swung those comparisons, as most of Hockey East won't have a .500 record against them. (On the other hand, if those teams have played against CCHA teams or our other non-conference opponents, we're better off with only one loss instead of two, as all of their BC games will count anyway.) Insert usual rant about the absurdity of the Pairwise here (although there are certainly worse ways to go about it; we need only look at the BCS for proof).

Next up: MSU resumes conference play with home series against Miami-Ohio, Northern Michigan, and Lake Superior State the next three weekends.