Michigan Struggles With BU in Loss
by Joe Meloni/CHN Reporter
BOSTON They just couldn’t finish.
In the first period, Michigan couldn’t finish in the offensive end. In the second, the Wolverines couldn’t finish in the defensive end. And in the third period, they just couldn’t finish the comeback.
After Michigan tied the score, 2-2, when Matt Rust lifted a puck over Kieran Millan’s shoulder with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in regulation, a UM miscue led to BU’s winner.
Goaltender Bryan Hogan misplayed a puck behind his own goal, and BU winger Joe Pereira swooped past him before wrapping around the net tucking it in just as Hogan dove back to his crease.
“Hogie played a good game, but he played a puck off the glass. A goaltender should never play a puck off the glass,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said following BU’s 3-2 win Saturday night.
There were many positives for the Wolverines despite the loss. However, each and every positive came with a negative that overshadowed it by game’s end.
A glance of the final statsheet shows a game that Michigan should have won. They outshot the Terriers, 35-22, and created far more scoring opportunities. BU goaltender Kieran Millan deserves credit for keeping his team ahead, but this isn’t the first time a Michigan team has created more chances only to lose.
In the opening round of the NCAA tournament a season ago, the Wolverines outshot Air Force 43-13 in their 2-0 loss, and in this season’s first game they held the advantage, 23-13, in another 2-0 loss – this time to Alaska.
The issues with finishing extended to the defensive zone on Saturday, though. With BU leading, 1-0, Colby Cohen picked up the puck as he crossed the Michigan blue line. Zach Cohen noticed Colby trailing and slid the puck toward the high slot. Colby waited, and waited as his teammates darted through the low slot in front of goaltender Bryan Hogan.
As Cohen wound his shot, Louie Caporusso skated back to his defensive zone, seemingly to backcheck.
A simple stride and reach from Caporusso would have prevented Cohen from getting the shot off, at all. Instead, Michigan’s returning scorer from a year ago stood and watched as Cohen’s shot sailed over Hogan’s left shoulder, doubling BU’s lead to 2-0.
The Wolverines did fight back into the game, but if Caporusso and his teammates had done more early the situation may never had become so dire.
Before the comeback attempt even began, the Wolverines made it seem like they had no interest in winning the game. After BU’s Eric Gryba received a 5-minute misconduct for hitting from behind, the Michigan power play took over and peppered Millan with several shots. Exactly 60 seconds after Gryba’s hit, though, Michigan freshman Chris Brown nullified Michigan’s momentum by committing the exact same foul. Brown was sent off, as well, shorthanding the Wolverines for the remainder of the game. Compounding the problems for Michigan were the actions of defenseman Steve Kampfer who fired a shot on Kieran Millan well after Brown was whistled for his hit. He received a 10-minute misconduct for his actions.
Brown’s only been on campus for a few months, still it seems like he’s falling the lead of his teammates. Michigan is among the most gifted teams in the nation. They don’t seem too keen on turning that talent into victories, though. BU’s first two goals came after too many men on the ice calls short-handed the Wolverines.
“The referees called both of those right,” Berenson said. “What happened was, our guys were coming off and all of a sudden the puck was at their feet. Still, we need to get on the ice faster and off the ice faster.”
It’s a credit to the Michigan players that they fought back into the game despite the best efforts of a few of their teammates.