Saturday, April 08, 2006

National Championship Live Blog

Welcome to Western College Hockey's first ever live-blogging. I'll be updating all night throughout the game, so keep checking back during the game.

5:55: Sebastien Telfair Through the Fire is on before the game. That always gets me in the mood for hockey.

6:00: The broadcast has started. A lot of fans doing their best Danny Irmen impression by grabbing at their shirts. I've got a cherry Coke in a Minnesota cup(didn't see that one coming, did you?) I'm pumped for hockey.

6:03Barry Melrose wanted Brian Elliott to win the Hobey. Kind of a boring opening. They just mention the two Hobey candidates. I guess that's all you can expect since most viewers aren't that familiar with college hockey.

Mike Hall still annoys me. I'm not quite sure why. Bob Norton mentions the two goalies. You can see him choking back the tears that Jordan Parise isn't playing tonight.

6:05: Opening face-off. CCHA officials tonight, which is good. I'm expecting a bit of a slow first period while the two teams feel each other out.

6:07: MacMurchy had a great chance but last control of the puck. Wisconsin is controlling the play early. Hopefully this isn't a replay of Thursday where BC gets dominated but comes out on top. Schneider makes his first save of the night.

6:10: Motherwell turns it over, but Wisconsin can't get a chance out of it. Elliott makes a nice save and deflects the puck over the net.

Schneider has to make a nice save. And another. Pavelski, Earl, and Gilbert are all amazing. Wisconsin gets a powerplay out of the scramble.

6:15: BC starts off the PK with a clear. Wisconsin can't get things set up with the first half of their powerplay. They've gotta put the second unit out now. Gary Thorne keeps saying "Aaron Burish" instead of Adam.

BC gets a good shorthanded chance, and then Earl comes down and make a nice pass in front that Pavelski couldn't quite get enough stick on. BC kills off the penalty. We've played five and a half minutes. So far it's been a really good game.

6:20: Yes, Barry. Cory Schneider has gotten no credit this tournament.

BC takes another penalty. Wisconsin gets it set in the zone this time. A pass across the net is just tipped away by Schneider. Schneider makes two more saves. He is looking like BC's only hope of winning this thing. BC gets one last clear and they kill off the penalty. Wisconsin is playing great, but they can't beat Schneider.

BC's Greene gets away with a penalty. If the last two calls had gone against Wisco, BC would have been called for a penalty there. Wisconsin is still doing a great job grinding along the boards.

GOAL for BC. The puck got cleared down the ice. BC jammed it out of the corner right in front and Pat Gannon puts a backhand topshelf. This is starting to look like BC/UND all over again.

6:25: Stupid Melrose comment number 2: "BC had to win to get in here" BC played like ass down the stretch, Barry.

Gilbert stands up Gionta on a rush. I'm really glad Gilbert was named an All-American. I really like watching him.

I know Wisconsin isn't a high-scoring team, but BC is going to need at least 3 or 4 goals to win this game.There's no way BC can hold them off all game giving up chances like they are.

Interference penalty on Wisconsin's Olinger. BC gets their first powerplay.

6:30: Collins was the one Gilbert stood up, and then Collins ran into a teammated which rung his bell a little. I've got a feeling he'll be back in the game though.

Wisconsin is perfect on the PK in their last 32 chances and look good so far on this PK. They've killed half of it off.

Ross Carlson takes a pass off a turnover and puts the puck just wide. BC's powerplay doesn't look so impressive. They even shoot the puck down the ice for Wisconsin. That was Gerbe that shot it down the ice. I won't make a crack about him not being able to read the names on the jerseys.

The powerplay is over in 2 seconds, and I believe we've got matching minors after a short scrum.

6:31: Brett Favre not being sure about retiring is the second biggest story of the day? Anyone that cares is at this game. Stop wasting my time ESPN.

6:35: Teams are tied 8-8 all-time head to head. Schneider makes save number 800.

George Gwozdecky is at the game and being interviewed. I had no idea his nose was that big. Not the most flattering camera angle.

You seriously have to believe the law of averages will even things out eventually and one of these Wisconsin chances will find the back of the net. Brian Elliott should go make a sandwich.

BC gets a little pressure on Wisconsin's fourth line, but no shots. A shot goes out of play with about 2 minutes to go in the first. Still 1-0 BC.

6:40: I was thinking nobody would be interested in this, but at the start of the game, there were more people looking at this blog at one time than any other time in WCH history. Of course that's only 28 people, but I still think that's pretty good.

Pavelski had a nice shot, but got dragged down by Dan Bertram. Wisconsin gets another powerplay. BC just doesn't have an answer for the Pavelski, Earl, Burish line.

Earl with a spin move to get free and fired a nice shot that Schneider saved.

Schneider makes about 8 more saves. If they win this game, they should just give Schneider the trophy and make the rest of the team walk home.

That's the end of the period. Shots are Wisconsin 5400 BC 3. Score is BC 1 Wisconsin 0.

6:45: Faceoffs are surprisingly even despite BC losing a couple cleanly in their own end.

Schneider has been amazing. I had heard a lot of hype about Schneider even since his U18 performance in the World Championships and he went in the first round of the draft, but I hadn't really seen why. All I knew of him was his awful World Juniors performance, and getting his helmet knocked off by a Jack Johnson slap shot. I'm starting to see what all the excitment was about.

6:50: When he was being interviewed, George Gwozdecky talked about how excited he was that Denver would be hosting the Frozen Four in the future. Meanwhile, Denver Nuggets player Julius Hodge got shot in Denver WHILE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY. But is going to complain about how ghetto and dangerous Detroit is. Nice.

Also, more of a random thought. But I'm glad Wisconsin is in the final because of their band. The first semifinal was brutal as far as bands go. It was a duel between BC's band repeating "Zombie Nation" over and over every whistle, against UND's band doing the same with "In Heaven There is No Beer". I like IHTINB, but it only needs to be played once, maybe twice. It doesn't help that UND's band insists on playing it Domino's Pizza style(We'll finish any song in 30 seconds or less or it's free!).

6:53: Sorry Jordan Parise. Bob Norton has a new man-crush and his name is Cory Schneider. I"m surprised this hasn't happened sooner. Maybe Norton will tell us another story about how he played Barbies at Jerry York's house.

6:55: When did players pushing pucks off the bench at the start of warm-ups become the official "dramatic back from commerical shot"?

Melrose just ripped Joe Pavelski even though I think he's been great in the first period. Sure he didn't score, but he created about a dozen chances. Melrose, you're a dumbass. Players are back on the ice. Second period is about to start.

7:00: Elliott makes a couple easy saves. BC looks a little stronger in the first minute of play.

Robbie Earl got laid out with a nice hip check. And then he gets up and scores. Wisconsin ties it up. Wisconsin needed that one. 1-1 game.

7:05: Officiating has been excellent so far. Wisconsin fans may have wanted a few more calls, but I don't think they've missed any penalties. BC takes another penalty.

They should stop showing that Robbie Earl replay. Give me a break. That was just acting after he got hit. Not the gutty play they make it out to be.

Pavelski with two more chances. Yeah, he's doing nothing, Barry. Earl gets off a nice one-time and Schneider is lucky to make the save. More great chances but Wisconsin doesn't score on the powerplay again. This has been very good hockey so far with not too many whistles.

7:08: I can't think of a quality BC chance, other than the goal, and even that looked kinda harmless until Gannon chipped it in. This is definitely the type of game that Wisconsin wants to play.

Wisconsin gets a high-sticking penalty after the Wisco defenseman smacked a BC player in the face with his stick.

7:10: Barry Alvarez says that he's "learning hockey". It's hard not to have respect for Barry Alvarez.

BC looking awful again on the powerplay. It's really hard to believe that they're one of the two best teams in the country. Powerplay is over.

7:15: We're at the midway point in the game and BC is still tied with Wisconsin. They've got to be thrilled with that. You've gotta think though that unless something changes, or BC gets some lucky bounces, Wisconsin is going to win this thing.

They miss Chris Collins going into the zone offsides, but then call a questionable icing on Wisconsin. Hopefuly that doesn't come back to hurt Wisconsin. And it doesn't. Wisconsin clears it out of the zone.

Wisconsin is still controlling the play, but they're not getting as many quality shots on Schneider right now.

Mike Hall back on camera with Nikki Burish. Apparently the only question Hall is allowed to ask people tonight is "What's it feel like to win a national championship." I don't know, Mike. Probably pretty good. Thanks for highlighting how worthless you are.

7:20: Elliott is finally forced to make a save. The BC player put it right in his chest though.

Wisconsin's mascot, with his abnormally large neck and red-striped sweater reminds me a lot of Michigan goalie Billy Sauer. So not good-looking, yet at the same time, so cute.

Elliott makes a very nice save. BC is starting to turn things around a little.

7:25: More Melrose idiocy. He mentioned Boston College as one of the teams that "won the national championship every year" prior to the 90's. They won one national title prior to the 90's.

Wisconsin gets a good chance. Schneider looks behind himself, but he has the puck. Brock Bradford fires a nice shot for a guy his size, but he misses the net. The game is starting to get a little more physical.

I really like the way Jack Skille plays. He got a little lost in the shuffle with Kessel, Oshie, Raymond, and Toews playing so great as freshmen, but he'll be a solid NHL player some day.

7:30: Earl gets hit and milks it for all it's worth. Expect him out for his next shift.

Skille gets a great chance and hits the post. People aren't happy with the linesman in this game. It's weird to see a game where people boo the linesman more than the head ref.

7:35: BC gets a chance twoards the end of the period after a tipped shot bounces through, but the puck goes wide. Mike Brennan and Brett Motherwell are doing a very good job against Wisconsin's top line.

2nd period is over. The last 20+ minutes will decide this game.

7:37: Wow, Robbie Earl is not a good looking fellow. I don't see him coming back for his senior year for a shot at being named to the All-WCHA Hottie Team.

7:40: Wow, back to 25+ people checking this out. Thanks for the support everyone. Feel free to leave your comments on the game in the comments section.

7:45: It's kind of disappointing that Earl's flop and acting job before his goal is the "Home Depot Coaches Clinic" or whatever. Bob Norton says it's the most biased Frozen Four crowd ever. Really? More so than St. Paul? I suspect not.

Mike Hall says it's the 7th straight Frozen Four sellout, and the 21st straight overall. Apparently the 21 straight is only if you refuse to acknowledge that the Anaheim Frozen Four never happened.

7:50: Ok, Steve Irwin tackling the Florida mascot was kind of funny. ESPN may have gone in the toilet, but the "This is Sportscenter" commercials are still solid.

They show a guy in the crowd wearing an old school Lake State jersey. Awesome jersey.

They're showing the captains meeting with the officials before the game. This is pretty interesting. Although pretty much what you would expect. Shegos just tells the guys that he's following the rulebook and to worry about scoring goals instead of what the refs are doing. That's pretty much the way it's been too. Shegos has called an excellent game. Third period is about to get underway.

7:55: Pavelski fires a long shot and Schneider covers.

You can't ask for much more. This is going to be an exciting game right down to the wire.

Wisconsin takes an obstruction penalty to start the period. Jake Dowell goes to the box. Pretty good call. BC has to get their pweorplay working.

8:00: BC puts a puck through the slot, but nobody is there. Wisconsin gets a clear. Brian Boyle just ran over a guy that tried to check him. That was pretty impressive. Ross Carlson is representing Duluth pretty well tonight.

One more clear and another BC penalty goes by the wayside without a quality chance. Wisconsin is going to powerplay now. Nate Gerbe gets two minutes for illiteracy.

48 people are on this blog. Awesome. Thanks for the support everyone.

8:05: Ferrerio gets a shorthanded chance, but the shot is blocked. Wisconsin can't get the PP set up in the zone.

Wisconsin makes too many passes without taking a shot and BC finally gets it out of the zone.Odd man rush, but Burish gets stoned by Schneider. The penalty is over and Elliott has to make a nice saveon Rooney.

8:06: Michigan would have sucked so much less this season if Brett Motherwell had picked them instead of BC. Same with UND's Zach Jones.

Penalty on Wisconsin. That was a hook, but also a horrendous dive. I'd love to see refs have the ability to wave those plays off due to embellishment. Tough break for the Badgers.

Wisconsin is doing a nice job on the PK though. BC can't get it in the right zone. As much as BC wants the powerplay, they just can't do anything with the man advantage and it really gives Wisconsin more life. Hmmm, Barry Melrose just had the same thought as me. I feel dirty.

8:10: Wisconsin outshot BC on that last BC powerplay. This is really good, really physical hockey. Skille gets dragged down and draws a powerplay. For not having a real rooting interest in this game, I'm really enjoying this. If the score holds and goes to overtime, I'm not sure how long these two teams can keep this level of play up.

The TV timeout gives Wisconsin time to let Skille rest for the first line powerplay. Let's see if they can take advantage. I guess not. They've got Burish out there with them.

GOAL!!!!!! Great powerplay movement, they work it out to Gilbert in the slot, and he buries it. It's going to be very difficult for BC to come back from this.

8:15: Pavelski made a nice pass to set that goal up. I still love the way Gilbert plays. Any other year that doesn't have Matt Carle and Andy Greene, and he's a first team All-American. Skille with a great opportunity that just misses. The Wisconsin crowd is really into this now. If the Badgers can capitalize on the momentum and get one more, I think the game is pretty much over.

8:16: Earl with another terrible, terrible dive. And the announcers give him credit for it again. I hate that. Another great pass by Pavelski though. Wisconsin powerplay coming up.

It sucks for BC, but the atmosphere at the Bradley Center is just awesome. You can't feel too sorry for the Eagles because they played two Frozen Fours in Boston and their crowds were pretty average at best.

They finally get the net fixed after Earl broke it and the powerplay starts. Gary Thorne wants Wisconsin to shoot more on the powerplay, but I thought it was pretty obvious that working it around and waiting for the quality shot is what Wisconsin had to do to score.

BC kills it off. They had a couple rushes that resulted in a Wisconsin defenseman deflecting the shot wide. If you had a nickel for everytime Wisconsin did that this season, you'd be rich.

We're getting down to desperation time for BC, but they still can't control the puck. Wisconsin is looking so impressive.

They show Ben Eaves in the stands. Apparently he's now BC's video assistant. No word on how many times he got injured doing that job.

8:25: They weren't joking about Elliott's playoff beard. That was impressive. The moose call was pretty solid too. Then again, as long as he didn't 'oink' or 'woof' I wouldn't have known the difference.

BC still hasn't gotten a quality shot on Elliott to tie it up yet. They've had pressure but nothing has gotten through to Elliott. And now BC takes a bad, bad penalty. That's really going to hurt.

8:30: Wisconsin is looking for the knockout punch. As long as they don't give up a shortie, BC will only have about a minute and a half to tie it up. BC is dangerous on the powerplay though. Pavelski gets a good chance.

BC may not win the title, but Schneider needs to be the tournament's most outstanding player. BC gets laughed off the ice if it isn't for him.

Gilbert loses the puck and Collins gets a rush, but misses the net. I'm not that convinced BC actually has a shot on goal in the last 10 minutes of the game. They've got plenty of attemped shots, but nothing getting through to Elliott.

8:35: Wisconsin is doing a great job keeping hte puck in the corner. They killed a good 20 seconds that way. One minute left to play. This is exciting.

Collins can't dump it into the zone and they can't get Schneider out of the net. Collins misses the net again. A shot goes over the net. Wow.

Elliott makes a huge save with a second left. WISCONSIN WINS THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations to the Wisconsin Badgers and all their fans. I think you can truly say that the best team in the country won the national championship.

Wow, BC hit the post in the last couple seconds. Crazy. I wonder what Phil Kessel is doing right now? This is great for the Badgers. I couldn't be happier for them. Their fans have been great, and their team is so good. What an awesome hockey game.

Ok, I'm signing off the night. Thank you so much to everyone that checked in throughout the night. I'd like to think this was a success. Congratulations one last time to the Badgers and their fans. Enjoy the night. You guys have earned it.

12 comments:

Goon said...

Melrose needs to watch college hockey more, his limited knowledge is showing.

Anonymous said...

Well done, I am enjoying it.
"The Pundit"

Anonymous said...

Earl's "acting" has gotten me thinking. He "acts" far too much for it to truly be diving. I think, for someone of his offensive talent, that he has the hardest trouble staying on his skates than ANY other player in the NCAA. This lightness on his skates HAS to concern Toronto. I mean, in the NHL, everyone hits hard. He'll never be able to bring the puck into the zone unless he cherry picks if he doesn't do something about the strength on the skates problem he has.

Goon said...

I am sure once Mr. Earl moves on to the next level one of his coaches is going to sit down with him and explain what good sportmanship is and what is acceptable and not.

Great player but acts like a cry baby. I think Toronto will set him straight and he will be fine. I wonder if Robbie will sign soon.

Packer487 said...

Good job with this, it was pretty entertaining--especially the comment comparing Bucky Badger to Billy Sauer. That floored me, because it's so true.

I'm happy Robbie Earl didn't come to Michigan, and I'm being dead serious about that. The diving has almost ruined my appreciation of Cogliano (That and the whole disappearing for weeks at a time thing) and Earl's about 5x as bad as Cogs is. I hate players that dive...

Congrats to Wiscy fan! They definitely deserved it, and I'm happy for them because they were class all the way when I was up there for a Michigan UW football game. Even if it means another year of hearing how great the WCHA is....sweet.

Kevin said...

Is Cogs really that bad of a diver? I can vaguely remeber noticing one or two during the season, but nothing that really stuck out to me, and nothing compared to how often Hensick did it. What I saw from Cogs his season is that he's a pretty fast skater (which can cause defensemen to do things to trip you up once you start to get past them), but he's either not fast enough or skilled enough to blow by them for a good opportunity. I don't know how many times this season I saw him get a 1-1, try and go around the defensemen to his right, but only make it half way around and let off a weak wrist shot that more often than not just missed the net.

In more relevant news, congrats to the Badgers not only for their success, but also for keeping my bracket from being a complete failure.

Badger Backer said...

Good live blog. I got to read it today and it was like reliving yesterday all over again. And nothing is better than reliving national championships.

Thanks to everyone for the nice words about our team and our fans, and good luck to everyone next year.

Anonymous said...

Kevin- I can't find evidence to suggest that he doesn't dive, but I think he does it for different reasons. Yeah, I have no proof other than what I've seen (I've watched him play since he was a freshman at UW whenever they are on TV or play the team I follow) but here it goes. I do not believe Robbie Earl steps onto the ice every shift and says "I'm going to dive something fierce this shift!" Instead, I think he embellishes every time he gets knocked over to cover up for the fact that he cannot handle a physical game where he's getting hit instead of doing the hitting. This isn't saying that he's a crybaby or a whiner. This is saying that he's exceptionally easy to take off his skates. If he just played it fair and squarely, the coach would notice how easy it is that he's being knocked off his skates and Robbie would then have to work harder on that or face the consequences. To prevent unpleasantries, he embellishes. And if that causes a penalty on the other team, GREAT! If he gets called for it, whoops! Lucky for him, he plays in the WCHA, where diving is legal 90 percent of the time.

Anonymous said...

They need to find guys who know college hockey to do these games for ESPN.

If memory serves me right they kept saying Pav-les-ki quite a bit Thursday.

As a huge college hockey fan it's obviously great to have the game on national TV, but it's also kind of a slap in the face to listen to clueless people call it.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Chris,

As far as Robbie Earl's appearance, check out RWD for my take.

-RWD

Anonymous said...

Don't like diving? Then you don't like US Developmental Team or their coaching. Whaterya unamerican?!!!!!

Brad said...

Wisconsin is a great team, but I hated the fact they had to dive 3 times in the offensive zone to draw a call that lead to the game-winning goal by Gilbert. It's like they made up their minds that they couldn't beat Schnieder at even strength and needed a power ply. Bush league. They didn't do it all game, but they did do when they felt they "had" to to win the game. I was there live and saw it right in front of me.

Not that BC didn't do it too at times, but Wisconsin was clearly the better team and watching them resort to it was upsetting.