The Michigan Wolverines season came to a screeching halt on Saturday night with a devastating 4-3 loss to the Colorado College Tigers in the second-round of the NCAA playoffs.
It was really a tale of two games at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
The Maize and Blue dominated the early game and got power-play goals from Jeff Tambellini and Brandon Kaleniecki and an even-strength goal from captain Eric Nystrom to sail out to a 3-0 lead by the 1:32 mark of the second period.
Then the Tigers awoke and took control of almost the remaining 38 minutes of play.
Marty Sertich scored a 5-on-3 marker and Trevor Frischmon scored short-handed for CC to make it a 3-2 game at the end of two periods.
Joey Crabb bit the Wolverines at 4:24 of the third to tie the score at three.
Frischmon beat U of M goalie Al Montoya just past the 10-minute mark of the third of the third for the eventual game-winner and a trip to the Frozen Four in Columbus, Ohio.
“I didn’t feel it hit my stick at all,” Frischmon said. “But if you look at the replay, it kind of looks like it might have. I think it was just a great shot by Joey.”
Montoya finished the night, and possibly his last game in a Maize and Blue sweater, with 19 saves.
“I’m just real pissed off that that’s the way we have to go out,” Nystrom said. “You don’t get to the regional finals every year, you don’t get to the Frozen Four every single year. There are no guarantees. You have to take advantage of the chance every time you’re there. Every year, we say we’re going to learn from this, but when are we going to? We’ve been saying it for four years, but now, our four years is up. These guys (coming back) have to make sure that when you get in a situation like this, you have that real killer instinct that maybe we didn’t have this year. The killer instinct to put a team down and get to that game you want to be in. We’ve been saying it, but we just haven’t done it. It’s ridiculous. I’m just so upset, so pissed.”
Curtis McElhinney turned aside 24 for Colorado College who head back to the Frozen Four for the first time since 1997.
"Al gave us a chance to win," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. "Ugly goals beat us. It wasn't going in on the other end."
The last time Michigan blew a three-goal lead was on Oct. 9, 1987, when Bowling Green overcame a 6-3 deficit to defeat U-M 7-6.
The Wolverines finish their season with a record of 31-8-3.
The All-Regional Team was comprised of forwards Trevor Frischmon and Marty Sertich of Colorado College and Michigan's Jeff Tambellini, defensemen Brandon Rogers (UM) and Brian Salcido (CC) and goalie Al Montoya (UM). Frischmon was named most outstanding player.