By Matt Bishop, Special to MiCHO
Midway through the second period, it was apparent that it just wasn’t Michigan’s night.
Colorado College senior forward Joey Crabb scored twice in three minutes – once shorthanded and once on the power play – as No. 6 Colorado College routed No. 7 Michigan, 6-1, Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.
It was a dominating performance for the Tigers, who now advance to face Michigan State in the finals of the 41st annual Great Lakes Invitational.
“We knew Colorado was a good team and they proved it here tonight,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. “They were much the sharper team and it cost us. Every time there was a penalty, special teams was a big part of the game. They had the momentum from the start of the game and we couldn’t turn it around.”
The Wolverines were playing without sophomore forward Kevin Porter, freshmen defensemen Jack Johnson and Mark Mitera (Team USA with Porter serving as team captain) and freshman forward Andrew Cogliano (Team Canada), who are participating in the World Junior Championship in Vancouver. The team was also without junior defenseman David Rohlfs (suspension).
“It was obviously a good start for us,” Colorado College head coach Scott Owens said. “We wanted to come out and take advantage that they were a little shorthanded at defense.”
The first period went back-and-forth until Michigan sophomore forward Chris Fragner was called for a five-minute checking from behind penalty, which the Tigers capitalized on, as sophomore forward Jimmy Kilpatrick found the back of the net behind Billy Sauer with 27 seconds left in the period. Freshman forward Chad Rau and junior defenseman Lee Sweatt assisted.
“A five minute major hurts,” Berenson said. “It puts their best players on the ice and puts us on our heels.”
The second period was quite different, as the Tigers caught the Wolverines reeling and took advantage.
Michigan senior defenseman Adam Dunlap, seeing power play time in just his second game of the season, coughed up the puck when he mishandled it off his own foot which Crabb took quick advantage and put it past Sauer.
“It went out to their 'D' and he kind of fumbled with it in his feet," said Crabb. "I just went after it and got the puck and put it on net."
Then, just a few minutes later at the 6:27 mark, Crabb broke in on the power play and put a shot over the glove of Sauer, who was slow to react to the shot to give the Tigers the 3-0 edge.
Colorado College made the game into a blowout at 16:19 when junior defenseman Brian Salcido’s point blast blew past Sauer. Kilpatrick and Sweatt assisted on the power play tally.
Trying to spark his team, Berenson pulled Sauer to start the third period in favor of senior Noah Ruden.
It worked briefly as the Wolverines got on the board first in the period on an unassisted goal by freshman forward Brandon Naurato (pictured above right), but just 1:27 later, Colorado College put the stamp back on Michigan on a goal by senior forward Brett Sterling.
The Tigers added another shorthanded goal late off the stick of senior forward Trevor Frischmon with under two minutes to play to cap a game in which they dominated Michigan in every facet of the game.
With the game in hand, the performance of Tigers junior goaltender Matt Zaba could go undetected, but Zaba was huge in keeping Michigan out of it, making 29 saves.
“It was quick, timely goaltending by Zaba even though it may not look like it in a 6-1 game,” Owens said.
The Wolverines will now go on to face Michigan Tech in the GLI’s third-place game at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
“We really don’t have any excuses,” Berenson said. “We just didn’t have a good hockey game tonight.”