Big Guns, Lots Of Goals
The West Regional featured the top four scorers in the nation coming into the weekend in T.J. Hensick (Michigan), Eric Ehn (Air Force), Kevin Porter (Michigan) and Ryan Duncan (North Dakota).
Every team in the regional had solid offenses, meaning that no lead was sacred, and when Michigan went up two goals in the first minute of the game, the pace was set for a barnburner.
They say defense wins championships, but it certainly did not win this one.
“It was a wild and crazy game,” said North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol.
Surviving a Minute
North Dakota fans cheered at the one-minute mark of the third period. They had survived the first minute of the period for the first time on the night.
Michigan had two goals in the first minute of each of the first and second periods, and four out of Michigan’s five total goals came within 60 ticks of the start of the period.
“Obviously, we did not get the start we wanted and Michigan came out hard,” said North Dakota forward Chris Porter in perhaps the understatement of the night.
Kampfer Wanted a Penalty?
During the third period, Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer took out Andrew Kozek, with the play being whistled offside.
Kampfer, apparently expecting a penalty and hearing the whistle, skated to the box. The door opened, and he sat inside for a moment.
That’s when one of the officials had to tell him there was no penalty on the play, whereupon Kampfer skated back to the Michigan bench.
UND vs. Michigan
These two teams have played only six times against each other in the last 10 years, during which period the Sioux hold a 4-1-1 advantage. Most notably, they met last year in Grand Forks, N.D., in the West Regional, where North Dakota won 5-1 on home ice.
That performance weighed heavy on the Wolverines’ minds, who had something to prove Saturday. Michigan leads the all-time series 45-40-4.
The loss by Michigan made this year’s senior class the first not to make a single Frozen Four since the class of 1991. “When we were up 3-1 we should have borne down and stopped taking stupid penalties,” said Michigan senior T.J Hensick.
Battle of the T.J.’s
Two of the top players in the nation faced off Saturday, both going by the name of “T.J.”
For Michigan, Hensick scored two goals and had one assist, but also took a very unusual 10-minute misconduct with 12:26 left in the game.
“I think I may have only had one of those [previously] in my career,” said Hensick.
T.J. Oshie of the Fighting Sioux had a hat trick and an assist.
“It was a goalie’s nightmare. … The puck went in. It’s like it had eyes.” — Michigan coach Red Berenson.
“Tonight our power play was effective by just doing the simple things.” — North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol.
“We have to keep our heads tomorrow night.” — Oshie on the rematch versus Minnesota.