This past weekend the Michigan hockey team lost in the NCAA title game 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth. Many after the game wanted to complain about the disparity in penalties — Duluth had 9 power plays to Michigan’s 4.
Most of Michigan’s penalties seemed to be earned, although a couple stood out for the embellishment by some Bulldog players (especially their final boarding call on Kevin Lynch). But what really hurt Michigan more was the disallowed goal early in the first period. The puck was clearly in the net before referee Tim Benedetto blew his whistle and why they even looked at the replay is beyond me. What possibly did they see/hear that would have led them to not overturn that call? Add in the 9 power plays and it makes you wonder what was going on.
Many will argue that Michigan didn’t deserve to win that game anyway; Duluth outplayed them and deserved to win — but, how many times has Michigan been bounced from the NCAA tournament when they were the better team — who carried play and outshot an opponent? It happens all the time. This was the year that Michigan was that team with that goalie (Shawn Hunwick) who was good enough to perhaps win the whole thing by himself. The Wolverines played a deliberate, low-risk style in front of Hunwick that gave them a chance.
As soon as a goal gets waved off, a fan base will get that sick feeling in their stomach. Lose to a better team? Fine. Lose a national title game with a scant amount of controversy? A tough pill to swallow.