They had a 3 - 0 lead and could have scored the 4 - 1 goal near the end of the period, but they went offsides on the zone entry so it was overturned on review (and as these things go, it was one of the more straightforward ones as MSU scored in the immediate ensuing action).
PC tied it up in the second, but I thought that MSU looked like the better team in the third... right up until one of their players took a boneheaded major+game penalty for contact to the head. PC scored two on the power play and that was it.
Have to hand it to PC though. How many times do teams fail to capitalize on those sorts of opportunities? Notre Dame was given a similar one just seconds into the third period on Friday. Had we potted 2 or 3 goals on that power play and carried a 3-2 or 4-2 lead into the rest of the third period we might have seen a different team on Saturday.
I think PC had three power play goals, and all three were from an open player on the back post. I thought that MSU's weak side low player was cheating to the middle too much, but I'm not exactly an expert on hockey tactics. Maybe PC was doing something interesting to open that man up?
Keep your feet moving, proper spacing to make sure it wasn't unnecessarily easy for MSU to clog passing lanes with either sticks or bodies and support the puck. Often enough scoring goals is as much about the guy without the puck in the seconds leading to a goal. During a PP that is magnified.
Clearly, that's not the norm for either PC or MSU, so I was basically wondering if it might have been partly due to something schematic, vs. just MSU playing especially poorly / PC playing especially well.
I don't remember a lot now but I don't recall looking at the positioning of PC players thinking I was seeing something new fangled or out of the ordinary PP configurations. Same with the MSU PK. I think it really was just as simple as PC executing on the ice with correct positioning and opportune puck and skate movement. Guys without the puck being in the right place at the right time is so fleeting too, sometimes I think it all boils down to making your own luck.
It could be a lot worse. There is so much to be proud of.
Looking too much at one year at such a crapshoot of a tournament is tough. What just frustrates me is that, while ND may never have the most talented group of 19 skaters that dress, the last handful of years they have had the goaltending that made it very realistic to believe a championship was possible. That disappointment is what sticks with me.
Hopefully Morris sticks around one more year. Hopefully St.Cyr, or whoever, keeps this going whenever Morris is gone. But, for this model to work (and not just pray on "get in and anything can happen,") you need that elite goaltending.
Since the tournament expanded to 16 teams (2003) there have been 64 wins by the champion teams. Of those 64, the winning goalie has given up more than 3 goals just 6 times and more than 4 just twice. He has given up zero or 1 goal 31 times. 6 games have gone to overtime, but none of those were games the winning goalie gave up more than 3 goals. Winning goalies have a GAA in the 64 games of 1.60.
The Frozen Four teams gave up five total goals this weekend in over eight games (UMD went to OT in one game).
That is impressive, to say the least.
All among the 4 teams that advanced (DU and UMass both had 2 and PC had the other one). None of the teams that won a 1st round game but failed to win the regional final managed one.
As much as I think there is good goaltending, I also think this is the product of modern hockey and some offensive shortcomings. Teams have found a way to shut down an offense if they really put their minds to it, but even good offenses cannot necessarily accomplish the same thing in reverse. I have certain viewpoints on how the game has evolved in a bad way offensively (and I think that to be true at all levels) but those are arguments for different days.
I also look at Notre Dame and our inability to put the puck in the net at many times during the season. It isn't just a great defense that shuts us down, it is our own lack of scoring punch. 8 different teams managed to hold us to 1 or no goals this season, and not all of them are known to play great defense or have elite NCAA level goaltending.
The 4 teams that advanced averaged 3.5 goals in their games. We know what scoring 3 goals a game would have meant to our record. We have to find a more consistent approach. I doubt Jackson and his staff will institute an entirely different system for next season but more offensive punch has to be on their minds. The 4 teams that advanced ranked 4,5,6 and 7 in goals allowed this year, but 3 of the 4 averaged at least 11th in goals scored. We don't need to be the 1984 Edmonton Oilers, but it's a myth that defense wins championships. You need to be at least very good on both sides of the rink and the scoring margin bears this out, as 3 teams were in the top 10 and DU was 12th.
Counting this year and the 4 seasons Notre Dame made a FF, the 20 teams in those FFs averaged the 11th best scoring offense during the season. Only 3 teams were outside the top 20 and none outside the top 28. Again, you have to be able to count on your offense.