A year ago in Fort Wayne, Michigan's Kevin Lynch appeared to score a goal in overtime to beat Miami and send the Wolverines to the Frozen Four in Detroit. The dreaded intent to blow the whistle rule kept Michigan's goal from counting, however, and Miami went on to win in the second overtime. It was a tough way for Michigan's season to come to an end, but tonight in St. Louis against Nebraska-Omaha the hockey gods finally evened things up.
After trailing 2-0 following 20 minutes of action, Michigan responded with a strong second period that included a power-play goal by Louie Caporusso and a snipe by Lynch to tie the game. The third period was fast-paced and included some close calls, but neither team was able to score, leading to overtime for the second time in Michigan's last two NCAA tournament games.
Seconds into overtime, Michigan's Matt Rust was called for a boarding penalty, giving Nebraska-Omaha a power play. Early on during the man advantage, UNO almost scored when a Mavericks player fired the puck at the net. Shawn Hunwick was not in position to make the save, but defenseman Jon Merrill was, and he knocked it out of the crease. The rebound almost went in as well, but Hunwick slid over to keep the puck out of the net.
Shortly after the power play expired, Michigan's Greg Pateryn fired a shot wide of the net and off the boards off a faceoff. The puck bounced to the side of the net and Kevin Lynch threw it at the goalie. It redirected off a UNO player and disappeared underneath the goalie's pads. Michigan players celebrated as if it went in, just as they did last year in Fort Wayne. A UNO player fired the puck down the ice, and the referees blew the whistle to review the play, which was ruled no goal initially.
Angle after angle was shown and the referees looked at the play for 10 minutes. No angle visibly showed the puck in the net and over the line, but by piecing the different angles together and based on pure physics, it became obvious as time went by that the puck had to have crossed the goal line. After what happened a year ago, the Michigan fan in me figured the referees would go the conservative route and rule no goal. Instead, after talking it over for a lengthy period of time, the referee that made the initial call came out and made the goal signal, indicating that the call was reversed and Michigan won by a score of 3-2. Unlike a year ago, this time the review went in Michigan's favor, and the Wolverines' season is still alive as a result.
Michigan will take on the winner of the Boston College/Colorado College game, which is currently being played. The West Regional final will take place at 9 p.m. on Saturday with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.