ACHA D2 National Tournament in San Jose Day 1: Game of the night — Michigan 4, Siena 4

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


ACHA D2 National Tournament Siena college goaltender Adam Brown snaps a head high shot with glove
SIENA COLLEGE G #34 ADAM BROWN SNAPS A HEAD HIGH SLAPSHOT

ACHA D2 National Tournament Michigan Courtney Murtland Siena Tim Bubnack faceoff
MICHIGAN F #13 COURTNEY MURTLAND, SIENA D #10 TIM BUBNACK PREP FOR FACEOFF

ACHA D2 National Tournament in San Jose Siena forward Chris Harjung celebrates third period goal
#18 CHRIS HARJUNG (R) CELEBRATES 1 OF 3 GOALS HE SCORED IN 3RD


Heading into the Friday night mathcup between Siena and Michigan, ‘the Saints’ were the clear favorites according to a player from another team. Siena finished 2nd in the ACHA Central region with a 19-6-2 record in the regular season, and an impressive +63 goals for/goals against ratio. Michigan finished 2010-11 behind three other Great Lake State teams: Central Michigan, Michigan State and Northern Michigan. From a strictly eyeball perspective, Michigan looked like more of a handful early in the first period on Monday night. Michigan has the 5th biggest team in the ACHA D2 tournament if you consider the number of 185+ pounders. Only Eastern Washington University (16), University of Grand Valley State (15), New Hampshire (14) and William Patterson (13) have more large bodies the the Wolverines. That fact gets a little blurry when you look at 6-foot-5, 215-pound defenseman Eric Elmblad. Elmblad played in parts of two seasons with the NCAA D1 Michigan team, but after a year off he joined the ACHA D2 team to play with his younger brother Kyle Emblad for the first time in the ACHA.

Michigan-Siena drew one of the larger crowds on the night, and it grew steadily throughout a wild back and forth game. Scoreless after 20 minutes, both teams combined for 8 goals and 3 lead changes over the final two periods. After a goal was waived off 6:10 in, Michigan looked like they were taking control of the game in the second. Flashy wolverwine forward Jeff Weintraub deked twice through several Siena players in the neutral zone, but lost the puck before he could carry it in on net. On the benches, Michigan players were standing and vocal, Siena’s were seated and watching the action. Defenseman Matt DeSpirit opened the scoring for Michigan with less than 2:20 left in the second. Siena goaltender Adam Brown was forced to make a quick chest save on Courtney Murtland on the next shift to keep the game within one.

Michigan kept pressing, and a rush up the RW resulted in goal for Weintraub and a 2-0 lead with 26 seconds left. Shortly after the Michigan players finished their celebration and returned to the faceoff circle, Siena answered on the other side of the ice. The Michigan fans in the stands were still murmuring when Randy Ciciola scored for the Saints with 6 seconds left. The goal dented the strong momentum push, and gave Siena a boost of confidence heading into the intermission. That confidence paid off early in the third. Clinton, NY native Chris Hartung scored the first of his three third period goals 28 seconds in. The game was tied at 2-2, and all bets were off for the remainder.

Jeff Weintraub was clearly a goto player for Michigan. After he scored for the second time 4:10 in, many on and off the ice celebrated as if the goal would hold up. Unfortunately, Siena kept pushing the pace and Michigan started to wear down. On one play in the neutral zone, a winded Weintraub waived at a passing forward, resulting in a hard shot that rung off the post. Siena kept pushing late into the final minutes, and Chris Harjung lifted a shot over the shoulder of Michigan goaltender Sean Puranen. Harjung lept into the air, and was mobbed in the corner by his teammates just a few feet from the Sharks zamboni parked rinkside for display purposes. One lucky parent was atop the zamboni seat taking a photo of the goal.

This time the Siena faithful were still murmuring when Michigan won a faceoff, drove down the RW and scored 16 seconds later. Ann Arbor native Mark Silverman gave the wolverines a 4-3 lead late in the third period. The intensity on the ice was awesome, it didn’t matter what brand of hockey you regularly follow. A clean faceoff win by Michigan was controlled by a defenseman, who tried a hard shot off the glass to clear the zone. A Siena defenseman lept up to keep the puck in with his glove, then hammered a low heavy shot on goal. A pair of Saints forwards provided traffic, but Sean Puranen held tight to make the save. On his next shift Harjung completed the natural hat trick, scoring his third goal in the final period with 39.9 seconds remaining. Both teams pressed in overtime, but would be unable to score after 10 minutes. Michigan and Siena each took a point, and remained tied for second place in Pool D after the first night of play.

A small black and white photo gallery from the game is available here. Free streams of live action, and paid archives of past games are available via fasthockey.com.

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