Friday, March 27, 2015

Hockey and History: River Raisin

Last year, I traveled to Philadelphia for the Frozen Four, I made a stop at Valley Forge; a place of significant historical value to this country.  I decided that, if possible, if I was going to travel to a hockey arena, I would stop at a place that has some historical value, like a battlefield or a National Park.  That idea was the birth of a segment called Hockey and History.

As I was traveling up to the Big Ten Tournament in Detroit, I made a stop in Monroe, Michigan, at the battlefield of the River Raisin.  The National Park Service has set aside some land along the River Raisin to commemorate War of 1812 battles between the US and Britain.  Called Frenchtown the story of River Raisin battles tells of a US victory only to be over-shadowed by British and Native America rally and comeback victory later.

The general reason for the battle as I see it from reading the literature given out at the National Park, was generally because British ships were in control of the Great Lakes.  This made it pretty impossible for the US ships to use the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway for travel and trade.  A secondary reason was before the battles at Frenchtown, a British force had overwhelmed the US at Detroit.  Gen. William Hull, the US leader, surrender Detroit to the British.

The man ask to reclaim the territory was Gen. William Henry Harrison.  Harrison was the Indiana Governor and the leader of their militia.  He would lead an army of about 1,300 Kentuckians.  Yes, I said Kentuckians, how romantic, people from Indiana and Kentucky working together!  The route that they take up to Detroit was a primitive military road.  Looking at this primitive military road on a map it follows the route of I-75 today, north from Dayton thru what will be Toledo and onto Michigan.

The Kentuckians joined by the local militia at Frenchtown drove out the British by the River Raisin on January 18, 1813.  The fighting would last from around noon well into dark but the US forces were able to drive the British and the Native Americans out of Frenchtown.  The British and their allies retreated to a town called Brownstown about 20 miles to the north.

The British and her allies were able to regroup and by the 22th of January they arrived with a force around 1,200 soldiers.  The British for all intensive purposes were able to surprise the US force in the town.  The British, Canadians and the Native Americans would drive the US forces across the River Raisin, with the US taking heavy causalities.  Gen. James Winchester of the US forces would surrender his forces to the British on the 22th.

According to the literature on the battle, the US lost 387 men and 500 were taken prisoners.  The real terror of the battle happened on the 23rd when the Native Americans kill 30 to 60 Americans prisoners.  They claim is it because of the American ill-treatment of the Native Americans in the area.  It is because of this battle that the rallying cry for the Americans the rest of the war will be, "Remember the Raisin."

It is interesting to learn about the War of 1812 because it is really not a war that is talked about much in US history.  We like to talk about the World Wars, the Civil War and the American Revolution.  Its not too far off I-75 at the Dixie Highway exit, barely 10 minutes.  There is not much ground to cover in the area so it is not going to take you all day to go through the exhibits and the battlefield.  I would highly recommend it, if you are in the area.  A couple of link for further exploring:

National Park Service River Raisin

River Raisin Battlefield


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Suggested Reading for the Off-Season

Here are some of the writings I have done in the past about Ohio State Hockey:

Friar Tucked

Friar Tucked was a re-cap of the Buckeyes first game of the season where they upset Providence in OT.

What About Bob?

What About Bob? is the story of Christian Frey's 61 save effort against Miami University in a 2-1 loss early in the season.

A Guide to Big Ten Hockey

Written over a year ago, this blog entry summarizes Big Ten hockey midway through the first season.

I have also added pictures along the side of the stories of charitable organizations.  If you click on the picture it will link you into that organizations website.  These are just some of the organizations that I have supported over the years.  I am not being paid to put up those pictures, I just believe in the promotion of worthy causes.  I do not believe in putting ads in my blogs but I believe in the promotion of organizations trying to make the world a better place.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wilcox, Gophers Shut Out Buckeyes

Friday afternoon, the Ohio State threw the entire kitchen sink at Adam Wilcox and the Gophers stood tall with a 3-0 victory.  The Buckeyes raised their level of play after the Penn State game but it just was not enough to beat the Gophers on this night.  Wilcox made 39 saves in route to the shut out, many of them came in the third period.  It was probably the closest 3-0 game I have ever witnessed.  I hate to use clich├ęs but the final score was not indicative of how the game was played.

Ben Marshall, a senior defensemen for the Gophers, called the first period, "a track meet."  It had a great pace up and down the ice.  It seemed that the Gophers controlled the puck for most of the period.  They had nothing to show for except 9 shots on goal and a couple of posts.  The Buckeyes on the other hand, had to be feeling good about their efforts in the first period.  They spotted the Gophers two penalties in the first 5 minutes and the outshot the Gophers 11-9 in the first.  The Gophers have one of the best power plays in the country so the two early kills for the Buckeyes were huge for their confidence. 
Warm Ups!

The second period started much the same as the first with great pace.  It did not feature as many shots as the first period, both teams ended the period with 6 shots.  The period did feature the first Buckeyes power play of the tournament, officially 92 minutes and 59 seconds into the proceedings.  Also, the scoring was opened up by the Gophers.  The Buckeyes failed to clear the puck and Travis Boyd got the puck to Sam Warning, all by himself in front of Christian Frey, and he went top shelf, glove side.  At the end of two, Minnesota 1-0.

At this point going into the third, the Buckeyes had to be feeling pretty good about things; they were only down 1-0 and still out shooting the Gophers.  The Buckeyes would lay everything they could on the line and on Adam Wilcox but they could get none of the 22 shots on goal past him.  The first Gopher goal of the 3rd period came on a shot from the point where it appeared that Frey made the save but it trickled through and Lettieri put it home for a 2-0 Gopher's lead.
Opening Faceoff

The Buckeyes received a late power play on Seth Ambroz for high sticking at the 14:03 mark.  With an offensive zone face off, the Ohio State coaching staff decided to pull the goalie.  The Buckeyes were down 2-0, it was pretty gutsy but I loved the aggressive call.  Unfortunately, the Buckeyes could never get set up after winning the face off.  Travis Boyd stole the puck and whipped it down the ice into the empty net, making it 3-0 Gophers.  The Buckeyes pulled the goalie again later in the period but were unable to score.

With the flurry of offensive from the Buckeyes in the third period and the number of shots that Wilcox faced, it is impossible to understate how well he played.  Like the night before when Frey made the difference in the Penn State game, Wilcox made the difference in the Minnesota - Ohio State game.  He showed that he was definitely worthy of the 2nd Team All Big Ten Goalie honor, and maybe was a little jealous of not being named to the first team.  Goaltending is so important, and even more important in the playoffs.

The loss ends the Ohio State season.  There is nothing to hang their heads about how the game turned out.  They played their butts off in the third and it was just one of those things where the puck just does not find the back of the net.  On the other side of the coin, Minnesota will face Michigan in the final tomorrow for the Big Ten Championship.  As predicted before the tournament started, this game should be a high scoring classic for the title.  Both teams are on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and need a win badly.  Go Gophers!

Game Notes:  The Minnesota Golden Gophers feature 14 NHL Draft Picks, if you do not follow hockey, the hockey draft works like baseball where players get drafted but usually do not leave school unless they are ready to play in the NHL.....The Minnesota Pep Band and the Cheerleaders must not have received the memo about the game, because they were nowhere to be seen at Joe Lewis Arena!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Buckeyes Advance to Semifinal With Victory

The Ohio State Men's Hockey Team advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals this afternoon with a 3-1 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions.  With the win the Buckeyes will now face the #1 seed, Minnesota Golden Gophers at Joe Lewis Arena.  The game between the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions was very close as the score shows.  A bounce here, or a deflection there, and Penn State might have come away with the victory.

It is interesting to note with how close the game was that not one penalty was called on either team.  Sure there was obstructions by both sides but you have to commend the officials for letting the boys play the game.  Yes, there were a couple of questionable hits by both teams but in the end the game was played very well by both teams.   Even players from both teams whined to the officials about no-calls, but to their credit the officials were consistent and called nothing all game.

To the game itself, Penn State really had the stronger start to the game.  They were creating more shots on goal and more scoring chances but they did not have a goal to show for it in the first period.  They did have a close one that was reviewed, and I will admit that I thought the puck was in.  The refs said no, and waived it off.  I think the problem was that the officials could not see where the puck was under Christian Frey's goalie pads.

I think that the no-goal was sort of a wake up call for the Buckeyes, because soon after that play the Buckeyes started to play better, especially on offense.  Nick Schilkey would get the first of two Buckeye goals in the first period at the 8:01 mark.  He was assisted by David Gust, and made a nice move to go 5 hole on Eamon McAdams, the Penn State goalie.  The Buckeyes' second goal of the first period came on a wicked slap shot by Justin DaSilva.  The assists went to Tanner Fritz and Clark Cristofoli.  Thus ending the first period scoring at 2-0 Buckeyes.

Opening Face-Off
Again, with the second period opening up with Penn State back on the attack down 2-0.  The Nittany Lions would strike first in the period with a goal from Max Gardiner to make it 2-1 (assist to Tommy Olczyk).  The Buckeyes would get stronger as the period drew to a close.  Eamon McAdams was busy in the 2nd stopping 15 shots from the Buckeyes.  The lone goal for the Buckeyes in the second period and would close out the scoring in the game was from David Gust.  Gust was assisted on the goal by Sam Jardine.

After the 3rd Goal!
Both teams played a great third period.  Christian Frey was forced to make 13 of his 31 saves in the 3rd, it was his busiest period as the Nittany Lions tried to mount a comeback.  Given the fact that both teams matched up very well against each other, Frey made the difference on this night, only giving up one goal on 32 shots.  The Buckeyes have to love him in net because he gives them a real chance to win every night.

In the end, the Buckeyes got the 3-1 victory and it was followed up by the honorable post game handshakes.  After the handshakes, the Buckeyes saluted the bands and the fans that showed up in Detroit for the game.  The band played Carmen Ohio after the win, just like they do at the football games.  Everything was good on this night for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes face the Gophers tomorrow at Joe Lewis Arena, Detroit, Michigan at 4:30 PM.  If you can't make it to the Joe, the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.  Hope in one fashion or another you will be out there supporting the Bucks!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Buckeyes Headed to the Big Ten Tournament

This weekend in Detroit the Buckeyes start the Big Ten Hockey Tournament.  They will square off with the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first round at 4:30 PM Thursday.  Their game will be followed by Michigan and Wisconsin in the night cap.  All the games of the Big Ten Hockey Tournament will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.  Let's take a look at the final standings in the Big Ten regular season:

  1. Minnesota - 39 pts. - (21-12-3)
  2. Michigan State - 37 pts. - (17-15-2)
  3. Michigan - 36 pts. - (20-14)
  4. Penn State - 31 pts. - (18-14-4)
  5. Ohio State - 26 pts. - (13-18-4)
  6. Wisconsin - 11 pts. - (4-25-5)

The first column is conference points followed by the team's overall record.  Let's talk a little about how we got to this point because going into the final weekend Michigan State held the #1 spot.  Michigan State played in-state rival Michigan last weekend, and they split the two game series.  Minnesota hosted Penn State over the weekend, and won both games.  So by picking up the extra three points Minnesota was able to over take Michigan State for the lead.

Both Minnesota and Michigan State will get first round byes.  Minnesota will play the winner of the Penn State/Ohio State game and Michigan State will await the winner of the Michigan/Wisconsin game.  Let's take a look at the matchups:

(4) Penn State vs. (5) Ohio State - 4:30 PM 3/19 - This will be a very physical game.  Two teams that love to check and pound the boards.  The Buckeyes took the season series 3-1.  The teams split the first two games in Hockey Valley aka Penn State.  The Buckeyes swept the Nittany Lions in Columbus.  The two teams combined for at least 5 goals in all four games.  This means look for a wide open game with some great hits and a bunch of goals.

Penn State is led by the Big Ten Coach of the Year Guy Gadowsky.  He was able to the lead Penn State to their first winning season since becoming a Division 1 team.  He is much like the Ohio State coach, tough as nails and expects 100% from all of his players, all of the time.  This is going to be a great test for Ohio State.  Bottom-line:  Ohio State 5 - Penn State 4

(3) Michigan vs. (6) Wisconsin - 8:00 PM 3/19 - Will this be the final game in the season that Wisconsin will love to forget?  On paper it should be, Michigan is led by the Big Ten Scoring Champ Zach Hyman and Freshman of the Year Dylan Larkin.  Wisconsin overall record was the worst in school's history and they would love to just act like this year never happened.  Michigan took the season series 4-0, winning all games by at least 3 goals.  Bottom-line: Michigan 4 - Wisconsin 1

If my predictions hold up, the semi-finals would look like this:

(1) Minnesota vs. (5) Ohio State - 4:30 PM 3/20 - As much as I would love to see lightning strike twice I am not sure if Ohio State has enough fire power to beat the Gophers again as the #1 seed.  Minnesota is led by Defensive Player of the Year Mike Reilly.  They have offensive weapons on every line like Rau, Warning, Ambroz and Fasching.  I am sure there is still a little bit of bitterness letting the Buckeyes beat them in Minnesota during the Big Ten Tournament last year.

The Gophers took the season series 3-1 but the Buckeyes won the last outing 5-2 in Columbus.  The key will be Ohio State's ability to be physical with the Gophers.  If they can be physical and slow down the game it will go a long way towards a Buckeye victory.  Minnesota has been known this year to score in bunches.  As much as I want Ohio State to win, this Minnesota team is better than last year.  Bottom-line: Minnesota 4 - Ohio State 2

(2) Michigan State vs. (3) Michigan 8:00 PM 3/20 - This would be an ideal matchup since the Big Ten Championship is in Detroit.  Both colleges could spit on Detroit from their campus.  We have talked a little bit about Michigan and their ability to score, the man to shut them down is Sparty's Jake Hildebrand, the Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year.  He has proven the ability to do it before but can he do it on a bigger stage?

The teams split the season series 2-2, including splitting two games at the Joe in Detroit the scene of the tourney.  This game is about as evenly matched as the Penn State - Ohio State game from the first round.  3 of the 4 games resulted in 2-1 victories for the winning team.  If the game ends 2-1, I think Michigan State will win it, anything else I think Michigan takes the day.  Bottom-line: Michigan 4 - Michigan State 3

My prediction for the Big Ten Championship is (1) Minnesota vs. (3) Michigan

The two teams split the season series 2-2.  Both teams won their home games.  Except the last game, a 2-0 victory for the Gophers, all the games had at least 7 combined goals.  Both teams have terrific offensives.  I really believe this comes down to goaltending and Minnesota is a little bit better there with Adam Wilcox in net.  He has proven over the season to make the saves to keep his team in the game.  Bottom-line:  Minnesota 6 - Michigan 4

Come on, did you really think I was going to pick Michigan to win it all?  Child Please!

One minute left to go in the period......


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ohio State sweeps Wisconsin

In the finale of the Big Ten regular season the Ohio State Buckeyes sweep Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.  Thus, closing a regular season that Wisconsin would love to forget and Ohio State wishing for more.  The final score was 2-0 with Tompkins pitching the shout out in net for the Buckeyes.  Both teams will now head on to Detroit for the Big Ten Tournament!

The Buckeyes first goal came in the 2nd period at the 8:54 mark from Tyler Lundey.  He was assisted by David Gust and Anthony Greco.  The second goal came from Matthew Weis at the 10:54 mark of the 3rd period.  Weis was assisted by Darik Angeli and Clark Cristofoli.  Shots on goal were 42 for Ohio State and only 17 Wisconsin. 

Ohio State will play Penn State next Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.  It will be the #4 vs #5 matchup.  Ohio State will be the #5 seed.  Wisconsin will look ahead to a date with Michigan in the #3 vs #6 game.  Wisconsin will be the #6 seed after a season that most Badger fans would love to forget after they won the Big Ten Tournament last year against Ohio State.  Ohio State will once again be upset minded as they enter the tournament.

Last year, the Buckeyes entered the tournament in a similar position.  They were the #4 seed and they started the climb against Michigan State.  They beat the Spartans and then upset the host Minnesota to reach the title game.  They held a lead in the 3rd period of the championship game against Wisconsin but the Badgers came back to win the title in OT 5-4.  It was much more then the Buckeyes were expected to do but the team was up for the challenge.

If you have ever watched the Buckeyes, they play a tough, gritty game with checking and timely scoring.  They play a similar style to the NHL team in the same city, the Columbus Blue Jackets.  They rarely ever just give up and roll over.  This is a great credit to the coach Steve Rohlik and his staff.  They have done a great job preparing the team for this season, especially in a tough conference like the Big Ten.  It will be hard to challenge hockey powers like Minnesota and Michigan, but the Buckeyes have proven before the bigger they are, the harder they fall!

Bucks Fly Together

From the mind that brought you Seasons in the Sun, we have decided that there needs to more Ohio State hockey coverage.  We find it utterly silly that at one of the largest college's in the United States there is barely any hockey coverage what so ever.  We will attempt as much as possible to be completely unbiased, though we cannot promise anything.  We will give you game updates and scores, stories about the players and banter about Ohio State Hockey.

Why Bucks Fly Together?  This is pretty clear if you have seen any of the Mighty Ducks movies.  If you haven't well you might want to take a break from life for a while and watch the trilogy.  It is specifically taken from the locker room scene where they say, "Ducks Fly Together."  The speech is meant to promote team chemistry and positivity.  I would tell you more, but you really need to see the movie if you do not know what I am talking about. 

So with that, I will close this introduction of Bucks Fly Together.  I hope if you are reading this that you will enjoy what you read in the future.  If you have read Seasons in the Sun, there will be much of the same formatting and writing style.  I will try to put as much emotion and positivity as possible into this blog.

One minute left to go in the period...