Amazing the things you notice in a tight hockey game. During the third period of tonight's UNO-Michigoon, my (admittedly uneducated) eyes observed Mav defenseman Phil Angell struggling to clear the puck several times. Once into the bench, several times right into the stick of a waiting Weasel. So as the clock ticked into the final minutes of the game with the Mavs trailing the Weasels 4-3, UNO was looking for a hero. Would it be Hobey Baker candidate Scott Parse? How about Bill Thomas? And don't forget last night's hero, Alex Nikiforuk.
With just over 2 and a half minutes to go in the 3rd, UNO gets control of the puck deep in Weasel territory and the Parse-Thomas-Marshall line is out there. I take a quick glance at the bench and goalie Jared Kaufmann; do you pull him yet? I look back, and I see tonight's hero take a big slapshot from just inside the blue line. The puck whizzes past the Weasel goalie and the lamp lights with 2:02 left in the game.
The hero? None other than Phil Angell, the guy who I could have sworn was struggling earlier in the period.
UNO kills off a penalty that stretched into the overtime, which gave the Weasels several chances to end the game. And with 30 seconds left in OT, Thomas tried to feed Parse with the game winner, but the shot went wide. The game ended as a 4-4 tie, giving UNO 3 points on the weekend and extending their undefeated streak to 9 games.
UNO has also clinched a home ice playoff series; the worst they can finish is 7th place. With next week's series against last place Western Michigan, they can clinch a first round bye with one victory or one loss each by Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan next weekend.