Pucking Wings

Hockey is the best.

Goal Analysis: Justin Abdelkader’s 2007 National Championship Winning Goal

Most of you already know this, but for those that don’t, I am a graduate of Michigan State University.  I graduated in 2007, which was about the time that the hockey team, led by Captain Chris Lawrence, goalie Jeff Lerg, and top line of Tim Crowder, Tim Kennedy, and Justin Abdelkader, won the National Championship over Boston College (BC).  It made my last year at MSU a very memorable one.  Hockey is the best.

Since the NHL and NHLPA are still busy doing nothing in regard to playing NHL-level hockey, I’ve decided to break down the game winning goal from the 2007 Championship game, scored by our very own Justin Abdelkader with 18.9 seconds left on the clock.  Let’s take a look at the goal then break it down:

(sorry for the bad quality; this was before ESPN televised college hockey in HD)

“On the banks of the Red Cedar…”  Michigan State rules and it’s the best and I don’t care who knows it.  GO GREEN!!  Here come the awesome screenshots and explanations of the goal that I haven’t seen eleventy billion times already:

BC has control of the puck and is rushing towards the MSU zone.  With under 40 seconds left at this point, a d-man has jumped up in the rush.  While it’s not an ideal defensive position for MSU, they do have three players back to defend.  Let’s see what happens when the BC player tries to make a move.

The original puck-carrier for BC dropped the puck to the player on the boards.  Tim Kennedy, the MSU forward covering back, puts pressure on the players and is able to get the puck out of the zone.  Since BC had four players on the rush, this leaves MSU with a chance for an odd-man rush the other way.

Kennedy gave the puck to our dear Abby.  MSU has a 3 on 1 here, but the BC defenseman is in a good position.  He’s near the center of the ice and will be able to block any pass, forcing Abdelkader to do what he can…which sadly, is “hit the post” and have the puck come back to the near boards.

Stupid posts.  Anyway, the puck comes to the near side, where Howells, an MSU d-man, pinches to keep the puck.  Abdelkader is there as well, but Howells just decides to take this battle himself and works the puck into the corner.  Who is going to help him out down low?

Yay Kennedy!  He gets the puck down low with a second to collect it.  You can see the BC d-man (the blur by the goalie) going back to put pressure on Kennedy.  He doesn’t realize that Kennedy was basically a ninja in this game and, well, let’s see what happens.

Yeah, Kennedy pulls a quick stop/spin and gets the BC player on the wrong side of the puck.  As you can see above, Kennedy has full control of the puck with a wide open lane to get the puck to the front of the net.  Even with the BC player behind the net, they still have the other forwards back.  Sadly for them, and awesome for me, nobody can block the lane or block the stick of Abdelkader (he’s on the left side of the picture above).

Yes.  Yes.  YES.  OH YES!!!!!!  I know you can’t tell from this picture, but it’s about the exact second that the puck goes in and MSU is only seconds away from winning their third National Championship in school history.  Want more proof?  BOOM.

WOOHOO!!!  That goal was awesome.  I’ll try to contain myself now and do a quick recap:

  • BC started the play with a 4 on 3 rush, which was broken up by Tim Kennedy
  • Abdelkader carried the puck in on a 3 on 1 but hit the post
  • Howells (MSU d-man) pinched and kept the puck in the zone
  • Kennedy was a ninja behind the net and gave himself a clear lane to pass he puck out front
  • Abdelkader went to the net and buried it

If you have any thoughts/questions/comments on this goal, you know the drill – feel free to leave a comment or yell at me on the Twitter device – @KevinN37.  I’ll need other non-NHL goals to breakdown, so please feel free to leave me suggestions.  Until next time…


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