Whatever the reason, Trevor Yealy really likes playing against Minnesota-Duluth. The junior attackman scored 9 goals against the Bulldogs on Saturday, just two shy of the team-record 11 that he put on them last year. By himself, Yealy outscored UM-D by a score of 9-7, and his teammates chipped in five more goals to provide the 14-7 final score in the victory.
This Michigan team is starting to really round into form, dominating opponents like they did last year (when the Wolverines' top scorer could have beaten the opponent by himself 4 times, and tied them 6 others). It may seem like a discredit to his teammates, but it often seems as though this Michigan team plays some of its best ball when Trevor Yealy is the Wolverine stuffing the statsheet. Of course, that may just be an illusion, as four different Wolverines led the team in scoring in the four MCLA tournament games last year, but I digress.
This game was played at a neutral site on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, with the Bulldogs serving as the nominal home team. It was the Wolverines, however, who seemed right at home, scoring the first two goals of the game and rushing out to a 5-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, with four goals from Yealy and one from Jordan Kirshner. Yealy put in three more during the second period of play, and Kevin Zorovich added one of his own to give Michigan the 9-2 lead going into the half. Following the break, Svet Tintchev and Yealy each notched a goal, with Duluth only able to manage one, to build Michigan's lead to 11-3 going into the fourth quarter. The Wolverines substituted liberally in the final quarter, allowing Duluth to keep the game somewhat close, but Kirshner, Thomas Paras, and Yealy each scored a goal, providing the final 14-7 margin.
This game was dominated from start to finish by the Wolverines (which, duh - one guy outscored the entire other team), as they had scored as many goals halfway through the second quarter as Duluth would all game. They managed to scoop up 62 to ground balls to the Bulldogs' 47, and won 54% of faceoffs. The opposition did win a couple of categories, tallying more shots than Michigan and clearing the ball slightly better. Complacency with a big lead was likely to blame for some of this (along with Michigan's sloppy play, as the Wolverines committed 35 turnovers).
Mark Stone got the start in net, and played the first three quarters before yielding to Andrew Fowler. He seems to be the first option in goal this season, after Fowler seemed to play slightly better for much of last year (and went wire-to-wire in the National Championship Game). Faceoff specialist David Reinhard had a subpar game compared to his lofty standards, winning just 54% of his faceoffs when he entered the game winning nearly 73%.
The Wolverines host two conference opponents next weekend, taking on Western Michigan on Friday, and Central Michigan on Saturday. Both games are 7PM starts in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. Both the Broncos and Chippewas are in the CCLA North - Michigan's division of the conference. Warning on these previews: the worse teams in the MCLA don't have the most accurate statkeeping, so some of this stuff might not be quite right.
Record: 4-1 (0-0 CCLA)
Rankings: Prodigy NR, MCLA Lax Mag NR, LaxPower NR, Computer 69
Common Opponents: None
Previous Meetings: 2009 Regular Season.
Offensively, the Broncos have a trio of players scoring over 3 pts/gm. Senior attackmen Mitch French and Evan Pavlick are at 4.75 and 4.5, respectively, With french getting slightly fewer goals, but more assists. Sophomore attack Greg Lindow scores 3.5 pts/gm, with the majority of those coming via assists.
The team's top three ground ball leaders are midfielder Ryan Juntunen, LSM Charlie Thibault, and defense/midfielder Nicholas Facca. Western has played four different goalies, but the main man is senior Patrick Riley. He allows 5.25 goals per contest, and saves 68.2% of shots he faces.
Offensively, the Chippewas are led by sophomore Attack Jeff Wood and junior Attack Justin Shaufler, the only players over 2 pts/game. Both are goal scorers rather than setup men, and it's a pair of midfielders, senior Darren Rivard and sophomore Nick Culp who have the most assists on the squad.
Defensively, it's tough to really know how good players are without having seen them play, but junior Brad Bialaniek and senior Chuck Vierk lead the team in ground balls with 17 and 10, respectively. In the cage, junior James Latini has gotten the most run, and has stopped 54.9% of shots he's faced. Sophomore Sean Coates has also played for the Chippewas.
Not too much extra material this week, though there should be some good news coming out pretty soon (not varsity-status related, at least not directly so that I know of). I'll also work on a couple other pieces for the next update.
But - remember December and January. Realize that this hockey team finished better than last year's team. (2nd round exit vs. 1st). The 2008-09 hockey season ended with us getting embarrassed, a number 1 seed ousted in the first round. This year's ending sucked too for all the reasons I listed above.
Just like last year's tournament was an ominous warning for the hockey team's performance this year, this year's postseason makes a GREAT case for the future of Michigan hockey (and how 2010-11 will be a great year for M sports in general).
Keep in mind that a month ago we were a seven seed in the CCHA tournament. Our #1 goalie just went down with a groin injury, and we were all clamoring for the hockey season to just end so that we could put a final nail in the coffin of the worst Michigan sports year in recent memory and kill 2009-2010 Michigan Hating God. But then... we swept Lake State at Yost. Then, this happened http://mgoblog.com/content/kobayashi-porcelain-co (sweep of State) and we ended State's hockey season and booted them from the NCAA tourney. Then a weekend sweep at the Joe happened and... for the first time since the ND game, we had Muppets. We had our own version of Rudy (but better than Rudy cuz ND sucks and Hunwick is amazing) lead us to a CCHA Tourney Title and we get to hang a banner in Yost.
We had Yost West in East Lansing, Yost East at the Joe, and Yost South in Ft. Wayne. For three weeks it was GREAT to be a Michigan fan again. The Board wasn't full of "I hate Sparty" "Denard at [insert random position here]" posts (well...) It was all about Michigan Hockey. We had hope, we had purpose, we had a great Cinderella run. We went toe-to-toe with the #1 team in college hockey for 85+ minutes and lost. Yes we lost in a shitty way, but look back on the past three weeks. Would you have taken a sweep of MSU and said "well, hockey sucked this year, but that was sweet"? I would have.
We won the CCHA Tourney. We made the NCAA's for a record 20th consecutive time. We played into double OT with the #1 team in the land. For me, Michigan Hockey 2010 was a success. A big "came out of nowhere" success.
And we got screwed out of a Frozen Four that would have been epic in Ford Field. And we're pissed. And if you think that a bunch of random dudes on the internet are pissed off about this game, then words cant describe how upset the hockey team must be. 3 posts in overtime, etc. etc.
But - that lights a fire. This team will come back next year with more fire and passion and things to prove than a Michigan hockey team has in a while. Any time Red needs any motivation all he has to tell his team is "Fort Wayne" and this team will come back with a drive to succeed.
Yes, we got screwed, our soul dongs got punched yet again... but I'll take the last month as a huge positive. Consider those calls as the last piece of bad karma we've banked in 2009-2010... and I can't wait to collect.
Your 2009-2010 Hockey Team. CCHA Tournament Champions, and most motivated team of 2010-2011. I can't wait for next year to start in all 3 sports. Go Blue
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Michigan men are created superior, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Wins. When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these MgoBloggers; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present Angry Michigan BLANK Hating God is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the destruction of our MgoSouls. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, most notably those involving blowing of whistles at appropriate times.
He has provided Michigan opponents with miraculous successes, while allowing Michigan to fall just short of such successes.
For imposing Losses on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Competent Referee:
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
We, therefore, the MgoCommunity, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Fans of Michigan, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Fans are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Angry Michigan BLANK Hating God, and that all political connection between them and the Angry Michigan BLANK Hating God, is and ought to be totally dissolved.
I'll post the rankings weekly in the diaries, and frontpage it occasionally (i.e. when Michigan gets commitments). The team rankings are very rough estimates until the services have released more full individual grades.
Action since last rankings:
3-21-10 Indiana gains commitment from Kirk Harris.
4-3-10 Ohio State gains commitment from Tommy Brown.
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals 250||Scout Average||ESPN 150|
I'll only make charts for the teams that currently have commits. Rivals 250 means that a given prospect is on the Rivals 250 to Watch, and ESPN 150 means that a prospect is on the Watch List for the ESPNU 150. Scout ratings are on the 5-star scale.
|#1 Ohio State - 7 Commits|
The Buckeyes grab in-state offensive lineman Tommy Brown, already their 4th OL in the class.
|#2 Michigan State - 3 Commits|
Spartans get the advantage over Michigan because of Thomas's ratings.
|#3 Michigan - 3 Commits|
Wolverines haven't had any new commits since Conway.
|#4 Minnesota - 2 Commits|
Still just two for the Gophers, who dropped Calvin Phillips last week.
|#5 Indiana - 2 Commits|
Indiana has had a commitment from Kirk Harris for a while, but the recruiting sites just picked up on it. Don't expect the Hoosiers to be in the top half of the conference for long.
|#6 Wisconsin - 1 Commit|
Instate linebacker Jake Keefer picks the Badgers.
|#7 Notre Dame - 1 Commit|
Carrico is the only commit for the Irish. They might have another coming very soon.
|#8 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Zook has got to be recruiting for his life this year.
|#8 Northwestern - 1 Commit|
Northwestern holds steady with one prospect.
so, despite the fact that the NFL rule change is so much hot air, the one thing it does accomplish is that it reopens the debate on how overtime should be handled. there seems to be general consensus that pure sudden death is stupid and broken. the college OT system—equal possessions from the 25—is better, but has never seemed perfect to me. here are my primary gripes with it:
- the 25 is too close. starting every possession in field goal range encourages conservative play. the only way to not have a legitimate shot at 3 points is to take a long sack or two short sacks/TFLs (out of 3 plays!), or to give up a turnover. lots of overtime games turn into field goal penalty shootouts.
- no special teams. overtime strictly pits offense versus defense. got a great punter? return man? too bad, they're sitting on the bench.
- no game clock. college overtime is nearly 15 years old, and every time i see a score bug sans game clock, it still weirds me out. this makes overtime play slow and deliberate. the NFL's sudden death OT suffers from the same problem, with the philosophy "pretend it's the 1st quarter again".
anyhow, those are just some ideas that i've been kicking around for a while, and think could work well and make for pretty compelling OT football. would you want to see them implemented in the NFL? the NCAA? i'm interested to hear comments.
A home game is now in the books as Michigan downed the IPFW Mastodons for a three game series sweep. Michigan brought the offense, collecting 47 hits for 30 runs. IPFW was the bad team that was expected, and our players didn't disappoint, at least on offense. Pitching had some less than stellar moments, but in the end, the guys that got into trouble kept the losses to a minimum.
Game by game review, series thoughts, and a look at Tuesday's Eastern Michigan game follow: