Starting in 5 minutes on BTN.
|#20 Northern Michigan (14-10-6) at #5 Michigan (18-10-4)|
|2-17-12 7:35pm Big Ten Network|
|2-18-12 5:05pm Fox Sports Detroit|
The last time we faced off against the Wildcats we got a pretty big wake up call. Coming into the series we were ranked #1 and they really used that emotion of playing the top ranked team against us. Add that to the chemistry issues facing the team after losing Kevin Lynch, Hunwick getting ejected and it was a long weekend.
This time it's a little different, NMU is coming into this series with terrible offense. The honest truth is that with decent defense and outstanding goalie numbers, if the offense wasn't so anemic they could be ten spots higher in the AP Poll.
The top line of Gron, Thurber, and Seckel can cause major damage. They score most of the points and play the best defense, after them the Wildcats have almost nothing. Justin Florek is NMU's Lindsay Sparks, he is an offensive nightmare but can't play a lick of defense.
The other issue for the Wildcats is the penalty minutes, towards the end of the roster NMU has a few 8 point scorers who are around the 50 PIMS mark. Althought the PK has been good (7th) they still have to kill more than most of the country (142).
Key Matchup is their top line vs our top pair. Without the depth NMU is going to need the top line to produce, look for Merrill to have a bounce back series after last weekends disaster.
Just like Michigan State, Northern comes into the season with major depth issues on the blueline. Kyle Follmer puts up great offensive numbers but the -1 is awful, that means he has been on the ice for 23 goals this year. They also have a problem staying out of the box, Michigan has one blueliner over 25 PIMS and NMU has none under 25.
The key matchup here is getting started early. Although this unit has been bad at times, they have shown that they can ride a hot goalie for the win. Coreau has the numbers to carry them so they need to get on him fast.
The perfect example of how great numbers don't always translate into wins, Coreau is near the top of the league and his SV% is outstanding. Still he's 10-5-2 because he isnt getting the support in front of him. The matchup is the same as for the defense, we have to get on him before he can get confident.
Stats are not current, MGOBLUE has not updated statistics from the MSU series.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||8-9-17||76||+11||12||17|
I really liked how they played against MSU, the big question was how would the team adjust to the line shuffling without Brown. They had a pretty good series getting 5 goals in the two games. I have given up the Sparks watch, I think it's safe to say he won't score for the rest of the regular season.
Despite the way the series looked our defense played outstanding against Michigan state. The loss doesn't fall on the defense, but on the PK. The first game I was disappointed with how Merrill played and it might have been the worst game of his career. Maybe we are just spoiled to be getting such great proformances game in and game out, but I expect a bounce back tonight.
Taking a look at the PK:
I love what MSU does on this PP, it is designed to attack our 1-2-1 diamond and they execute perfectly. They have the center occupying a penalty killer leaving the wings free, when the puck is cycled down to the corner the left wing crashes.
At this point they have a variety of options, the center is not one of them. They can try back door, the pinching defensemen or get risky and go for the other blueliner who isnt pictured. Our penalty killers have to haul back to the net, but they can't get back in time so he takes it himself.
Hunwick is playing the deflection, expecting a pass through the middle or the back door. Right over his head
Still playing at a high level, nothing he could really do about the PP goals last weekend.
I underestimated NMU the last time we played them, I thought we would roll over them pretty easy. I still think we will this weekend, mostly because NMU is really bad on the road. Also we need these points, we need to finish the season strong for the tourney.
So, per MLive, per ESPN, in a mock draft the Red Wings would take DiGiuseppe.
EDIT: Thanks to our amazing donors, including a generous Mr. Aaron Ward, our goal has been reached! Thanks to everyone who contributed, we will keep you posted on the status of the flags!
If you've been to Yost Ice Arena for a Michigan hockey game in the past two years, you're probably familiar with the student sections' giant Swedish and Texan flags. Next season, we plan on adding two more giant flags to our arsenal, and we would greatly appreciate your support in our fundraising efforts.
Because we are not, and never will be, a University-sponsored student group, we cannot seek funds through the Student Activities Fund. We are very grateful to the Eckert family, who handmade the Swedish flag and donated the Texas flag, but now we seek support from the entire Michigan family for these next two flags.
Below (in the first comment) is a link to our Paypal account. Our fundraising goal is $600, which will cover both flags (one of which will be a custom design) and shipping. We had issues setting up on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, so we're just going to keep it simple with a Paypal account. We'll keep you posted on our progress via @ChildrenOfYost on the Twitters.
Thank you, and Go Blue!
This week we look at the scoring from our weekend series verses MSU. This will look a little different because none of our goals came on a powerplay and we really had nothing from a set offense. This is also going to be much longer than the previous breakdowns.
We start out with Di Giuseppe on the right boards and Treais coming over the blueline on a transition opportunity.
PDG and Treais fan out keeping the trailer out of the play.
Because Di Giuseppe is left handed the Spartans have to respect his shot. The defensemen has his stick in his left hand to block the shooting lane, but not the passing lane. Yanakeff is so far over that any kind of one timer is going in.
Deblois goes down fighting for a puck near the corner boards, it's collected by the blueliner and sent back down.
Kevin Lynch gathers in the corner and sends a pass towards a pinching Lee Moffie
Although the pass is broken up Travis Lynch fights through three Spartans and gets to the net.
Yanakeff is in position to make a save but Lynch gives the extra handle and makes him stand up.
Here we have Crandle fighting with Glendening in the corner, Buttery is coming across the crease and Berry is pinching down.
With all three defenders near the corner the cutting lane is perfect for Treais, Berry is too close to the puck and Reimer is too far away.
It's a nice shot but Yanakeff makes a great save, because the Spartans are falling over trying to catch A.J. n oone is there for rebound control.
Here is where we use our wise oldtimer hockey player phrases. This is for all you young hockey players out there who are watching. Good things happen when you go to the net. Deblois sends it in from the side boards and takes a check from Chelios.
Kevin Lynch is still skating into Spartan ice, while Chelios and the other Spartan have stopped.
Crandle tries to block the puck with his body but he takes a bad angle on the puck and it goes right between his legs. Kevin Lynch, who had not given up on the play gets an early Christmas present.
BC's OT winner last night vs. Boston Univ in the finals of the Beanpot had a negative impact on UM's pairwise standing. The win allowed BC to move ahead of UM in the RPI - which broke a tie with Michigan and thus won a comparison. Long story short, UM is tied for 5th with UMass-Lowell for 5th (a #2 Seed in NCAA's).
Bottom line, take care of business vs. NMU this weekend and the RPI should raise back up. If you are interested, here is the current Pairwise Ranking.