maybe we're not terrible
Thursday, January 28, 2016
#15 Penn State 4, #6 Michigan 7
MOTTE GOAL, MICHIGAN
PSU 0 UM 1 EV 08:55 Assists: Connor & Compher
Penn State tries to clear the zone and can’t; Compher picks the puck off, carries laterally along the blue line, and fires a long shot into the mess of people in front of the net. Connor and two PSU skaters get their blades on the puck at the same time, sending it airborne.
Skoff doesn’t see this and has no idea where the puck is. His defensemen do, as they wave at it in an attempt to bat it aside as it falls into the crease. Compher charges the net and draws the attention of one defender, while Connor draws the attention of another. These two draw one defensemen away from the net; in the screen cap below the other (#11) is turning to pursue. All of the defenders appear to be more concerned with where Michigan’s skaters are located instead of where the puck is located. Motte, who’s in front of two defenders, see that the puck has rolled toward the far-side post and is close to Skoff’s leg pad.
He launches himself in that direction, pushing the puck over the line in the process.
Berger goal, Penn State
PSU 1 UM 1 EV 13:49 Assists: Varley & Marsh
At the end of GBGA last week, I wrote about how dangerous Penn State was when you let them cycle. They’re a puck possession team, and the clearest path to success for them would come from Michigan being unable to clear the puck out of their defensive zone.
That’s exactly what happened here, with Penn State maintaining possession for an extended period of time and working the puck up and down the boards. We start with Varley carrying the puck along the boards. He’s matched by Kile. The problematic piece of cycling is the confusion it can cause defensively; with guys skating in circles and weaving between opposing defenders, assignments can get lost.
That happens here, as Piazza shoves Berger and sticks with him for a second before drifting toward the top of the faceoff circle.
Obviously I don’t know what was communicated on-ice, but my best guess is that Piazza thought he had switched with Nieves and Nieves didn’t know that. Varley shoots, Racine stops it, and the rebound ends up to his left, where an unchecked Berger awaits. Selman attempts to lock him up with his stick, but Berger’s able to backhand it past Racine.
[After THE JUMP: Motte your average weekend (please don’t fire me)]
Michigan 0 OSU 1 EV 10:09 Johnson from Niddery and Stork
Ohio State catches Michigan in transition. Niddery has the puck in the neutral zone and banks it off the boards. Serville is too slow stabbing at it, and the puck gets past him to Johnson. Downing is the lone defenseman back who can make a play.
You can see from the above screencap that Johnson skates the puck out as wide as possible. He’s trying to draw Downing to him and open up space in front of the net because he sees he has a trailing teammate charging the net hard. Downing doesn’t bite, or at least he doesn’t bite entirely. He starts to dive to take away the pass.
Regardless of what happens with this shot Michigan’s not in a good position. It just so happens that the shot it perfect, so the danger of a rebound or a redirection in front is moot. This is obviously a bad goal for Nagelvoort to give up from that sharp of an angle, but he made some otherwise spectacular saves in the first period. Johnson’s shot hits the farside post and deflects up and in for the goal.
Michigan 1 OSU 1 EV 12:49 Hyman (7) from Larkin (11) and Serville (2)
Larkin carries the puck wide, and the defenseman picks him up and moves wide with him. Behind Larkin Hyman skates toward the middle of the ice, giving Larkin someone to center the puck to if the defender over-commits.
Larkin skates just a couple more strides before he drop passes to Hyman. Larkin actually could have held the puck a few more strides, as the defender is still in a position to make a play on the puck. Hyman makes a smart play, seeing that the defender is near enough to him that he’ll have to release the puck immediately to avoid the defender’s stick. You can see from the screencap below that he’s already loading up to shoot, and the puck’s been on his blade for a fraction of a second.
Frye stops Hyman’s shot, but he is unable to glove the puck or absorb the shot. The puck is deflected and goes up and over him.
Larkin has continued his skating arc from the outside of the zone to the inside, and he’s at the side of the net by the time the puck goes up in the air. His positioning pays off, as he bats down the deflection for Michigan’s first goal.
[After THE JUMP: a five-minute-long Christmas miracle]
Funchess is listed as a tight end, but you played him as a wide receiver. Was that the plan?
“Well we obviously planned it that way. Getting him out on the perimeter a little bit, a mismatch in a lot of ways because he runs awfully well. He’s a big target. And then we get into the 11 personnel and he’ll be a tight end. Just trying to really take advantage of his skill sets.”
No turnovers coming out of a bye week has to be a big plus.
“It’s huge. No turnovers. Had two penalties. So I think that speaks to how these guys have really worked. The bye week, I thought, came at a good time for us in a lot of ways. It was good to see us respond.”
It’s one thing to have a plan, but another to execute it. You obviously want to get the running game going. Can you talk about how that played out?
“Well we wanted to run the ball. We wanted to send that message. I thought we did a pretty good job of it. We didn’t have as much yardage probably as we’d like to have from that aspect, but I really believe the threat was there consistently throughout the game that we were going to run the football. I think tackles for loss, I think there were three until the last when we were milking the clock at the end. I thought it worked out well.”