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|Michigan Hockey: Michigan State Preview|
|12/9/11 Michigan State (10-5-1) at Michigan (8-8-2) 7:35pm (FS Detroit)|
|12/10/11 Michigan at Michigan State 6:35pm (BTN)|
It has been an uncharacteristic season in the college hockey world so far to say the least. Ferris, Ohio, and WMU are doing awesome and the MSU team who was supposed to be Bowling Green awful is about to join them in the rankings. Michigan State started the season with major question marks in all areas, but the biggest was how a team down on talent would respond with a coach who isn't really a coach. They started the season how everyone expected (2-4) and I stopped caring, they proceeded to go 8-1-1 with a sweep of WMU and a 1-0-1 series vs #2 Minnesota.
This is almost the same group we saw last year. Reimer and Wolfe are playing outstanding hockey and Mike Merrifield has broken out, scoring more points this season (13) than he did the last three combined. MSU is very deep at forward, which isn't always a good thing for them. Having fourteen forwards on the roster allows them to go deeper into the benches during games, but it has also yielded a lot of ugly +/- ratings and not very much scoring.
Althought the Spartans have outstanding numbers they are not perfect, outside of the top line the defense is not good at all. Maybe it is a result of playing with tired defensemen but it is weird to see a guy like Perlini sitting at -2 with his scoring numbers. The game will be decided by how well each teams second and third lines play, we could see Reds coaching experience be the difference here.
As well as Anastos has done with the rest of the team, Rick Comley really left him with a bare cupboard here. With Sturges being a reserve that leaves them with five defensemen and Chelios, who is listed at both forward and defense. It's great to see Sturges' hard work has payed off, as he is back on the ice after missing the last two seasons.
We should all remember Torey Krug, since he is the above average player who turns into a Norris trophy level defensemen every time he plays Michigan. He leads the top pair with Shelgren, but outside of them they see a huge drop off. Crandell and Buttery have been solid players in years past but it seems that the increased workload is to much to handle. The key to this matchup will be keeping them moving, the harder they have to work the faster they will wear down.
This is your typical MSU team, they will move the puck around the blueline, crank a shot, and crash the net. Keeping pressure on the puck is a must.
We were introduced to Will Yanakeff last season after the Big Chill. Starting his first game on a really bad MSU team, he played an outstanding game to give MSU a victory. Although it was aided by Hunwick's shenanigans he played lights out and is starting to push Palmisano for the starting spot. At this point they are still splitting so expect to see both goalies this weekend.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||8-6-14||50||+10||7||12|
Not much is changing with our forwards from week to week. They have maintained an elite scoring unit all season long, but dropped from 3rd to 6th after this past series. Im starting to worry about Zach Hyman, maybe we took draft status to much into consideration but the expectations were higher for him and he has not met them yet. Also noticeably absent is Luke Glendening who has a solid +/- rating but has not been able to find the scoring touch so far.
The key match up this weekend is going to be Michigan vs Friday and Michigan vs Road game. Neither has been kind to us this season and we need to reverse that trend to have any kind of success this weekend.
I'm not sure what to think anymore, I keep telling myself that it will get better and every week it gets worse. It's just frustrating to watch such a talented group looking so lost no matter who the opponent is game after game. The offensive strength of MSU is putting bodies in front of the net and capitalizing on rebounds, that is what we are terrible at defending. All season a lose puck in front of the net has been going in favor of the other team, and we seem to never get the 50/50 pucks. It's something that I can't explain, but I know that not having Jon Merrill isn't the reason why our veteran blueliners suddenly lost their on ice awareness.
The key to this matchup is who can control the front of the net. If Michigan can keep the Spartans off Hunwick and limit rebounds we can be alright. This is a rivalry game so it will be physical and we have seen before that one bad penalty can be the difference in the game.
Still the same as before. Nothing on film tells me that Hunwick is to blame, when he starts slipping ill be the first to say it. The key matchup is Hunwick vs himself. The Spartans are going to get after him because they know he pushes back, it cost us a game last year and they haven't forgotten.
It's hard to not predict a sweep for the Spartans, we have not preformed well on Fridays or on the road this entire season. That being said it is a rivalry game and the team who is favored doesn't always win, last years Michigan team split the season with MSU 2-2. I think we can take our first real Friday win at Yost before falling at Munn on Saturday.