This is great stuff and it really helps illustrate just how well that Moffie/Merrill pairing is working right now.
Michigan Hockey: Special Teams Breakdown
Today we look at special teams play from the weekend Miami series.
We start with a 5-3 powerplay. From right to left, Moffie, Merrill, Treais, Moffatt and Di Giuseppe. Michigan is not set yet, Moffatt is skating through and Di Giuseppe is screening. Moffie takes a one timer that get blocked and come right back to him.
Moffie passes across to Merrill who sends it down to Treais, Miami has picked up Moffatt in front of the net.
Michigan has set up in perfect position, Di Giuseppe is playing backdoor for anything that gets through and Moffatt is covered by a lefty. Since the stick is in his left hand he has no real chance to make a play on the puck, unless he uses his skate.
Unfortunately for Miami, Reichard tries to make a play on the puck and catches it at a bad angle, sending it into his own goal.
Miami special teams were awful this series and this PP was no exception. A Miami skater comes on late and has no idea where he is supposed to be, the two players to the right are mixed up and try to cover the same assignments.
The puck is cycled from the corner boards to the pointman Jon Merrill. The Miami players have confused their alignments and left Luke Moffatt free to screen, even if the save is made no one in red is there for the rebound.
Merrill gets the shot down on the ice and Knapp sees it at the last second, he goes down but Moffatt gets a beautiful tip and sends it over his shoulder.
Michigan gets a very lucky bounce here. The defenseman is thinking the puck is going to be rolled down the boards, but it's chipped up into the air. With the Miami forwards still in the zone Michigan has nothing to lose by trying a rush in the neutral zone, except Miami was playing to agressive and got caught so no one is there.
Notice the direction of his head, he's looking down the goalie. That freezes the defensemen, since he is seeing shot his priority is shot blocking. Except Luke sends a beautiful no-look pass to moffie.
I have nothing to back it up, but it seems like Michigan's time on attack while on the powerplay has shot up enormously from the first half of the year. I would like to credit that to Merril and Moffie being more comfortable working the point than pretty much anyone else, but like I said I have no stat to back that up.
On the flip side, it seems like our opponents time on attack while they have the man advantage has dropped substantially. I have no idea what this would really be from other then guessing that they worked on clearing the puck in practice. All I know is that I don't cover my eyes anymore when we are on the penelty kill.
the powerplay, occasionally rotating three on top and crisscrossing the forwards to the circles and then across the slot. It is a cycling technique, but also frees up the mobile and assist master Moffie to back door cuts (like the one Clare scored in the GLI against FYS) and center slot shots like the one Merrill was set up to take.