Notes From A Hockey Exhibition

Notes From A Hockey Exhibition

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2017 at 12:15 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan walloped a bad CIS team on Saturday, beating Western Ontario 10-1. The Mustangs were not a good team last year and seemingly came to Yost with less than a full complement of skaters; things did not improve with one injury and three ejections. But Michigan hockey has played a CIS punching bag annually and they haven't always looked like that. Since 2009-10, with tourney teams bolded:

  • Michigan 6, Windsor 2, shots 33-16 M
  • Michigan 4, Western Ontario 2, shots 39-29 M
  • Ontario Tech 3, Michigan 2, shots 56-28 M
  • Michigan 7, Windsor 3, shots 43-30 M
  • Waterloo 2, Michigan 1, shots 35-22 M
  • Michigan 5, Wilfred Laurier 2, shots 52-24 M
  • Michigan 8, Toronto 1, shots 52-12 M
  • Michigan 2, Windsor 0, shots 36-32 M

Beating up on Western Ontario doesn't mean Michigan Is Back, but the trend there is clear. All but one tourney team doubled up the opposition in shots; all but one team that missed was in a relatively competitive game, give or take the goaltending. Not clobbering Western Ontario would have been a real bad sign. Michigan avoided that.


Feelingspuck? Doesn't sound right. Anyway: Michigan felt like a much-improved hockey team. Odd-man rushes, which happened seemingly three times a period during the last few years, were restricted to one early two-on-one and a breakaway when Quinn Hughes's stick broke. Meanwhile Michigan's breakout impressed with the diversity of approaches they took and their success at breaking the WO forecheck.

The forward corps is still short on talent, with two or three guys who would ideally be third-liners on the top two lines and a questionable bottom six. On the other hand, the return of Cutler Martin to defense—where I've always liked him—gives Michigan seven defensemen ranging from competent to excellent. Michigan has almost never had the kind of defensive depth they have this year, and with a more organized team supporting them and two good goalies backing them up Michigan could find success as a grind-it-out outfit that wins games 3-2 and 2-1.

Nobody wants Michigan hockey to look like that long term but beggars can't be choosers this year. If they get to the tournament, that's how.

[After THE JUMP: player-specific takes and a feel for the season.]

Hockey Adds Some Guys

Hockey Adds Some Guys

Submitted by Brian on July 12th, 2017 at 12:10 PM


Morgan has the most upside of the guys [Michael Caples/MiHockey]

Michigan announced a trio of additions to the 2017-2018 hockey roster. None of these guys projects to be particularly impactful, but there are enough of them to warrant a post.

One, incoming freshman Jack Becker, was already known. What information exists on Becker, a 7th round pick in 2015, was assembled in the first bit of the recently completed Epic Hockey Recruiting Overview. In a nutshell:

He'll be 21 in January and was only even somewhat productive in the USHL in his final season, when he put up a 16-12-28 line. … very large person at 6'4" … looks to be a project who will do well to get past the third line.

He's a big body who will be elderly indeed by the end of his Michigan career and could turn into a David Rohlfs sort; more likely he ends up on a checking line for the duration.

Grad transfer Alex Roos is either a fourth liner or healthy scratch sort. He had a decent freshman season (10-7-17) with Colorado College but dropped to 6 and 5 points in the subsequent two years. He had not skated for a single game as a senior when he quit the program in January. Most likely situation: Roos is coming to Michigan to actually get a post-grad degree and will walk-on for his final year of eligibility.

The third newcomer is LSSU transfer Luke Morgan. Morgan, a 5'11" forward, had 22 points in 36 games as a 19-year-old freshman with Lake State a year ago. This was a significant uptick from 25 points in 60 games in his only year in the USHL, which may indicate he's a late bloomer. He did score a winner at Yost last year:

Laker forward Luke Morgan decided the outcome with around three minutes left in the game. The goal came off a pass from J.T. Henke, and Morgan shot right behind LaFontaine for the goal.

And hey, we've got a breakdown of that goal. It is Michigan being utterly terrible on defense:

Henke hits Morgan, who’s a stride or two ahead of the chasing Michigan defenders. He’s basically got the time and space to do whatever he desires.

m lssu fri 3-3

Morgan decides within a stride that what he desires to do is shoot. You can see in the screen cap below that the puck has been release from Morgan's stick while LaFontaine’s almost completely in his upright crouch. I can’t tell from the replay whether this went five- or six-hole, but it found a gap as LaFontaine was getting into his butterfly; he reacted a hair too slow here.

m lssu fri 3-4

A guy walking into the slot without anyone near enough to even take a penalty with three minutes left in the third period. 2016-17 Michigan, I will not miss you.

Anyway. Morgan will sit out this year and then enter 2018-19 as 21-year-old sophomore. That's a four-year commitment to a guy who may not have a huge ceiling. Hockey scholarships can be split so it's possible that Morgan is only getting a partial ride and Michigan's risk here is low. Morgan is essentially an incoming freshman who can't play this year, so my assumption is Michigan wanted to add a guy and at this late juncture Morgan's 0.6 PPG in the WCHA was more appealing than various overagers still floating around out there.