[Schnepp (yeah, seriously)]
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Michigan 4, Michigan State 0
UM 1 MSU 0 PPG 7:38 Norris from Cecconi & Slaker
Slaker tries to take away the pass down low but the State skater hangs on and hands on and hangs on and eventually forces the pass low. Cecconi reads this and steps in front to pick it off. He proceeds to flip the puck out of the zone and to Becker, who’s waiting for it at the edge of the neutral zone.
Becker carries in and avoids a cursory stick sweep, which he counters by dropping the puck back for Norris to retrieve upon entering the offensive zone.
Norris reads the depth of the defensemen and sees that there might be a stick in his passing lane, but there’s a good chance a saucer pass would get the puck to a very open Slaker. He lifts it, but Slaker loses the puck and has to reset. It takes a fraction of a second; the shot is now a writer instead of a one-timer, and the fraction of a second is enough time for Lethemon to read it and safely steer the shot to the corner.
The puck-side defenseman turns to block the shot and then steps in to clear the rebound. He has Slaker in his face and can’t afford to turn and try to carry it out without taking a gamble; there’s a good chance Slaker strips the puck from him if he does anything but fling it out of the zone. The pressure results in a weak clear, and the puck bounces off the boards about halfway up the zone.
Becker comes over to get the puck and thinks twice, instead pointing at it for Cecconi to take it. Allowing a defenseman an unimpeded slap shot from the blue line is, at the very least, a good way to get the puck into traffic and maybe deflected. That’s not needed here, though, as Cecconi shoots a top-corner laser over Lethemon’s glove.
[After THE JUMP: one night Calderone’s putting up a hat trick, the next night the offense stalls and the defense forgets what a backside skater is]