The Chaos Is Back In Town

The Chaos Is Back In Town

Submitted by Brian on March 6th, 2018 at 2:36 PM

3/2/2018 – Michigan 6, Wisconsin 5 – 19-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten
3/3/2018 – Michigan 7, Wisconsin 4 – 20-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten

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keystone flops [Bill Rapai]

Just when you think Michigan has banished chaos from its ranks, Wisconsin rolls into town. This weekend's playoff series was, in a word, bonkers. Michigan scored on their first shot Friday; Wisconsin scored on their first shot Saturday. In between there was a lot of hyper-aggressive forechecking from the Badgers, power play goals by Michigan, and wave after wave of odd-man rushes both ways. Your favorite and mine was a four on one(!) set up by Quinn Hughes and finished with authority by Dakota Raabe and Niko Porikos:

This is the hockey equivalent of Brent Hibbits throwing down that thunder-dunk on Isaac Haas. It was that kind of weekend.

In the aftermath, Wisconsin is wondering what happened to their season

“We expected more out of this group,” said sophomore center Trent Frederic, who led the team with 17 goals. “It is what it is. It’s hard to look back and say we could have won here, could have won here.

“I wouldn’t say we really ever got any bounces all year. Last year, some stuff went our way. Maybe we weren’t as fortunate or maybe that was ourselves. But it just felt like one of those years (where) we were always fighting it.”

…and your author agrees. Michigan played the Badgers four times in their Hey We're Good Now second half and got more or less run out of the building twice. That did not happen against anyone else. One of those times they got run was Friday, a 6-5 Michigan that saw Wisconsin pile up a 53-29 shot advantage. It was all for naught because Michigan was 4/5 on the power play. The only other team that's handed Michigan their ass like that this year is—sigh—Ohio State. OSU is fighting for a one seed. Wisconsin's season is over because they are 5 games below .500.

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[JD Scott]

Wisconsin is almost terrifying. They're VCU on ice. They crippled Michigan's breakout Friday in a game that felt immediately out of hand, but Michigan scored first because one of their defensemen let a puck dribble by him and suddenly Michigan had a two-on-one gifted to them. It continued in this vein, which Michigan scoring slam-dunk PP goals as the Badgers got the puck to the left point and tried to shoot it through four or five bodies, with some success.

In the aftermath there was nothing to do but be glad those maniacs are done and hope that Michigan gained some valuable experience at breaking out of the zone against a heavy forecheck. I guess they were resilient? When Wisconsin punched, Michigan punched back. That they had to punch back after they flung the puck from their defensive zone directly to a Wisconsin stick and then fished the puck out of the net… well, they fixed that on Saturday, a much saner game by shot counts (but not goals). Nicholas Boka's return gave Michigan a second pair of defensemen who have the confidence and skill to break that forecheck, and the tables turned.

The bid's locked in now and the rest of the season is gravy. But also BC, BU, North Dakota, and Minnesota are down or flailing towards the finish line. There's no juggernaut this year, and now that Michigan's in they've got as good a shot as anyone. As long as they stay out of the box.

[After THE JUMP: a mercifully boring pairwise section and an invitation for small schools to jump in a lake.]

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Minnesota

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Minnesota

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 16th, 2018 at 11:08 AM

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a defenseman in a shooting lane was a common sight this series [JD Scott]

Friday, January 12, 2018

#9 Minnesota 3, Michigan 5

1st period

DANCS GOAL

MINN 0 MICH 1 EV 00:14 Assists: Calderone

Michigan has Calderone high to forecheck, and his presence at the edge of the neutral zone is enough to get Lindgren to pass the puck to Sadek along the boards. Dancs reads the pass and comes charging hard at Sadek.

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Dancs’ rapid pursuit causes Sadek to recoil, and the puck rolls off his stick as he pulls it back across his body. Calderone has skated to the area and picks up the loose puck, turning with it and entering the offensive zone with Sadek in pursuit.

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Sadek closes the gap quickly and Calderone feels the pressure. He decides his best play is to pass back to Dancs, who has plenty of space to operate and picks up the pass cleanly.

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Dancs starts to cut through the middle of the faceoff circle when he pulls the puck out to his side. He holds it there long enough that Sadek reads it as a shot and gets ready to block it. Sadek pulls his stick in and starts to bring his knees together; Dancs still has the puck held out to his side and now has room to shoot around Sadek. He doesn’t try to dangle Sadek, instead opting for a filthy snapshot that beats Robson in the far-side top corner. It’s a perfectly-placed shot, and it doesn’t go in if a.) the goalie has an elite glove hand or b.) the shooter misses his mark.

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[After THE JUMP: this post is antithetical to showing good defense but it was there and we should talk about it]

Defense at the Midpoint: A Closer Look

Defense at the Midpoint: A Closer Look

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 24th, 2015 at 3:00 PM

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[Barron/MGoBlog]

If you’ve been reading the site for a long time you’ll remember Seth’s “Decimated Defense” series, an excellent set of posts that painstakingly detailed why Michigan’s defense was so awful circa 2009. If you’ve been watching hockey the past few seasons, something similar may have crossed your mind.

David Nasternak is our jack-of-all-trades behind the scenes, and he’s also a huge hockey fan. He asked if I’d be interested in some data he was pulling together on power play goals against, odd-man rushes, and turnovers that led directly to goals. Naturally I was; Michigan’s defense isn’t quite Decimated Defense-level bad, but I could probably write a series of posts about the past four years and no one would bat an eye if I titled them “Disappointing Defense.”

The eye test, beloved by scouts for generations, tells us that Michigan’s defense has again been lacking in 2015-16. Thanks to the data David has compiled and some additional team-level stats from College Hockey Inc. we can try and see where the breakdowns are coming from on an otherwise solid team.

[After THE JUMP: it wouldn’t be MGoBlog without charts]