Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin, Big Ten Tournament

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin, Big Ten Tournament Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 7th, 2018 at 10:41 AM


[Bill Rapai]

Friday, March 2, 2018

#3 Michigan 6, #6 Wisconsin 5

[Note: numbers refer to BTT seeding]

1st period


UM 1 UW 0 EV 1:40 Assists: Marody & Cecconi

Cecconi puts some mustard on a backhanded clearing attempt and gets the puck out of Michigan’s defensive zone.

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The puck stays more or less on the wall and looks like it’s about to be stopped by Tischke’s skates.

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until it somehow gets through. You can see Marody locked onto the puck in the screencap above, and he’s in perfect position to pick it up and go once it gets past the UW skater. To Tischke’s credit, he makes the right move once the split second he realizes the puck is past him. He turns and moves to get into a position where he can take away Marody’s passing lane to his right.

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That doesn’t mean Tischke’s actually able to take away said lane, though. Marody gets the pass through to Calderone, who’s perfectly aligned. This is extra dangerous for Wisconsin because Calderone is a right-handed shot, so he’s going to get the puck on his on hand.

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It’s also extra dangerous because there aren’t many skaters at this level who can lift a puck from in tight like Calderone. This isn’t the closest to the net that I’ve seen him go top shelf this season, but it’s still impressive because he does it at full speed while allowing the puck to slide past the midpoint of his body to where he wants to shoot, slightly outside his frame to his right.

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[Analysis of the other 743 goals after THE JUMP]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Arizona State

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Arizona State Comment Count

Adam Schnepp February 28th, 2018 at 10:02 AM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Friday, February 23, 2018

#13 Michigan 5, Arizona State 3

1st period

Walker goal

UM 0 ASU 1 EV 00:51 Assists: Gruber

A Michigan skater is trying to start the breakout from their defensive zone and I don’t know whether he misreads what’s up-ice or just flubs the pass, but he ends up turning the puck over. Gruber picks it off in the neutral zone and skates it in.

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Gruber is understandably under a lot of pressure as soon as he enters the zone since this is a quick offense-defense transition off a breakout. Luke Martin lifts his stick off the ice a bit, and it’s just enough for Gruber to get the pass off. The pass then happens to go under Norris’ stick and arrives on a line for Walker.

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Walker rips a wrist shot and beats Lavigne…over the glove? I mean, probably over the glove. That’s what it looks like, and that’s what Lavigne’s body language indicates what with the raised shoulder, but I honestly haven’t been able to slow it down with enough clarity to make the call. Either way, it’s a dubious start for Lavigne.

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[After THE JUMP: far less dubious stuff]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Notre Dame

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Notre Dame Comment Count

Adam Schnepp February 20th, 2018 at 4:00 PM


[James Coller]

Friday, February 16, 2018

#1 Notre Dame 2, #18 Michigan 4

1st period


ND 0 UM 1 EV 12:34 Assists: Hughes & Cecconi

Hughes carries the puck into the zone and starts down the wing long enough to draw a defender, Gilbert, toward him. Gilbert is wise not to step up and into Hughes because Raabe is coming down the wing and, as far as timing is concerned, in excellent position to receive a drop pass.

Hughes waits until Gilbert gets close before making his move. He sees that Gilbert’s moving more or less in a straight line toward the boards, so he cuts up toward the blue line and moves laterally across it.

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Adam Winborg is the Michigan skater in the blue box below. Dawson Cook is the Notre Dame skater in the blue box below. Quinn Hughes is the puck carrier in the screen cap below. Two of the people in said screen cap have just noticed that Winborg is headed for the front of the net. One of them has the puck and is in good position to shoot, and the other has to shift his weight and chase Winborg.

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Winborg keeps his blade on the ice and Hughes’ shot hits it and goes airborne. The puck goes in over Morris’ shoulder in one of the only ways he can be beaten.

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[After THE JUMP: good defense creates offense, though crazy accuracy and puck luck helps, too]


Tech Effect

Tech Effect Comment Count

Brian February 20th, 2018 at 12:23 PM

2/16/2018 – Michigan 4, Notre Dame 2 – 15-13-3, 10-10-3 Big Ten
2/18/2018 – Michigan 1, Notre Dame 0 – 16-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten


[James Coller]

About halfway through the third period on Sunday I started to wonder about 1-0 victories, specifically how long it had been since Michigan had made one lousy goal stand up. (ENGs do not count for our reckoning.) I probably should not have done that. It's the kind of thinking you deeply regret when a puck passes behind the goaltender and still deeply regret even when it miraculously squirts out the other side. I still thought it, though. It seemed plausible Michigan would accomplish this thing.

The answer turns out to be shockingly recent: on February 15th of last year Zach Nagelvoort had a 42-save shutout as Michigan squeezed by OSU 1-0 thanks to a Nick Pastujov goal. But the larger wonderment still stands, I think, because you have to go all the way back to the 2011 Life As A Vole national semifinal against North Dakota to hit the next one.

Those games were similar in that both featured Michigan scoring a weird early goal and then hanging on for dear life. They got outshot 2 to 1 in both, and at no point until the final buzzer or blessed Scooter Vaughn empty net goal did victory seem probable. I know this about the 2011 North Dakota game because I remember every terrifying moment of the third period. I know this about last year's Ohio State game, which I probably did not watch, because I saw other games that hockey team played. At no point during either game did anyone wonder about 1-0 victories, because clearly this would not be a 1-0 game.

So they are very different than Sunday's 1-0 win against then-#1 Notre Dame, in which Michigan outshot the Irish by a large margin 5x5. Two power plays and another two minutes of frantic face-clenching action after ND pulled their goalie got ND to near-parity, but not quite, and when the buzzer sounded Michigan had finished its four games against the Big Ten's best team having outplayed them everywhere except their penalty kill. And on Sunday they'd done it in a very un-Michigan way: by matching Notre Dame's relentless discipline.

Each team had one opportunity at a three on two, sort of. Depending on how you want to classify odd-man rushes, it might have been zero. Notre Dame's didn't even get inside the Michigan blue line. I don't think I've ever seen Michigan have a game where they don't give up an odd-man rush. Maybe it's happened against a tomato can here and there, but probably not. The last five or so years of Michigan hockey has been about trying to outscore your mistakes, which they managed to do when they the Connor-Motte-Compher line and at no other point.

It's taken a while for new-era Michigan to work past the recent chaos. Since resuming in January, it appears they have. They're 8-5-1 against a slate of opponents who—except for Michigan State—are all either in the tournament or plausibly on the bubble. That's not the greatest run in the history of hockey; it has been good enough to take them from the deep 20s to a three seed. Expecting more would be insane. Just last year Michigan was hovering amongst the very worst teams in college hockey in Corsi...


white included to demonstrate that there ain't no more teams

...and this year they're a point or two above average. This is a one year turnaround that matches what Mel did when he arrived at Michigan Tech. Tantalizingly, he had another gear from there.

Tech won 13 games the next year and 14 in 2013-14, the first year of college hockey's new landscape. This alone is impressive in the modern context of Tech hockey; that's the first time Tech had won double-digit games since Bob Mancini did it from 1993 to 1996.

That alone would not be impressive enough to grab the Michigan job, but then Pearson had the following three seasons:

  • 29-10-2, at-large bid to tourney as #2 seed, #5 ES Corsi*
  • 23-9-5, WCHA regular season champs, #3 ES Corsi
  • 23-15-7, WCHA playoff champs, NCAA bid, #3 ES Corsi

Unless Michigan hits the Jack Hughes jackpot, Michigan's not going to have another Connor or Larkin for a couple years here. The recruiting pipeline dried up a little deep into the Red era, so they'll have to make do with guys who grind their way up the ranks year by year, like Tony Calderone. It's been tough for Michigan to win with just those guys of late; transcendent talent was needed, and even then it wasn't always enough.

There's no transcendent talent this year. Even Quinn Hughes is a year away from being able to tell when he should plunder the opposition crease and when he should stay back. Michigan scores goals like the one lousy one they made stand up on Sunday: forcing a defensive zone turnover from the opposition and flinging it in over the goalie's shoulder before the defense can re-set. But it works, because they can go a whole game without giving up an odd man rush. For anyone who watched the last few years of Michigan hockey that sounds like a 180 on a dime in a leaky battleship.

Michigan looks ahead of schedule in year one, headed for a wide-open tourney with a couple of recent one-seed Ws painted on its nose cone. It turns out that Mel Pearson was exactly the right guy. Not because he's been in Ann Arbor for 30 years already. Because he'd already walked into a reclamation project with a power washer and some 20-year-olds.


I said last week that sweeping ND was close to a lock at-large, and whatever particularly devastating combination of events would have made that statement untrue have not come to pass. CHN just ran its Pairwise Predictor—20k Monte Carlo simulations of the rest of the season—and Michigan comes out with a 95% chance of a bid, and a two-thirds chance to get a 3 seed or better.

That doesn't mean this weekend's series doesn't matter. Those projections weight games according to KRACH, the statheads' preferred college hockey ranking system, and one of the main reasons Michigan is in near-lock territory is because that system gives Michigan an 82% chance to win any particular game against Arizona State. Splitting this weekend puts Michigan back down in the danger zone:


1-1 this weekend puts Michigan at 13 or 14, most likely

Dave pointed out on the podcast that this year is ripe for bid steals because most of the top spots in the Pairwise are NCHC or Big Ten teams. Providence and Northeastern are the only HE teams currently in the tourney; BC and BU collectively have a ~34% chance to steal a Hockey East Bid. Cornell and Clarkson are the only ECAC teams in at-large spots. CHN gives those two teams a whopping 79% shot at winning the playoff title, but if Cornell does go down a bid steal is likely. Minnesota State is the only WCHA team currently in the field; that's another 38% shot at a steal.

It is possible for Michigan to fall to 14 if they sweep Arizona State and then get swept in the first round of the playoffs by a decent PSU or Wisconsin team, and at that point they'd be vulnerable if two bids get stolen. They are not entirely out of the woods but they'd have to blow it pretty hard to even put themselves in a spot where an odd combination of results booted them.

This weekend is one for focus, though.


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Notre Dame

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Notre Dame Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 9th, 2018 at 10:03 AM



Friday, January 5, 2018

Michigan 1, #2 Notre Dame 2

1st Period

Hellickson goal

UM 0 ND 1 PPG 4:44 Assists: Morrison & Burke

Hellickson passes to Evans, whom Slaker tries to close on. Evans turns on the puck and fires, which causes Slaker to drop in an attempt to block the shot. It gets through, but Lavigne makes the save.

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Not without giving up a long and, if you’re Michigan, very unfortunately placed rebound, though. Burke is lurking in the faceoff circle (as you would expect in a 1-3-1) and he doesn’t even have to move to have a perfect opportunity for a one-timer. The rebound happens so quickly that Martin’s spinning around to see where the puck went and Winborg is pushing off his back skate by the time the puck is released.

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Another in a series of unfortunate rebounds, the puck hits Lavigne and falls directly in front of him. Piazza is trying to shove Morrison out of the crease to no avail, and with Martin having taken a step toward Burke there’s space for Morrison to get off a shot.

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[Find the rest of this goal, all the others, and some thoughts on where Michigan stands after this series after THE JUMP]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Michigan State

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Michigan State Comment Count

Adam Schnepp December 12th, 2017 at 10:16 AM


[Schnepp (yeah, seriously)]

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Michigan 4, Michigan State 0

1st period

No scoring

2nd period

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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[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]


Notes From A Hockey Exhibition

Notes From A Hockey Exhibition Comment Count

Brian 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.]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Penn State, Part Two

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Penn State, Part Two Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 14th, 2017 at 9:58 AM


All you have to do to eke a smile out of him is pitch a 46-shot shutout and stay four years it’s really not that hard [James Coller]

Friday, March 10, 2017

Michigan 3, #11 Penn State 2

1st period

Myllari Goal

UM 0 PSU 1 EV 19:59 Assists: Sucese & Biro

Lockwood carries the puck into the offensive zone with 15 seconds to go in the period and I distinctly remember looking at the clock and thinking that the period was as good as done. Something in the darker, loathing, confrontational part of my brain perked up at this sunny optimism and immediately reminded me that you’d think so but, like, this season…

Stupid accurate darker, loathing, confrontational part of my brain.

Sucese gets the puck deep and shoots from a bad angle, and with no one in front of the net to deflect it the puck goes through the slot and hits the boards on the opposite side of the rink.

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Myllari sees the puck bounce off the boards, does a nice job reading the angle of the bounce, and gets himself all wound up for a one-timer. It’s worth noting that Lavigne sees where the puck is headed and gets across the crease in time to do something; at this point he’s still standing.

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Sanchez gets in position to block the shot, sliding out of the way just as the puck passes him. Proof positive that luck plays a bigger part in hockey than most of us would like to admit. It seems like Lavigne had a hard time tracking the flight of the puck as Sanchez passed in front of him. Otherwise he would have eschewed the butterfly in favor of standing, as you don’t have to worry about a rebound off the chest protector when the puck’s released with one second left.

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[After THE JUMP: more weird goals, Nagelvoort’s unreal, bork bork bork]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Minnesota, Part Two

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Minnesota, Part Two Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 8th, 2017 at 1:03 PM


[JD Scott]

Friday, March 3, 2017

Michigan 5, #5 Minnesota 3

1st period

Cammarata Goal

Mich 0 Minn 1 PPG 13:21 Assists: Bristedt & Gates

A deflected pass turns into a loose puck and that in turn becomes an opportunity for Minnesota to cycle the puck in the corner. Warren gets his stick into the passing lane and is a fraction of a second from knocking the pass away. The 2016-17 season is, however, a cruel mistress, so the pass gets through and the Minnesota skaters switch spots.

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Gates skates into the circle and turns to open up for a pass as Bristedt loops around at the wall. Luce is watching this and understandably becomes preoccupied with saddling up next to Gates.

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Cammarata sees the cycling along the wall and steps away from the crease. Boka had just dumped him to that side of the net two frames earlier and has since watching the cycling along the wall and quickly checked behind him to see if a skater was in position for a cross-ice one-timer.  A good check, but one that sees him lose sight of Cammarata.

Bristedt doesn’t lose sight of him; he sees Luce take away Gates while the easier pass to Cammarata at the side of the net simultaneously opens up.

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Cammarata reaches as far across as possible upon receipt and flings a shot in before Nagelvoort can get his leg extended.

As Sean Ritchlin said on the broadcast, you’re either going to tuck the puck in far-side before the goalie can push off the post or you’re going to get the goalie to kick it and create a rebound for that backside skater who’s been handing out in the faceoff circle (or the one in the slot).

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[Much more after THE JUMP]


Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Lake Superior State

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Lake Superior State Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 30th, 2016 at 1:05 PM


[James Coller/MGoBlog]

Friday, November 25, 2016

#16 Michigan 1, Lake Superior State University 3

1st period

No scoring

2nd period


UM 1 LSSU 0 PPG 11:51 Assists: Dancs & Martin

Pastujov is carrying the puck in while being hounded by a defender to his right. He’s far enough from the boards that he can spin and bank the puck back to Martin, who’s hovering near the blue line. This also causes the defender to come off of Pastujov and chase Martin. There’s plenty of space for Martin to survey, and with no high defender he passes to the opposite side of the offensive zone.

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Dancs gets the pass from Martin cleanly. He doesn’t have to look far for his next move, as Calderone sees the pass coming across and starts to skate across the slot and almost out in order to get himself into position for a pass from Dancs.

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The defender nearest Calderone makes a mistake, jutting his stick out to take away a passing lane to the front of the net when the puck’s far more likely to go to the guy who’s wearing white and right next to him. Dancs passes, and Calderone gathers it on the forehand. The defender who was on Pastujov and then was chasing Martin at the point is now doing his best to get his stick out and break up the pass (to no avail).

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Calderone settles the puck and fires relatively quickly, and I don’t think the goaltender was expecting this. Calderone’s able to get the puck from almost behind him to right in front really quickly, and though the goalie’s attempting to butterfly it appears as though he’s a half second off; in the screen cap below you can see the puck’s more than halfway there and his five-hole is still open.

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[After THE JUMP: winning Corsi, more goals, and looking ahead to Penn State]