Michigan Hockey 16-17, Game #1: Union 4, Michigan 3

Michigan Hockey 16-17, Game #1: Union 4, Michigan 3

Submitted by NastyIsland on October 7th, 2016 at 10:29 PM

I tired, guys (Barron)

 

OFFENSE

Ugh.  Despite the score being only 4-3 (and 3-2, M for most of the game), Michigan's offense was mostly non-existent.  My final CORSI count was 69-36.  That's a 34% possession rate.  Woof.  When Michigan was actually able to get a hold of the puck, they were usually trying to fling it down the ice for a clear or attempt to use their speed to create an OMR going the other direction.  Obviously, its still early in the season and they're playing with quite a few freshman forwards (5 of the 11 dressed), but its tough to see who is going to generate the offense.  Will Lockwood has some potential.  He had a 2v1 and eschewed the pass and picked a top corner to give M the lead early in the 2nd.  After that, though...there was very little.  There was a little flurry in the 2nd where M was able to get into inside the circles, but for most of the game, the few chances they did have came from the perimeter.  Alex Kile has some handles and a shot but he's played the best when someone is able to get him the puck.  I'm not sure who that will be, at this point.  Two of M's goals came on special teams and neither looks super repeatable.

 

DEFENSE

To the eye test, I honestly didn't think the defense was too terrible.  There did not seem to be a lot of huge gaffes or awful DZTOs (there might have been a couple).  Looking at the shot charts, though...numbers tell a different story.  Union was able to get inside the circles and into the slot with relative ease.  By my count 45 of their 69 attempts came from inside of the circles/slot.  That's...a lot.  Michigan did have a number of blocks, but...still.  Union also did not return a lot of scoring from last season.  We'll see how Union looks in the future, but allowing that many chances from that close is not the start Michigan was looking for to begin their season.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Special teams don't factor into the advanced stats that we're trying to focus on, but Michigan still took eight penalties....including four (five, but one was matching) in the opening period.  And they all came in rapid succession.  Union was able to scratch a goal back after falling behind 2-0.  They also tallied late in the 3rd to tie that game, going 2 for 6, overall.  If the Wolverines can't stay out of the box...this will get rough.  

On the positive side (there is one?), Michigan managed to score twice on special teams.  The first came on a loose puck off of the faceoff that Piazza sniped home from the high slot.  The second was Max Shuart chipping a puck clear on a Union 2 man advantage to a streaking Tony Calderone who scored on a the PK as he broke free after exiting the box.  Neither of those goals were the result of great puck movement, but more capitalizing on friendly bounces, unfortunately.  When they did get the PP set up, they started in the 1-3-1, but never got it fully buzzing the way we were so used to it going last season.  In their last two PPs, they generated a couple chances, but nothing too golden.

 

GOALTENDING

This might have been the brightest spot for Michigan...and it looks as if they might need it.  I thought Nagelvoort played really, really well.  There was absolutely nothing he could have done on either of the first two goals or the fourth.  The third he may wish to have back, but it would not be filed as 'awful.'  Regardless, he made 36 saved and faced many, many attempts from close range.  He looked strong around the net, and I thought he controlled his rebounds rather well.  His movement in the crease and puck tracking both looked very solid.  There really is not a lot more he could have done tonight.  When you face that many chances, pucks will go in at some point.

 

ODD MAN RUSHES

This is something Adam and I started tracking last season when our hottaeks told us that Michigan gave up way too many goals from getting caught out of their defensive zone.  Tonight, I only tracked three OMRs.  Only one was dangerous -as it came on a M PP.  Piazza was back in a 2v1 and somehow got beat by the puck carrier but no goal resulted.  Other than that, the other two (a 3v2 and a 2v1) were mitigated by nice defensive work.  It seemed these were a huge bugaboo for M last season and resulted in free goals for opponents.  Tonight, the goals were more of a result of not being able to clear the zone, tired legs from chasing all night, and the inability to stay out of the box.

FINAL CORSI SCORE

Union 69, Michigan 36  

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #38: North Dakota 5, Michigan 2

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #38: North Dakota 5, Michigan 2

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 26th, 2016 at 9:57 PM

If this is Goodbye, then thank you for our program [Patrick Barron]

 
OFFENSE
North Dakota was just better.  Period.  Michigan had a ton of trouble getting anything going consistently.  From any line.  There were chances; good chances. But Cam Johnson was just equal to pretty much everything the Wolverines threw at him.  M got into the slot and a couple of times into the crease, but not with any regularity at all.  For most of the game, I almost considered 'offense' as just getting the puck into the the NoDak end.  Both of the goals essentially came on the power play.  It would have been nice if a couple more chances could have been finished, but when you play a team with an unreal forecheck, equal speed, tremendous defense, and is backed by Cam Johnson...too many locks to pick.  Credit to NoDak for just overwhelming Michigan and exploiting matchups.
 
 
 
Oh, hello, most of the game [Patrick Barron]
 
DEFENSE
The defense was not very good.  It was brutal a lot of times, in fact.  To some extent, that is just what happens when you play against a superior opponent.  Aside from North Dakota just being better, it was the same ugly foes that Michigan fought all year.  I dug deeper into this team because I wanted to see the impact of the odd man rushes that M gave up on a consistent basis.  (SPOILER ALERT: 6, tonight...but no goals).  In doing so, the D Zone TOs kept jumping off the screen.  That is really what did Michigan in on the first couple goals.  Nieves had one that lead to the first goal, Boka/Compher each had one that lead to the second.  There were also too-many-to-count failed zone clears.  Its all nothing new, really.  These things have been present for the entire season.  North Dakota just put a microscope on all of them and forced Michigan to play an absolute perfect game.  They did not and it really could have been a lot worse.  
 
 
 
Still couldn't stop M's power play [Patrick Barron]
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
Michigan actually won the Special Teams battle (kinda).  Both Michigan goals came via the power play.  They technically had two opportunities.  The first lasted 24 seconds and Compher scored just after the penalty ended but before the penalized player got back into the play.  Power play goal?  No...but yes.  JT's second goal was actually on the power play, tying the game at 2, midway through the third.  Let's say 19 of  their last 31. 
 
Michigan dug in on the PK and killed 3 NoDak penalties.  Which...is saying something because the entire first period seemed like a power play for the opposition.  Shots were 24-8 after the first.  They did give up a PP goal on NoDak's fourth opportunity, late in the third.  That just about ended the game.
 
 
 
 
When you've given your all [Patrick Barron]
 
GOALTENDING
Steve Racine has been ragged on all season (regardless of the OMRs, DZTOs, poor PK), but if you rag on him tonight, go find a new sport to watch.  He was beaten four times, but someone show me what he could have done on any of them.  Unlucky bounce on rebound, wide open shot from the slot, tipped shot that still hit his glove, and wide open dude in his face who redirected the shot about 3 feet from him.  He also made 44 saves -including a breakaway, a couple OMRs, and countless stops that came when his defense hadn't cleared the puck in minutes.  It could easily have been 9-2.  He had his share of luck (somehow) as NoDak missed some wonderful chances wide of the net.  He probably didn't reach Hunwick-level, but given the quality of defense in front of him, it sure felt like it, sometimes.  At one point in the first, shots were 15-3.  NoDak was on pace for 70+ shots.  Yet, it was 0-0.  He's had his issues for sure, but for the most part, since taking over the starting spot in the second half of the season, he's been an unsung hero of this team.  All the credit in the world to the most fun line I've ever watched in college hockey, but the last couple weeks -and certainly the last couple days- have given me a new appreciation for Steve Racine.  You can't say he didn't do his part.
 
 
BONUS: ODD MAN RUSHES
I touched on this above a bit.  There was 6, tonight.  And a handful of others that were close.  None resulted in goals, surprisingly.  There were three 3v2s, two 2v1s, and then a breakaway that Racine just stoned.  Three OMRs lead to misses of the net, one that turned into nothing, and then two saves, including that break.  I'm actually a little surprised there weren't a few more, but it was the DZTOs, not the OMRs that doomed the Wolverines, tonight.

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #37: Michigan 3, Notre Dame 2 (OT)

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #37: Michigan 3, Notre Dame 2 (OT)

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 25th, 2016 at 9:23 PM
FINALLY! [Patrick Barron]
 
 
OFFENSE
We wondered what it would be like if M's scoring depth was tested.  Tonight, it happened.  The CCM line generated a few chances but nothing very scary...early on.  The best looks came from the 2nd line.  Boo, Selman, and Kile all had great looks at the net.  Selman converted his off of a nice faceoff play, but Cal Petersen was able to put the rest of M's good looks to bed.  Notre Dame all but eliminated the M's top line through two periods, forcing the rest of the Wolverines lines to produce the scoring and it just didn't happen.  A hat tip to the ND coaching staff.  No one has really been able to do that all year.  It got so bad that Michigan started slipping Connor onto different lines just to give him a chance to get a few looks.  The third period produced a few better looks, but still nothing...until Werenski stepped into the slot and tied the game with about half of the third period left.  Kyle Connor ALMOST won the game right before the end of regulation, but Petersen got enough of Connor's shot to slow it down on the goalline before freezing it.  However...you can keep the CCM line off the board for three periods but apparently not four.  Connor had multiple Grade A chances to start the OT period, then got the puck down to Compher, who found Motte wide open in the slot to finish off the Irish, 3-2.  After only a decent showing in the first couple periods, Michigan bombarded Petersen in the third and overtime.  Michigan's supporting cast did just enough to let the CCM line slam the door.
 
 
DEFENSE
Michigan's defense was not stellar, tonight. Downing took a terrible gamble near the end of the first that set up Bjork on a 2v1.  He didn't need to pass and hit a corner on Racine, scoring ND's first tally.  Downing also had another couple of plays that reminded us of what he was for most of his career, instead of the last few months.  He wasn't alone, though.  There were enough defensive zone TOs and failed clears that allowed ND to sustain a lot of pressure.  The Irish also missed on a few wide open opportunities.  A goal is attributed to Werenski -who also had another few fantastic opportunities- so there is that.  Michigan did only give up two goals, but Racine can take most of the credit for that.  They will need to be consistently better as a unit, if they are going to shut down a powerful North Dakota attack, tomorrow night.
 
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
The biggest key coming into to the game tonight was ND taking penalties.  If you stay out of the box, Michigan's biggest weapon is gone.  That's exactly what they did tonight.  Michigan had zero power plays.  I think that's the first game this year that Michigan has not had a power play?  Its a big testament to Michigan getting three goals without their nuclear bomb.  Also, props to ND for staying out of the box.
 
Michigan had to kill two penalties and did so.  Notre Dame threatened a few times, but never scored.  Really not much else to say in this section.
 
 
NOPE! [Patrick Barron]
 
GOALTENDING
Steve Racine may have had his best game as a Wolverine tonight.  He flat out robbed ND multiple times throughout the game.  He matched Petersen save-for-save.  I can't really put either goal on Racine, tonight. He had no chance on the 2v1 on the first goal -it was also an excellent snipe by Bjork.  It was tough to tell, but I don't think he saw the 2nd goal.  A couple of ND skaters crossed in the left faceoff circle and the lead one dropped the puck off and the second immediately shot the puck high over Racine's blocker.  I thought from his reaction that he never saw the drop.  
 
I would give Racine the MVP, although Petersen played just as well.  Dealing with a leaky defense and and offense that couldn't get in gear until 3rd period, Steve Racine kept Michigan in the game long enough for the Wolverine legs to outlast the Irish legs.  It's about time the senior get his due.
 
 
BONUS: ODD MAN RUSHES
I counted four.
 
The first I've covered a few times.  It was not good.  Michigan hadn't given up an OMR goal in a few weeks.  It was situations like that, that lead to Adam and I digging into and counting OMRs.
The next three came to very little (3v2, 2v1, 3v2).  Racine had to make a nice save on the fourth, but the second and third were rather harmless.  Michigan does need to stay disciplined, though.  A powerful North Dakota offense awaits and giving them numbers in transition could end even worse than tonight.

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #36: Michigan 5, Minnesota 3

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #36: Michigan 5, Minnesota 3

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 20th, 2016 at 12:00 AM

BIG TEN CHAMPS [Patrick Barron]

 

OFFENSE

I thought Michigan's offense was very lively tonight.  They played another skilled team and had the better scoring opportunities.  The game went through stretched of carrying play for both teams, but it seemed that Michigan was able to consistently get deeper and closer to the slot for their chances.  Shots on Target ended close to even, but I think Schierhorn stopped a few more difficult opportunities.  

This was definitely a game for the CCM line, most of the damage coming on the Power Play.  However, the game-tying goal in the early third was something to behold.  Compher has just been a wizard with the puck the entire season.  With a guy in his sweater, he had a cross-ice pass to an open Connor who just ole'd Schierhorn (who probably played the situation correctly) from inside the dot and beat the charging defenseman to the post, sneaking the puck in the open net.  Adam will have fun with that one.  It was the Hobey cherry on top of his Hobey sundae season.  He has 35 goals and 34 assists.  He is NOT JUST A SHOOTER.  Connor now has an nine point lead on the second place point-getting...his center, JT Compher, who has a six point lead on their linemate, Tyler Motte.  Compher also leads the nation with 46 assists, 8 more than 2nd place.  Connor and Motte are first and second in goals with 35 and 31, respectively.  Michigan has NINE players with double digit goals; nine players with 20 or more points; and six skaters with 30 or more.  I don't know what else to say about this offense.

DEFENSE

Another terrific game defensively for the Wolverines.  Again, they allowed 33 shots to get to Racine, but -just like yesterday- most of them came from a distance and away from the dangerous areas near and in front of the net.  Minnesota does have quality players and did generate a few nice scoring chances, but Michigan limited them -for the most part- to what Racine was able to see and stop. Also, Piazza looked just fine playing for a suspended Downing.  Compher talked about the first goal in the intermission, saying that it was on a forward not locking up the trailing Bristedt (who notched his 20th of the season...no slouch there).  The defensemen seemed to have dramitically improved in the second half of the season (minus the OSU series), looking more comfortable on the puck, riding attackers away from the net, and staying sound defensive position.  I'm starting to believe that this level of defense can take them far.

 

Goodnight Minnesota [Patrick Barron]

SPECIAL TEAMS 

Michigan top Power Play line is just bonkers.  The entire Power Play is nuts.  They were 14 of 25 in the last five games entering the B10CG.  And went 3 for 4.  17 of 29, 59% in last six games, now.  The top line gets all three goals, tonight, as Motte, Compher, and Werenski all score...Werenski with the winner late in the 3rd.  Its really not even just the goals.  There were multiple opportunities where the puck could have easily gone in before it actually did.  The puck movement and passing is just incredible.  Each player knows where to be and seems to be in slow motion as the pass always seems to go to the open player...the entire point of a power play.  You honestly just cannot take penalties against this team. 

Michigan did a fantastic job staying out of the box, tonight, conceding only one man advantage.  Unfortunately, they were unable to get the kill.  Minnesota kept the puck in the zone the entire time and eventually Compher lost his stick.  The puck soon found its way to an open shooter on JT's side and Racine really didn't have much of a chance.  You don't like to give up Man Advantage goals, but if you're only in the box once, I can live with that.

 

GOALTENDING

Steve Racine was fantastic, tonight.  And actually, he has been for a while.  He's been criticized for a few clunky goals allowed -and he's had a few- but he's also saved the day on more occasions than are credited to him.  Again, the defense was sound for the most part, keeping the majority of shots away from the dangerous areas, but Racine was up to most of the ones that leaked through...including flashing the glove and stoning Tyler Sheehy midway through the third to keep the game tied.  He also had a ridiculous kick save off a deflection a few minutes later.  

You can probably place a little blame on him for the second goal.  While it does appear that there was some contact to his pad/skate, he looked a little gumpy and slow trying to get back across the crease to defend the wraparound.  I don't think it was entirely on him, but that was definitely very awkward. It also might have been Martin that hit him, making the entire sequence rather unlucky.  Other than that, he was very strong to start and end the game

 

BONUS: ODD MAN RUSHES

I only had two.  There were a couple I was close to tallying but decided against it.  The first was late in the opening period, a 3v2 with De Jong and Piazza back.  Nothing of note came of it.  The second was a little dicier.  A neutral zone turnover lead to a 2v1 that Martin made a perfectly time dive to smother the pass and take the puck to the corner.  This is very good.  I will keep taking this.

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #35: Michigan 7, Penn St 2

Michigan Hockey 15-16, Game #35: Michigan 7, Penn St 2

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 18th, 2016 at 8:41 PM

This happened a lot (Patrick Barron)

 
OFFENSE
 
My first note is "KyleLOLConnor"  He's the best player in college hockey.  He will win the Hobey.  I don't think its very close.  He showed an array of reasons why that is the case, tonight.  His ability to get the puck off  instantaneously and use defenders as screens is unreal.  JT also had a ho-hum five assists.  Droppin' dimes, droppin' dimes!  Playing next to Connor clearly agrees with him.  Boo Nieves is driving a lot more play, lately, as well.  He added a tally tonight.  That line is humming along very well.  Even the fourth line looked very dangerous tonight, as Max Shuart scored in his third straight game.  Obviously the CCM line is untouchable, but there's not much noticeable difference between the rest of Michigan's three lines -and that's a good thing!  I don't remember that being the case in a very long time.
 
DEFENSE
 
Despite the high Shot on Target total for Penn State, I thought that Michigan's defense played well, tonight.  Penn State did bring 20 skaters, tonight, so perhaps last weekend was not as much about their lack of numbers.  For the most part, Penn State was kept away from the more dangerous areas on the ice.  The majority of their attempts seemed to come from the perimeter or with a defenseman in the shooter's face.  Penn State has the 6th highest scoring offense in the country and they were predominantly kept at a distance.  Michigan did have trouble getting the puck out of the zone in the beginning stages, but overall, there was nothing egregious.  
 
 
GOALTENDING
Steve Racine played very well in net, tonight.  He let a few rebounds get away from himself early, but remained very steady throughout.  Again, as mentioned previously, he faced very few scary chances and was not relied upon the save the game for Michigan.  He did stop 40 of the 42 shots that reached him.  There was nothing he could do on either of PSU's goals.  The first one Selman seemed to get caught puck-watching in the slot and Kevin Kerr slid a one-timer in the back door.  The second was very similar.  Great puck movement from PSU's highly ranked Power Play forced Cecconi to choose between taking away the guy in slot and the backdoor pass.  A good backdoor pass went through the defense and that was it.  Again, no real shot for Racine on either.
 
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
This was the fun part.  Michigan went 3 for 5 on the Man Advantage.  Connor with 2 and Kile with 1.  The puck movement from the top line is just phenomenal.  Motte even looked off a defender before finding a wide open Kile for the first tally.  Even the second unit looked to almost score a couple times on the second power play chance, coming very, very close.  Connor then took over and netted his couple.  The PK was not great.  After a great kill to start, they gave up a couple of goals with players getting a little lost on who to check.  Motte did have a fantastic clear on a 4-on-3 that saved a tremendous scoring opportunity as the second period ended.  
 
This is part to talk about what put Michigan in a couple of  those PKs.  Nieves took a silly slash before a faceoff.  Boo had an overall nice game, but that penalty was maybe the second dumbest event of the night.  The first followed soon after when Downing slammed a PSU player in the back of the head -far away from the play- as they were heading off the ice.  Downing was tossed and should miss tomorrow's Championship Game, as well.  Brian had tweeted something about how he had been playing much, much better lately (and I agree), but sometimes old habits...  Not good.  At that point, M was up 5-1 neither penalty was defend-able by any stretch of the imagination.
 
 
BONUS: ODD MAN RUSHES
Another great game for Michigan, concerning OMRs.  I counted four in total.  The first three (despite the third technically being a 4v1 -the other two were 3v2 and 4v2) generated nothing threatening at all: a shot from the wing that Racine saw easily and stopped.  The fourth was a half breakaway on a lob into the offensive end on a Michigan PK that got behind everyone.  Racine was able to steer the attacker wide and reached back to keep the puck from trickling across the line.  Given the first few months of the season, I would take tonight's chances surrendered in most future games.
 

Michigan Hockey15-16, Game #34: Michigan 6, Penn St 1

Michigan Hockey15-16, Game #34: Michigan 6, Penn St 1

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 13th, 2016 at 4:21 PM

**Since Adam and I are doing a rather interesting behind-the-scenes hockey stats project, my access to Michigan Hockey has increased expotentially.  There is still a lot of working out how everything will come together and what it will reveal but we're both pretty excited.  Since we've began to look at some that stuff, I figured it might not be a bad idea to reflect some overall ideas on a per game basis for the Michigan Hockey team.  This may develop, stay remotely similar, or disappear completely.  Hopefully, more of the former.  We'll start with four areas and go from there.**

 

OFFENSE

If you've followed Michigan Hockey this season, there's really not a lot left to describe about this offense.  They generated 57 shots on target, last night, rather evenly throughout the game (18, 22,and 17).  Many of these looks came from dangerous areas: around the crease, in the slot, and inner halves of the faceoff circles.   Kyle Connor had 2 more goals; Boo Nieves also had 2 on Senior Night; Motte, Werenski, and Selman each tallied a couple of assists, as well.  As will be emphasized throughout, Penn State only dressed 16 skaters.  There's no question that this played into Michigan's ability to control play all night long.

 

DEFENSE

As seen by the previous section, Penn State basically had 3 lines and 3 pairings.  Michigan's defense, for the most part, was largely irrelevant.  Scanning the shot charts, there were very few shots even ATTEMPTED at Michigan's net: 60 (25 coming in the 3rd, once the game was out of hand).  Michigan for comparison had 90, with almost 30 per period.  Just glancing at where these attempts came from, maybe only 10 came from threatening areas in the first couple periods.  Penn State is 6th nationally in goals (3.69/game) and averages a shade over 42 shots target/game.  So, to be honest, I think the result was probably a little more due to Penn State's personnel limitations than Michigan's locking them down.  M did have their normal stretch of sloppy defensive play that forced some great saves from Racine (and then Nagelvoort).  

 

GOALTENDING

Again, Penn State threatened very little for the 'in doubt' first 30 or so minutes.  The defense kept most of the threats to the perimeter, aside from a few lapses.  Racine played well in his final game at Yost.  The goal came on a deflection from Cecconi as he was tracking a PSU attacker and crossed Racine's vision.  Tough luck for Racine.  He was great in every other opportunity he was presented with...though there were not a lot of them.  Because of the offensive barrage, Racine was afforded the chance to be ceremoniously taken off for last 12 minutes.  FWIW, Nagelvoort seemed to play well, as Michigan's defense sagged off towards the end of the game.  Nagelvoort made 9 saves in 12 minutes versus Racine's 21 in 48 minutes.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS 

Michigan was phenomenal last night.  3/6 on the power play and 3/3 in their first three attempts.  Once it was 5-1, M had a 5 min PP (due to a red card to Penn State's Ricky DeRosa) and then a 5-on-3 for 2 minutes.  They did not score, but at that point, the game was all but decided. The puck movement from the top line (Werenski, Kile, Motte, Compher, Connor) is just ridiculous.  Its the best I've seen in a long time at Yost.  Maybe the best I've seen?  I know Hensick, Porter, Tambellini, etc had some great ones, as well.  But that was a while ago.  Michigan's PP leads the nation at a 29.5% clip.  Last night, clearly no exception.  On the flip side, Michigan only took 1 penalty and allowed just 1 shot on that penalty kill...and it came from the neutral zone.  Again, Penn State only had three forwards lines.

 

BONUS: Odd Man Rushes

Still in the infancy of deciding how to track these and what to do with them but from what I counted last night: 4 OMRs given up for Michigan.  

  • The first 2 were soft 3v2s that didn't even result in a quality look.
  • The third was Cecconi with an awful centering pass from the blue line that was picked off and Scheid came in on a rush before Martin caught him at the top of the circles.  Racine calmly blocked the shot into the corner.  
  • The fourth was a neutral zone giveaway that left Downing back in a 2v1 but a nice back-check from Warren nullified the opportunity.