If this is Goodbye, then thank you for our program [Patrick Barron]
If this is Goodbye, then thank you for our program [Patrick Barron]
BIG TEN CHAMPS [Patrick Barron]
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.
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]
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.
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.
This happened a lot (Patrick Barron)
The 2016 Hobey Baker Finalists were announced today, and not surprisingly, all three of Tyler Motte, Kyler Connor, and JT Compher were selected.
This is the first time all members of a complete line have all been named finalists, is only the third time ever that three members of the same time have been selected as finalists (it has been awarded 36 times), and is the first time since 2000 that it has happened (Boston College).
Michigan was the first team to achieve this feat. In 1994 David Oliver, Steve Shields, and Brian Wiseman were all chosen.
The Hobey Hat Trick (final three) will be selected later in March, and the winner is chosen in early April.
From the Big Ten office:
The Big Ten Conference announced the hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Monday as selected by the conference’s coaches and a media panel. Michigan’s Kyle Connor was named Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year, while also earning Scoring Champion honors. Michigan’s Zach Werenski was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, which is awarded to a defenseman or forward. Minnesota goaltender Eric Schierhorn was named the Goaltender of the Year and Wolverines’ head coach Red Berenson was selected as the Coach of the Year.
Connor was tabbed Player and Freshman of the Year and Scoring Champion after leading the conference with 43 points and 22 goals in conference play. The freshman averaged a conference-leading 2.15 points per game in conference action to pace an offense that led all Big Ten schools with 5.35 goals per game in conference contests. Connor also led the conference with seven goals and 12 points on the power play in Big Ten games.
Werenski was named Defensive Player of the Year after leading all Big Ten defensemen with 18 points and 14 assists in conference games. Nine of his points came on the power play, tallying three goals and six assists on the man advantage to lead all Big Ten defensemen in conference contests. The Wolverines finished second in the conference in scoring defense in Big Ten play...
Berenson won Coach of the Year honors after leading Michigan to a 22-7-5 overall record and a 12-5-3-2 conference mark. The Wolverines earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament.
Connor, Schierhorn and Werenski were joined on the All-Big Ten first team by Michigan’s JT Compher and Tyler Motte and Ohio State’s Josh Healey, with Connor being a unanimous selection.
I always held the Porter-Kolarik-Pacioretty line as the gold standard of Michigan lines but the CCM line is truly on another level:
Note that Kyle Connor has nearly matched Porter's production on 9 fewer games and the CCM line has 5 more points than Porter's line on less games played. Connor is a lock for the Hobey
Michigan hockey player and noteworthy American JT Compher was injured again blocking a shot again at the World Juniors.
Compher was hurt blocking a shot during a late 5-on-3 penalty kill. His left hand and thumb were heavily wrapped when he arrived at the rink for the United States' game Thursday against Finland.
USA Hockey would not reveal the full nature of the injury.
"We got him looked at and we'll leave it at that for now," Jim Johansson, the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and the general manager of the United States for 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, told NHL.com.
No word yet on if this will hold him out to start our season but that doesn't sound particularly good.
When: June 2nd, 6pm
Where: Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. 540 N. Michigan Avenue
Cost: $40 for Alumni members, $55 for non-members
The Coaches Tour returns to Chicago June 2nd. Enjoy a night out with fellow Alumni as Brady Hoke, Red Berenson, LaVall Jordan and other speakers discuss 2013 and their plans for the 2014-2015 seasons. A silent auction will take place at the end of the night.
YES DO MORE THINGS THAT MAKE PEOPLE STAND UP IN FRONT OF YOUUUUU
So you’ve turned your calendar to March and watched some snow melt (finally), and your mind has naturally turned to brackets and the anxiety that goes hand-in-hand with single elimination contests. If you’ve thought about single elimination games that involve ice and rubber spheres instead of hardwood and rubber spheres then we’re on the same page.
At 3pm on Thursday Michigan plays Penn State, the lowest seeded team in the Big Ten Tournament and the team that has given Michigan more problems than first-ranked (in the nation) Minnesota. If Michigan wins, there’s a 96% chance they make the NCAA Tournament. If they lose, that drops to 40-50%. Pretty straightforward and terrifying.
If this is the first hockey game you’ve watched or just the first one you’ve watched this season then this guide’s for you. Think of this as a time investment. If you read it and Michigan wins on Thursday then you’re all set for the NCAA Tournament! If you read it and they don’t win then you must be some sort of human jinx, please don’t watch the basketball team.
#17 JT Compher, C, FR/#18 Andrew Copp, C, SO
I couldn’t split these two up and put one in the category below because they jointly set the tempo for Michigan. Both are going to forecheck hard enough to create offense, though they can create off the cycle as well. Both of these guys have the mindset of a third-line center with the hands and hockey IQ of a first-liner.
#27 Alex Guptill, LW, JR
Put the puck on his stick and he’s a potential NHLer. Take the puck away from him and, uh, results may vary. He was a healthy scratch once this year essentially because he was putting in zero effort on the defensive end, but he’s since rebounded. He’s not going to win any awards for “best defensive forward,” but he has an incredible ability to move with the puck in tight spaces and keep it away from defenders.
#37 Mac Bennett, D, SR
This isn’t supposed to be a slight to the other defensemen but actually yeah, it’s kind of a slight to the other defensemen; Bennett is the only one that doesn’t make me nervous when he’s on the ice. He’s a senior, but more important is that he’s made strides in terms of playing a simpler, more balanced game. He’s a calming influence on a very, very young d-corps who knows when to rush the puck and how not to turn it over in the defensive zone as much as the other defensemen.
#22 Andrew Sinelli, D, JR
He used to be a forward but the transition may be the best thing that’s ever happened to him during his time at Michigan. Sinelli will need to continue to work on little things like gap control, but he’s got the skating ability to hang with most anyone. He’s been really impressive since switching positions mid-season.
#35 Zach Nagelvoort, G, FR
Since Compher came in with considerable hype I’d say Nagelvoort is the real surprise contributor this season. He wasn’t supposed to be playing this season, but an injury to starter Steve Racine pushed him into the lineup and he hasn’t relinquished that spot since. Nagelvoort likes to handle the puck near his net and has a very good glove hand. His positioning is very good and he stays square to shooters. Hard to ask for more than that from a freshman.
Coin flip. Averaging 3.12 goals/game is good enough for 20th in the nation, but which offense shows up is anyone’s guess. They can hang six on anyone in the nation or they can score one, and they’ve done both against great and terrible competition respectively.
Coin flip. They’re giving up 2.56 goals/game, which again places them 20th in the nation. Some nights they look unstoppable (see last Saturday’s game against Minnesota) and some nights they look beyond confused (see the entire Great Lakes Invitational).
Michigan has scored on 26 of their 129 opportunities (20.16%). This places them 17th in the nation, with the caveat being that every team ahead of them has had more power play chances. They’ve looked better in recent weeks as Luke Moffat has emerged as a legitimate special teams scoring threat. Eight of his 13 goals have come on the power play, so watch for #9 when Michigan has the man advantage.
While it’s not the worst in the nation, it’s the team’s weak spot when considering that they’re ranked somewhere around 20th in the nation in all other team scoring categories. Michigan has killed 105 of 129 penalties (81.4%), which ties them for 35th nationally with American International, which is a school that I did not know existed until I just wrote it down.
Michigan has to beat Penn State if they want to make the NCAA Tournament and start The Streak™ over. We don’t know which version of Michigan will show up; it will either be the team that can beat anyone in the nation or it will be the team that gifted Penn State two of its three B1G wins.
Michigan takes on the Badgers at Yost looking for a home sweep. Nic Kerdiles is not expected to play for Wisconsin. The game is on NBCSN
The final cut has been made to the World Junior roster; it's Tyler Motte. Motte played well against Minnesota State, but reportedly battled injuries and did not play in either exhibition in Sweden.
JT Compher was cut prior to the team leaving for Sweden; Andrew Copp is an alternate captain.