So You've Decided to Watch Some Hockey: A Michigan Primer

So You've Decided to Watch Some Hockey: A Michigan Primer

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 19th, 2014 at 11:47 PM


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.

Who to watch on offense:

#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.

And if those guys aren’t on the ice?

#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.

Who to watch on defense:

#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.

And if he isn’t on the ice?

#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.

What about that guy who lets people use composite materials to throw pieces of rubber at him?

#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.

What about the team, the team, the team?


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).

Power play:

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.

Penalty kill:

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.

Tl;dr. What do I really need to know?

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. 

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Northern Michigan at Michigan 3/8/13

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Northern Michigan at Michigan 3/8/13

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 12th, 2013 at 11:20 PM


A cursory glance doesn't reveal many similarities between Michigan basketball and Michigan hockey these days. After all, one team took the court this weekend with a share of the B1G title on the line and fans that lined up something like 22 hours before tip-off. The other team took the ice this weekend with no title on the line and not even a live televised feed of their games. 

Take a closer look, though, and some broad similarities appear. Basketball and hockey are both games of runs. It's just the way the game goes when there are no pre-established offensive and defensive turns. You hit and you'll get hit back. You exert pressure and that pressure will eventually be exerted on you. Michigan basketball ended on the wrong side of a run, suffering a knockout punch that was one part bad luck and two parts missed opportunity. Michgan hockey, on the other hand, survived the inevitable pressure Northern Michign exerted after Michigan took a 3-0 lead.  

A 3-0 first period lead wasn't something the Wolverines could rest on. Too many times this season they've taken an early lead only to be swept away by the undertow of another team's run, late goals and late pressure that were too much to overcome. With their postseason hanging in the balance Michigan responded on Friday, doing what was sufficient and holding serve in the third period to weather the storm and in the process made that dim glimmer of hope we hold that Michigan can extend its NCAA tournament streak to 23 consecutive seasons a little brighter.

1st Period

06:39 Northern 0 Michigan 1: PPG Jon Merrill (2) from Boo Nieves (20) & Phil Di Giuseppe (17)
Merill starts the rush and moves the puck to PDG, who carries the puck down low. Northern is in a basic box on the PK and they move down to compensate for PDG. Norther does do a good job of taking away the pass to the slot, but the vulnerability they open is at the point. By all moving below the dots in the faceoff circle they make it easy for PDG to wheel up the boards and pass it back to Merrill.
Merrill waits for Boo to cycle up and passes it to him above the faceoff circle. It's really Boo that makes this play possible, as he skates to his left and draws the attention of three Northern defenders, two of which move left with him.
Merrill moves laterally back to his right and Boo dishes to him because he has a wiiiiiiiiide open shooting lane. The shot takes bounce off of a Northern player in front of the net to get in, but it finds the back of the net nonetheless.
15:11 Northern 0 Michigan 2: PPG Kevin Lynch (8) from A.J. Treais (13) & Alex Guptill (16) 
Treais has the puck at the point and moves it into the corner to Guptill. Guptill carries up and back down the boards before cutting towards the slot. This draws two defenders and opens up a pass to Copp in the corner.
Guptill's decision to skate into the slot means that the defender who should be covering the point has to collapse on net and cover him, even if only for a second. That same defender has to double back and can't get to the point in time to stop a slapshot from Treais, who just got the puck back on a pass from Copp.
Treais' slapshot is stopped but a huge rebound is kicked out directly to Lynch. He's unchecked and snaps a shot past the goaltender, who can't do much about it since he's already hit the ice. 
18:30 Northern 0 Michigan 3: SH Kevin Lynch (9)
Michigan loses a board battle but it ends up benefitting the Wolverines as the Northern player throws a cross-ice pass to no one. Northern's point man tries to come and chop at the puck to keep it in the zone but Szuma gets to it first and pokes it out of the Michigan zone.
Northern regroups and gathers the puck in front of their bench, but two players run into each other as one goes off for a line change. Lynch sees the opportunity and charges hard, stealing the puck and creating a breakaway.
Lynch fakes the shot and Northern's goalie takes the bait. He then glides through the crease and flicks the puck into the twine abyss available over the goaltender's left pad.
2nd Period
04:57 Northern 1 Michigan 3: Kory Kaunisto (5) from Wade Epp (4) & Jake Johnson (2)
Northern wins an offensive zone draw but Trouba is the first to the puck. He tries to pass behind the net to what momentarily looks like an open man, but he gets hit as he's passing and ends up turning the puck over. I don't fault him for the play Trouba tried to make, as passing behind the net seemed like a better play than blindly passing behind himself.
No Michigan players have skated much since the faceoff. With four defenders around the net and no one covering the point (the closest M player is circled in blue) Northern moves it back to the blueline for what should be a wide open shot.
The puck gets tipped and is redirected past Racine. There's really not much he can do to stop this one.
16:00 Northern 2 Michigan 3: Darren Nowick (6) from Stephan Vigier (14) & Ryan Daugherty (11)
Northern starts their breakout and carry the puck with speed through the neutral zone. As the puck carrier cuts towards the middle of the ice Bennett picks him up, though there are two circle players that could have done so. Bennett should have continued skating backwards in order to cover the front of the net but didn't.
The guy cutting towards the middle passes to the wing, who rips a shot through the Michigan defense.
Racine makes the initial save but gives up a rebound and pays dearly. The guy circled is the one that was able to slip in behind the defense because of Bennett's blown coverage, and he tucks the puck in to narrow Michigan's lead to one.
3rd Period
No scoring

I'll try to get a GBGA of Saturday's game up....sometime. Not sure when, but I'm working on it. Look forward to more pictures, more laughs, and most importantly moooooooooore goals.

(Burke photo cred: Julian Gonzalez, Detroit Free Press)

#13 Michigan v. #8 Notre Dame- GBGA Regular Season Game 10: 11/15/12

#13 Michigan v. #8 Notre Dame- GBGA Regular Season Game 10: 11/15/12

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 16th, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Goal by goal analysis (GBGA) is something I've been doing on my Red Wings blog for a little over a year. The lockout seems like the perfect opportunity to transition to writing about UM, and the series against Notre Dame sounded like a good place to start.

A couple of notes about the images below:

  • Dashed lines indicate something that did not happen but could have. The first screencap from the first goal is a good example of this with a pass that could have been made but wasn't. 
  • Solid lines indicate the action of the play. Shots, passes, or a player's movement can all be indicated with solid arrows.
  • Circles indicate a player integral to the developing play. Also, circles are awesome and fun to use because I don't have to hand draw them.

1st Period


Notre Dame 0 Michigan 1; 04:38- Selman unassisted

Notre Dame controls the puck in their own zone. Michigan has an aggressive forecheck on with two forwards in the defensive zone. Despite the pressure, there is an easy D-to-D pass that the defenseman could make.

He instead chooses to try and thread the puck through the high slot through the two converging Michigan forecheckers. This doesn’t work because duh, and Selman picks off the pass.

Selman is in all alone in the left faceoff circle. He doesn’t deke at all, just carries the puck forward for a second before snapping a shot that beats the ND goaltender over the shoulder blocker side. No dangle-dangling, just a great shot that beats the goaltender cleanly.


2nd Period


Notre Dame 1 Michigan 1; 04:04- SH Voran from Tynan & Taker

ND chips the puck out of the Michigan zone, which allows Michigan’s forwards to go off for a line change. ND has a man high, and the chip pass finds him at the blue line.

The ND forward (Tynan) carries the puck in and has a man trailing (circled in green). Bennett is Michigan’s lone defenseman back, and he starts to position himself in the middle of the slot for the situation that’s unfolding; the goaltender will take the shooter and the defenseman will take away the pass to the trailer.

Patience pays off for the Golden Jofas, as Tynan waits until he sees a gap under Bennett’s stick and passes through it to the right faceoff circle. Voran is ready for the pass and one times a shot past Racine, who was able to push across the crease but had already hit the ice and left the top part of the net exposed. Racine isn’t to blame here, however, as the pass never should have gotten through the crease in the first place.


3rd Period


Notre Dame 2 Michigan 1; 14:22- Rust from Russo

The ND defenseman is trying to get the puck in deep. He takes a slapshot that hits the boards behind the net.

Racine thinks about playing the puck for a split second before he realizes that Rust is going to beat him to the puck. He pulls back but is in poor position to go cross-crease because he turns to look at Rust picking up the puck instead of sliding across and locking down the post.

Rust scores on an easy wrap around. Moffie drops to a knee like he’s going to take away a pass but there is no pass here; he needs to pull his stick around to the other side to try and interrupt Rust’s shot.


Notre Dame 3 Michigan 1; 18:28- Schneider from Johns & DiPauli

Four minutes later, Michigan gets victimized again by a Notre Dame defenseman getting the puck deep (and, in this case, on net).

Racine stops the shot, but he lets a juicy rebound go right to…Mike Chiasson? The puck hits his skate and is redirected into the net. SKATE DERP.

Treais, Moffie, & Bennett named hockey captains

Treais, Moffie, & Bennett named hockey captains

Submitted by lhglrkwg on April 4th, 2012 at 5:10 PM

In other hockey news, AJ Treais, Mac Bennett, and Lee Moffie were just named captains for next season. I suppose this close the door on any lingering questions on Bennett or Moffie leaving for the pro's.

EDIT: As pointed out below, Treais will wear the C. Mac & Lee are the alternates

Nice story on defenseman Mac Bennett moonlighting as a DJ

Nice story on defenseman Mac Bennett moonlighting as a DJ

Submitted by CaptainBlue on March 10th, 2012 at 9:20 AM

As Brian said earlier this week, March means massive Daily profiles, and the second one came out yesterday. This one's on Mac Bennett's music-making.


(Berenson) turned to Bennett.

“What are you studying, Mac?”

“I think I’m going to major in musicology,” Bennett offered.

Then he caught Berenson’s stare.

Bennett’s major, outrageously different from his coach’s business degree, took about 10 seconds for Berenson to process. And when he finally did, he didn’t mince words.

“What the hell is that?”

And here's the profile that went up earlier in the week on Luke Glendening: LINK

Bennett and Pateryn - from

Bennett and Pateryn - from

Submitted by goblueram on July 8th, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Nice litte article from Montreal's website about the two Canadiens prospects.  I particularly enjoyed the end of the article...

"Once they win their championship together in Michigan maize and blue next year, that’s when Bennett and Pateryn will finally start dreaming of patrolling the Montreal blue line together in Habs blue-blanc-rouge."

Go Blue and Go Habs



Michigan Hockey Recruits

Michigan Hockey Recruits

Submitted by WCHBlog on December 3rd, 2008 at 4:03 PM

Brian talked a little bit in Monday's Unverified Voracity about the Michigan hockey team's recruiting class. I've seen most of those kids at least a couple of times, so I figured this would be a good chance for my first ever diary entry, before moving on to future diary entries about my hopes and dreams(tentatively titled, 'Minnesota Drops Athletic Department').

Anyway, for the 2009 class:

A.J. Treais: I would definitely compare Treais to T.J. Hensick in terms of playing style, but not in terms of talent. I could see Treais getting off to a slow start next season, but eventually becoming a nice playmaker for Michigan.

Chris Brown: The comparison to Eric Nystrom is pretty much spot on. Neither is going to score a lot of points unless they get paired up with a superstar, but both play very hard and are solid responsible players. The big difference is that Brown skates better than Nystrom did, and is a little more physical. I'd expect him to get picked somewhere in the second round of the NHL Draft this summer.

Kevin Lynch: He's really tough to get a read on because he plays a really unorthodox style of hockey, and as a result, you'll get a lot of different opinions on his play. Personally, I think he goes a little lower in the draft than most people expect--somewhere in the last couple rounds-- but should have a decent career at Michigan as second or third line-type guy.

I haven't seen Lee Moffie play, but all indications are that he's a pretty solid player. It looks like he's having a really nice year in the USHL, which bodes well for his future. I'd imagine Michigan will look to add another forward or two for next year as well. If you consider that Palushaj is almost guaranteed to leave and that Ciraulo and Glendenning are walk-ons, that leaves Michigan with only 10 scholarship forwards on deck for next year.

The 2010 guys...

Brian is right that at least paper, this looks like a great class of kids. I think it's a stretch, however, to say three kids will go in the top 10 of the draft. Individually...

Jon Merrill: Merrill is the most likely to go in the top 10 of the draft. I haven't seen him play in a while, but he certainly has all the tools to be a big time player.

Luke Moffatt: I go back and forth on Moffatt all the time. I think his style of play is more suited for faster, tighter checking games like the NCAA and pro level. He's not much of a dangler, which makes him look unimpressive against less-polished competition, but he's very strong on the puck and can make quick decisions, which will serve him well later on. He's not off to a great start this year with the NTDP, but a lot of great players struggled until about Christmastime in their first year at the NTDP, and then really took off. It's tough to tell where he'll end up in the 2010 draft. It could be really high or really low. He'd be the biggest concern about never making it to Michigan. I'd say the chances of him wearing a Michigan jersey are about 50/50.

Kevin Clare: He's just a rock on defense. I'm not sure that he has the superstar potential the same way Merrill does, but he should be a very strong player. I could see him going late in the first round of the draft two years from now.

As a side note, every year, the NTDP likes to call up a couple guys from the U17 team to play for the U18 team at the end of the year, and these three guys would all be among the top candidates.

Jack Campbell: He's incredibly talented. A lot can change for goalies between the ages of 16 and 20, so nothing is a guarantee, but he certainly looks like a gem. I have no clue where he rates for the 2010 draft, since it's still way too early to evaluate goalies much.

Mac Bennett: He's kind of flying under the radar right now, but I think fans will really like him. He should be a pretty high draft pick this summer, and could step in and play for Michigan next year if he were done with high school. He's one of the most poised defenseman I've ever seen and is a great skater.

Jacob Fallon: He's another kid that is flying under the radar, but could end up being one of the most valuable players in this class. He's an excellent passer, and the NTDP has really tried to put him in the playmaker role this year. I think he has the tools to become a more all-around scorer though. He lacks prototypical pro size which means he'll probably get drafted fairly late, and should keep him at Michigan for a number of years.

It's nice to see Michigan really loading up on players born in 1992 for the 2010 class, because the group of kids for the 2011 recruiting class is looking fairly weak, and there might not be as many options.