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.
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
TITUL SEZ IT AWL!
Hockey news. I don't believe any other UM players or commits are going to the tournament, but correct me if I'm wrong.
Below is the entire camp roster. I'm not sure when the team is supposed to be finalized.
NHl Central Scouting released their 2015 NHL Futures List (people to keep an eye on this year). Michigan is kinda-sorta leading with 6ish commits on the list. The 'ish' being because Zach Werenski is yet to be officially on the team though he's semi-officially committed.
Slightly modified table via SBNCollegeHockey:
|Position||2013-14 Team||College Commitment|
|Cameron Hughes||C||Spruce Grove Saints||Wisconsin '14|
|Chase Pearson||C||Cornwall Colts||Uncommitted|
|Taggart Corriveau||RW||Westminster Prep||St. Lawrence '16|
|Karch Bachman||C||Culver Military Academy||Miami '15|
|Sam Miletic||LW||Cranbrook-Kingswood||Michigan '15|
|Brock Boeser||RW||Burnsville||Wisconsin '15|
|Matthew Freytag||LW||Wayzata||Wisconsin '15|
|Jack McNeely||D||Lakeville North||Nebraska-Omaha '15|
|Tom Novak||LW||St. Thomas Academy||Minnesota '15|
|Jack Sadek||D||Lakeville North||Uncommitted|
|A.J. Greer||LW||Kimball Union||Boston University '14|
|Frederic Foulem||G||Stanstead College||Harvard '16|
|Dennis Gilbert||D||Buffalo Jr. Sabres||Niagara '15|
|Chris Birdsall||G||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||Boston College '15|
|Nick Boka||D||USNTDP U-17||Michigan '15|
|Jeremy Bracco||RW||USNTDP U-17||Boston College '15|
|Kyle Connor||C||USNTDP U-18||Michigan '15|
|Tory Dello||D||Tri-City Storm||Notre Dame '15|
|Jack Eichel||C||USNTDP U-18||Boston University '14|
|Christian Fischer||C||USNTDP U-17||Notre Dame '15|
|Casey Fitzgerald||D||USNTDP U-17||Boston College '15|
|Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson||D||Omaha Lancers||Uncommitted|
|Brent Gates||C||Green Bay Gamblers||Notre Dame '15|
|Jordan Greenway||LW||USNTDP U-17||Boston University '15|
|Noah Hanifin||D||USNTDP U-17/18||Boston College '14|
|Cooper Marody||C||Muskegon Lumberjacks||Michigan '15|
|Ivan Provorov||D||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||Uncommitted|
|Brendan Warren||LW||USNTDP U-17||Michigan '15|
|Zach Werenski||D||USNTDP U-17||Michigan '14|
|Colin White||RW||USNTDP U-17||Boston College '15|
|John Marino||D||South Shore Kings||Yale '15|
Generally speaking, Boka, Connor, and Werenski are all viewed as potential 1st round picks next year. Warren, Marody, and Miletic are probably early to mid round guys and Cecconi may be drafted as well. Should be an awesome recruiting class for us as long as the OHL is fended off successfully.
The BU-BC rivalry should be awesome this year as BU has potential #1 overall pick Jack Eichel and BC has likely the #1 defenseman in the draft (and top 5 overall) in Noah Hanifin. Eichel's the likely Hobey winner in my opinion. I can't recall college hockey having so many really elite talents in a single class.
Edit: Oops. Somehow completely missed that Cooper Marody was on the list.
I'm not sure this counts as 100% reliable but given the previous rumblings and the twitter below, Zach Werenski appears to have committed to Michigan's 2014 hockey class
Per a reliable source, NTDP dman Zach Werenski has committed to Michigan. Was a target. Ugh.— BC Hockey Blog (@bchockeyblog1) June 6, 2014
As I mentioned in the previous thread when the first rumor popped up, Werenski is unanimously projected as top 10-15 NHL draft pick for 2015. That would put him comfortably in Jacob Trouba territory and the 5* category. If true, it's a big boost for our D-corps as he should be an instant impact guy, although I do believe he's coming in young. The original rumor said he was graduating high school early to get to A2.
He'd join fellow (2014) projected first rounder Dylan Larkin in this years class. For the 2015 draft class (which Werenski is in), we've also got commitments from Kyle Connor (proj. mid-1st) and Brendan Warren (proj. 2nd). A lot of great talent coming in in these next two classes.
FWIW, the website OTB ranked Werenski as their #1 uncommitted college prospect this past fall:
1. 97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17 – 6’1 – 206 Versatile, elite defenseman has a pro build and serious mobility. Regarded as one of the USA’s top defense prospects, Werenski is the full package both offensively as well as in his own end. Built out of a franchise defenseman mold and could very well be a one-and-done should he make it to college - London of the OHL own Werenski’s major junior rights.
Throughout the spring, Michael Spath of The Wolverine has been dropping hints that US NTDP U17 defenseman Zach Werenski could be accelerating his final year of high school in order to play for Michigan next season. Today, Spath posted another update, and it appears that plan is coming closer to fruition:It's a paperwork issue. He needs some documents from his HS in terms of fast-tracking to a degree this summer in order to sign a letter of intent with U-M. Everyone involved expects that to get done. Hoping to talk to the young man today or tomorrow.Werenski was a bit overshadowed on the U17 blue line this past season by Noah Hanifin, who is projected as a potential top 5 draft pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, but Werenski himself is projected as a mid-first rounder in 2015 as well.
(FWIW, Spath edited his original post but it still says "Have it on good authority that the defensive recruit is going to drop for Michigan")
Looks like this would be a big step toward addressing the fairly well known issues on the blueline for this upcoming season. Freshmen are freshmen, but Werenski is a projected mid-first rounder and should be a pretty solid player.
For comparison's sake here are other 1st round defensemen that have come through our doors lately:
JMFJ - 3rd, 2005
Jacob Trouba - 8th, 2012
Mark MItera - 19th, 2006
Chris Summers - 29th, 2006
Jon Merrill - 38th, 2010 (2nd round)
This guy would be a proverbial 5 star for college hockey. He'd be a significant grab in any year, but would be especially big for this coming season.