Friday, February 19, 2016
#6 Michigan 5, Ferris State 2
MOTTE GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 1 FSU 0 EV 05:48 Assists: De Jong & Compher
Michigan capitalizes on a Ferris State defensive-zone turnover as De Jong picks off a pass that’s flung up the boards.
De Jong settles the puck and sees Motte cutting to the middle of the ice. He threads a pass through a fraction of a second before the passing lane is cut off by the Ferris State skater near the blue line.
Motte gets the puck and surveys his options. With Connor in front of his defender and screening, and with the defender in front of him giving a big gap and getting ready to attempt to block a shot, Motte decides his best option is to take a stride and shoot.
Motte releases a shot through the defender’s legs, and the puck goes through the goaltender’s five-hole before he can butterfly. Connor sliding in front certainly helps, but so does having one of the quickest releases in the country.
[After THE JUMP: Some very gif-able goals]
KILE GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 2 FSU 0 EV 12:17 Assists: Connor & Marody
Marody loads up and releases what was supposed to be a pass to a cutting Connor, but the puck his Dorantes and loops into the air.
The puck still reaches its intended target, as Connor gloves the puck and plays it ahead to himself.
Connor skates behind the net and through Dorantes’ outstretched stick, eventually attempting a wraparound that Smith stops.
The lone defenseman in front of the net is locked up with another Michigan skater, and this leaves Kile all alone to clean up a rebound that falls right in front of him. Kile flips is over Smith’s right pad.
Babinski goal, Ferris State
UM 2 FSU 1 PPG 10:38 Assists: McDonald & Robertson
Ferris State carries through the neutral zone and into their offensive zone with ease. Robertson carries the puck in fairly deep (which draws two defenders) before slamming on the brakes, turning, and playing it back to McDonald at the blue line.
McDonald has a second or two to spare, but he decides that he’ll take his chances at the puck being deflected by one of his two teammates in the slot and fires a slapshot.
Remember when I mentioned that Robertson’s drive drew two defenders? That comes back to haunt Michigan, as Werenski was one of those two who converged on him. Without Werenski in front of the net, Cecconi is left to handle two Ferris State players by himself. He isn’t able to move either, though he makes an effort to shove Babinski out of the way after he’s already deflected the puck past Racine.
CONNOR GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 3 FSU 1 PPG 12:57 Assists: Compher & Kile
Ferris State turns the puck over in their offensive zone, and Motte takes it through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. He moves it to Kile, who moves it to Connor. Connor fakes a pass toward the blue line, freezing the defender nearest him. This leads to the netfront defender rushing Connor; with one move he’s pulled four defenders to his side of the ice.
Kile’s very aware of the shift, and he wastes no time moving the puck to Compher. The defense again must adjust, with two guys shifting toward Compher.
Compher shoots from the area he’s at in the above screen cap. The shot is stopped, but the rebound goes to the most opportune area; Connor’s behind the defense, and the weakside defenders don’t notice he’s there until it’s too late to alter his shot.
Connor fires, and you can see that between one defender spinning and diving and Smith in the middle of a T-push there’s no chance this is getting stopped.
WERENSKI GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 4 FSU 1 EV 01:30 Assists: Cecconi
McDonald executes a nice breakout, and the result is Cecconi staring down a two-on-two chance in his defensive zone. He swipes at the puck and knocks it away; it takes one more chop and the skater’s momentum carrying him over the puck, but Cecconi eventually gains possession and executes a great breakout of his own.
Cecconi’s pass bounces off the boards at the near blue line and is picked up by Werenski, who carries into the offensive zone with a defender draped all over him. At this point he’s got a stick across his arms, but he manages to skate through it.
McDonald swims around Werenski and gets his stick on his other side, but Werenski somehow manages to fire a perfect backhander to the top far-side corner. This is one of those goals I would have made a vine of if I wasn’t making gifs.
CONNOR GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 5 FSU 1 EV 09:06 Assists: Marody & Motte
Motte tries a stretch pass that ends up being a turnover, which is then turned over on a pass that’s an attempted zone entry feed, which Motte ends up gathering near center ice. He gains the offensive zone and flips a saucer pass to Marody.
Marody picks up the pass behind his body, pulls it through his skates, and turns. Connor is the blur in the slot, and he’s started to pull away from his defender.
Connor somehow one-times it with precision, hitting the open side of the net. Smith had not chance to push across here.
A. Dorantes goal, Ferris State
UM 5 FSU 2 EV 16:23 Assists: VanWormer & T.Dorantes
This is about a mundane a start as you’ll see this year. Dorantes carries the puck from in front of the crease to the faceoff circle before launching a stretch pass up the boards.
The puck hits VanWormer and goes airborne, launching itself into Ferris State’s offensive zone.
Dorantes just happens to be in the zone and near where the puck lands. He picks up the puck and loads up his shot.
Racine butterflys, and it looks like the puck beats him six-hole. Not a great goal to give up considering the amount of time he had to read this, but at least it came in a low-impact situation.
- There were too many defensive-zone turnovers and the shot chart looked like someone spilled ink around the crease, and yet this game never felt that close (even when Ferris was within a goal). Part of that is due to Steve Racine, who has been excellent with very few exceptions since returning from injury. The rest is due to the offense, which had one of those nights where crisp passing in the offensive zone led to easy goals. Outside of the offensive zone, though, there were some attempted stretch passes that became turnovers that you’d like to see cleaned up. When those stretch passes connect they’re things of beauty, and when they don’t they make you palm your forehead. At least it’s more fun to watch than constant trapping. (I fully expect that, because I just had to go and say that, I’ll soon find myself pleading for Michigan to stop trying to create and just constantly trap in the name of all that’s holy and for the sake of the blood pressures of everyone in the greater Ann Arbor area.)
- Kyle Connor leads the nation in points with 51, JT Compher is third with 45, and Tyler Motte is fourth with 44; Motte leads the nation in goals with 28, while Compher leads the nation in assists with 34. What’s most impressive to me is that they’re doing this at even strength; New Hampshire’s Andrew Poturalski is second in the country with 48 points, but 22 of his points have come on the power play. Compare that to Connor (13), Compher (12), and Motte (9). I’ve never seen anything like this. And they’ve only been playing together since the beginning of December!
- Go read Brian’s column. Now. The only thing I can add isn’t so much an addition as a tangent, and that’s about the defenseman-as-fourth-liner thing. I wouldn’t be opposed to putting Werenski there. Look at what he does in the offensive zone (there’s a good example above); there’s so much potential that I see almost no downside to trying it out for a game. You can still play him on the power play, and his spot on the second pairing with Cecconi is a good fit for Cutler Martin.