Friday, February 26, 2016
#20 Minnesota 3, #6 Michigan 2 (OT)
MARODY GOAL, MICHIGAN
MINN 0 MICH 1 EV 07:18 Assists: Selman
Nieves dumps the puck in so Michigan can change, but Dancs heads in to forecheck. He takes away the passing lane behind the net, so Seeler carries it up the boards and passes across for Glover.
Glover decides he’s going to spring someone with a stretch pass before he looks where he’s passing; he doesn’t see that Selman’s entering the zone through the same lane he plans to use.
Glover digs in to try and start skating backward, and Selman uses that gap to his advantage, passing it through Glover’s legs and giving Marody a one-on-one with Schierhorn.
Marody pulls the puck to his backhand and leaves it there long enough to get Schierhorn to hit the ice. He doesn’t seal the ice, but there’s not enough of a gap to entice Marody to shoot.
Marody instead pulls the puck around Schierhorn, who makes a valiant effort to poke-check the puck away that barely misses.
[After THE JUMP: Tyler Motte’s signature shot, deflections, disappointment]
Lettieri goal, Minnesota
MINN 1 MICH 1 EV 11:00 Assists: Sadek
This play has a pretty innocuous start, with a battle for the puck in the corner ending in it being knocked up the boards and Sadek getting the puck near the blue line.
Sadek swings it to Lettieri, who one-times it. The puck hits Porikos’ skate and changes trajectory.
I’ve drawn lines parallel to the puck before and after it hits Porikos’ skate. Here’s before, with the puck traveling low and parallel to the ice.
And here it is after it has hit the skate, now quickly rising and wobbling.
Racine misses it over his shoulder without making more than a slight stab with the glove to counter it. This puck either really surprised him, or he really whiffed on it.
Bristedt goal, Minnesota
MINN 2 MICH 1 EV 07:17 Assists: Lettieri & Gates
Lettieri wins a battle in the corner and passes ahead to Bristedt, who skates it out of Minnesota’s defensive zone.
Bristedt skates it through the neutral zone, checks where Michigan’s defensemen are and how good their gap control is, and decides his best course of action is to play chip-and-chase.
The puck bounces once in front of Racine, going in over his extended glove. Ooof. I won’t pretend to be a goaltending coach, but it seems like Racine doesn’t track the puck very well here; if he was I’d assume he’d push left instead of trying to use his glove like a shortstop.
MOTTE GOAL, MICHIGAN
MINN 2 MICH 2 EV 17:19 Assists: Connor & Downing
A shot from the point hits bodies in front of the net and slides to the corner, where Seeler has a step on Connor and gains possession.
Seeler flips it up in an attempt to clear the zone, but the puck falls short and bounces off another Minnesota player. Downing picks up the loose puck and passes down to Connor. (In this admittedly unusual case, it paid off for Connor to be a step behind Seeler.)
Connor skates in off the boards and, to the surprise of no one, both defenders freak out. They do an excellent job of taking away the passing lane to Motte, but Connor still finds a way to saucer it over their outstretched sticks.
Motte one-times it, placing a rapidly rising shot just under the crossbar. Schierhorn has no chance at stopping what’s quickly becoming Motte’s signature shot.
Fasching goal, Minnesota
MINN 3 MICH 2 EV 00:57 Assists: Reilly & Novak
Minnesota gets the puck in their defensive zone and passes to the neutral zone, where it’s knocked away. The puck skitters into Michigan’s defensive zone. Nieves goes back to retrieve it, playing it behind the net for Cecconi, who sees Dancs in front of him and makes the short outlet pass.
Dancs moves the blade of his stick to stickhandle the puck before it’s fully settled, and it hops up and over, rolling out of Michigan’s defensive zone and into the neutral zone.
Reilly (I’m pretty sure Reilly and Novak should be switched on the scoresheet) picks up the loose puck near center ice and skates back and laterally to create space and set up a zone entry feed.
Nieves skates out to challenge Reilly, but he’s able to thread a pass through the area in front of Nieves’ left skate and behind his stick. Novak takes the pass and skates to the faceoff circle to Racine’s left.
Fasching, who’s the skater in the last screen cap directly above the word “skater,” has looped through the near half of the neutral zone and is entering Minnesota’s offensive zone when turns to look for a trailer and finds exactly that. Fasching rips a one-timer that beats Racine over his blocker-side shoulder.
From this angle, it looks like Racine’s never quite square to Fasching. He reads the pass from Novak to Fasching but doesn’t push to his right, and it seems like this would hit him high instead of going over his shoulder if he had.
At some point this was going to happen. Over and over again Michigan has been either been in a close game or behind in the third period until their superlative offensive abilities take over and the dam breaks, leaving a stammering goaltender and skittish defensemen in its wake. It happened again on Thursday, with Michigan holding a 2-0 lead entering the third before taking a 6-0 lead after a four-goal deluge in the latter half of the period. On Friday, however, Minnesota Michigan’d Michigan. A 2-2 tie after two periods saw Minnesota with a slight edge in shot attempts (41 vs. 37), but Michigan’s 10 blocked shots held them in the second period and set the stage for another high-tide third period.
Minnesota put up 22 of their 54 shot attempts in the third period, keeping Racine busy. His workload was exacerbated by Michigan’s complete inability to generate shots in the third; Schierhorn only had three shots actually make it on net that period. Even worse, Michigan had one shot attempt below the faceoff dots in the offensive zone the entire period, and it missed the net. That Michigan was able to escape the third period without getting scored on is something of a minor miracle, and though the loss dropped them from the top of the Big Ten standings, looking over the shot charts makes remaining sixth in Pairwise seem almost as lucky as Minnesota’s goals on Friday.
Should we freak out about goaltending? The hot taeks were flyin’ Friday night, with a number of people trashing the team from different angles. One popular approach was to blame Steve Racine, who was excellent Thursday and very good for most of Friday. The first goal he allowed Friday came via a puck deflecting off his teammate’s skate. The other two were frustrating, but I’m not going to jump off the Racine-is-hockey-Rudock train until he’s had two or three games in a row with those types of goals allowed. As it stands I think what happened was just an anomaly, an anomaly that any starter experiences at some point during a season.