Friday, March 4th, 2016
#6 Michigan 4, Ohio State 7
COMPHER GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 1 OSU 0 PPG 03:41 Assists: Motte & Connor
Connor picks up a loose puck along the boards and gets hit. Both players spin for the puck, with their blades connecting at the same time. The puck rolls ahead, and Connor gains possession again.
Connor somehow pulls the puck across the defender’s face in the tightest of spaces, and he then throws a backhanded pass to Motte.
Motte catches it on his backhand and stickhandles for a few seconds to buy time. With only one defender low, he just has to wait for someone to head toward the net to create a 2-on-1. He sees Compher skating in, and the defender seems to as well: he drops his stick to take away the passing lane and seems to do a pretty good job until Motte fires a pass that somehow gets under the stick.
The puck’s already off Compher’s stick and Frey’s halfway to getting across to square to Compher. That’s not going to work.
Frey sees that the puck’s rising and going away from the direction that he is, so he tries to jump off his right leg and stick out his left pad and glove. He misses, but when you’re already sliding across the crease and the puck’s headed to the far side, might as well try a Karate Kid stop on the off chance one of the flailing limbs gets a piece of the puck.
[After THE JUMP: It kind of felt like a four-goal shutout]
KILE GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 2 OSU 0 EV 08:21 Assists: Dancs & Nieves
Michigan breaks the puck out of their zone and Nieves carries through the neutral zone. He dishes to Dancs near center ice. Nieves draws the attention of the two defensemen as he splits them, and Dancs surveys for a passing opportunity.
One of the two defenders in the frame above has carried Nieves toward the front of the net while the other is stepping up to cover Dancs; there won’t be a clean passing lane to Nieves. Kile, though, has just entered the zone and is coming across the top in perfect position to take a pass from Dancs.
Kile’s defender is a step behind, and though he starts to close he can’t do so before Kile shoots. It’s a long shot through little traffic, and it looks like Frey sees the puck prior to the shot.
Kile rips a shot that beats Frey high; as the description of the last screen cap implies, this looked like a routine shot that Frey didn’t track well.
Joshua goal, Ohio State
UM 2 OSU 1 EV 09:43 Assists: Parran & Kearney
As was far too often the case Friday, this whole thing starts off of an Ohio State dump-in that resulted in forechecking pressure and Michigan being unable to clear the zone because of turnovers forced by said pressure.
Kearney has the puck behind the net and reverses course, which keeps Boka off of him enough to make a play. He throws the puck to the front of the net hoping for a redirected shot, but there’s no one in the slot.
The puck rolls safely to Parran, who is able to get a shot on net thanks to Miller speeding through the zone on an angle; he walls off both Michigan skaters by cutting in front of them.
Parran’s shot hits Werenski in the ankle and he collapses (he returned to the game), which means Michigan’s lone netfront defender is now in a heap. Boka (circled) turns to track the shot and help in front, but he misses Miller skating to the front of the net.
The puck drops to the ice after hitting Werenski’s ankle, and Joshua is standing immediately behind it. He chips it in as Racine tries to close his pads. (At least, I think; there’s only this camera angle and it’s hard to tell.) Boka’s in terrible position to impede him in any way, which is entirely expected since he’s having to panic-cover Werenski’s guy and is at a huge disadvantage considering puck and player placement.
Healey goal, Ohio State
UM 2 OSU 2 EV 14:01 Assists: Parran & Lundey
Lundey wins a faceoff and the puck rolls back to Parran, who immediately passes laterally to Healey.
Healey wastes no time, ripping a one-timer on net while he has the advantage of a screen in front. The shot stays low, skimming the ice on its way to Racine.
It’s hard to tell with only one angle, but it looks like this puck either goes wide of the screener and beats Racine under his arm (six hole), or it goes through the screener’s legs and beats Racine between his legs (five hole).
Wiitala goal, Ohio State
UM 2 OSU 3 PPG 19:43 Assists: Jobst & Weis
OSU starts by going D-to-D at the blue line, then passing down the right wing to Jobst. Jobst skates to the middle of the faceoff circle and moves the puck through the Michigan defense to Wiitala.
Wiitala spins and the puck comes off his stick. It’s tough to judge intentionality here, as it seems equally likely that he’s trying the cross-crease pass to Greco as the puck just coming off his stick as he turns.
Regardless, the puck hits Downing’s skate and conveniently bounces directly back to Wiitala, and just as Racine has start to open his pads to slide over to cover the net to his right.
Racine stops, digs in, and kicks out his right leg pad, but Wiitala slips the puck five-hole.
Miller goal, Ohio State
UM 2 OSU 4 EV 08:35 Assists: Larocque
Boka chips the puck off the glass to clear the zone but it only gets to about center ice. (Still, in this game a clear of any kind was a pretty big deal.) Ohio State gains possession as Larocque throws a pass ahead that doesn’t connect with anyone, instead hitting the boards.
And yet, somehow, Miller picks the puck up off the bounce as if the pass was intended to ricochet, and he carries down the wing. It turns out this is inconsequential, but Boka’s doing a nice job tying up Joshua in front.
Miller has plenty of space to shoot because Werenski played it like a 2-on-1 and took away the passing lane. It’s not a terrible decision since Boka closes the gap and locks up Joshua fairly late in the process of this goal. Racine hits the ice and the shot beats him over his near-side shoulder.
Kearney goal, Ohio State
UM 2 OSU 5 EV 08:57 Assists: Miller
Ohio State wins a defensive-zone faceoff, plays it into the neutral zone, and smacks the puck off the boards and into Michigan’s defensive zone. Miller wins a race to the corner for the loose puck, sweeping it ahead to himself.
He picks the puck back up here…
The puck falls straight down, and it looks like it’s crossed the line.
Just in case there was any doubt, Kearney (to whom the official scorers obviously credited the goal) decides to stop celebrating and skate in after the puck that’s just sitting there.
Downing tries to clear the puck but slips and falls, and Kearney picks up the loose puck and snaps it in.
Brevig goal, Ohio State
UM 2 OSU 6 PPG 19:09 Assists: Weis & Schilkey
Ohio State breaks out of their own zone with Healey passing to Weis in the neutral zone, who chips the puck ahead. Wiitala picks it up and skates low enough in the zone that both Werenski and Compher are thinking pass and defend as such. Wiitala does pass, but it bounces away from Gust and to the corner.
Schilkey gets to the loose puck first and passes up the boards to Weis. Weis holds and surveys for a second, but Brevig’s already begging for a one-timer.
Brevig gets the shot he wanted, but Motte has filled the shooting lane. This was the kind of weekend where that didn’t matter, however, as I’m almost positive the puck hits Motte, changes flight path, drops, and beats Nagelvoort five-hole.
CALDERONE GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 3 OSU 6 EV 01:40 Assists: Marody
Ohio State attempts to clear the zone and fails, as Martin knocks the puck down at the blue line and sends it behind the net for Marody. Marody gets hit before he can get to the puck, but Calderone gets there and flips it into the air for Marody. He tries to skate to the slot, but as he turns around he’s under siege.
Stork lifts Marody’s stick and the puck slides away, and Ohio State regains possession.
That possession doesn’t last long. Calderone swings his stick around and lifts the OSU skater’s, and there’s a loose puck that Calderone’s moving toward while momentum is carrying others away.
Calderone gets a free grade-A opportunity and buries it to Frey’s left as he gets into his butterfly.
CALDERONE GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 4 OSU 6 PPG 14:05 Assists: Marody & Selman
We’ll pick up this play just after Downing as fired a slap shot that missed and Selman gets shoved into the net, rocking it forward but not off its moorings. This causes some distraction, and Marody is able to pick up the puck unimpeded and head behind the net.
Marody sees a nice, very open shot opportunity on the wing if he passes, so he does. Dalrymple has cut off the passing lane, however, and the puck bounces off of his stick and to the corner.
Marody wins the race to the loose puck in the corner, carries up the boards, and reverses it for Selman.
Selman’s looking for where he wants to move the puck, and Calderone’s a pretty good option. Marody, though, has come off the boards and gone over the top of the defender (who has turned to watch Selman). He’s about to get open, Selman reads this, and he decides that’s where he’ll move the puck.
Both defenders lunge toward Marody as he takes possession of the pass, and the low defender quickly realizes that Calderone is now open and about to receive a pass. Frey digs in and tries to get across, but Calderone’s one-timer beats him.
Gerard goal, Ohio State
UM 4 OSU 7 EN 18:48 Assists: None
The icing that led to the Healey goal is the entire night in microcosm; a panicked pass, a read of pressure that wasn’t as close as it appeared, a decision made a few feet short, a flat-out mistake. The difference between Michigan chasing down a puck off a dump-and-chase and settling in for a defensive zone faceoff is the difference between where the skater is in the photo and the placement of the vertical blue line. There were times Friday night where Michigan seemed to stop looking for outlet passes and started just slapping at the puck, hoping that it would be cleared from the zone without thinking one or two steps ahead.
The problem with that is two-fold. First, by trying to clear the zone and not set up an outlet pass to a teammate you’re resigning yourself to maybe getting the puck to the neutral zone and occasionally, but rarely, the offensive zone on a lucky bounce. That sets up more battles and races for loose pucks, and Michigan’s not great at coming out on the winning end of those battles. Second, by not passing to a teammate you’re putting a cap on offensive output. Michigan’s defensemen and forwards seem to read forechecking pressure either too early or too late; if they could exit the defensive zone in one or two passes they’d set themselves up for even more offensive zone time, a scary prospect for opponents considering how good they are at that end of the rink.