Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Penn State- Part 1 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 14th, 2016 at 3:43 PM

Friday, March 11, 2016

#9 Michigan 7, #14 Penn State 1

1st period

Sturtz goal, Penn State

UM 0 PSU 1 EV 02:25 Assists: Glen & Goodwin

The puck’s careening around the defensive zone when Cecconi comes to close to gathering it, but a Penn State skaters swipes at it and knocks it toward the net. Sturtz fires a backhander that misses, hits the boards, and travels toward the top of the zone.

psu fri 1-1

As all of the Michigan defenders in the frame gravitate toward the puck, Sturtz slips in behind the defense and heads for the front of the net. Juha carries up the boards for a split second before dropping the puck back for Goodwin.

psu fri 1-2

Connor carries Juha to the top of the zone, so Compher comes over to the wall to cover Goodwin. This opens the middle of the ice, and Glen notices; he cuts underneath Motte and gets himself ready to receive a pass off the wall. Both defensemen step forward once he gets the puck, and no one sees that Sturtz is in Racine’s face.

psu fri 1-3

Goodwin releases a really strong shot without anyone close enough to alter it, and Sturntz, who’s still unchecked, tips it in.

psu fri 1-4


UM 1 PSU 1 EV 15:14 Assists: Compher

Juha sees that the forechecking pressure is soft, and he has time to think through his next move before passing. He decides his best outlet is up the boards, but his pass misses Kerr and is intercepted by Compher.

psu fri 2-1

Compher immediately dishes to Connor, who is cutting underneath Kerr. All three PSU skaters in the area jump in to defend Connor; he manages to outskate them all.

psu fri 2-2

Connor stickhandles once—just once!—and it causes McAdam to almost hit the ice. It seems almost like his muscle memory led him to do so, because he immediately bounces up and tries to push to his right. That’s the Kyle Connor Effect; he doesn’t even make a true move and goalies are worried to the point they’re getting themselves out of position before Connor’s even attempting to shoot. Look at Connor and you can see that this shot doesn’t come off a huge windup; he’s basically going to shovel the puck on net, but his release is quicker and stronger from that position than most everyone else’s in the nation.

psu fri 2-3

McAdam essentially falls over himself trying to do the aforementioned get-up-lateral-push-butterfly-again move.

psu fri 2-4

[If you don’t hit THE JUMP you’ll miss more Connor insanity and you’re smart, you wouldn’t do that]

2nd period


UM 2 PSU 1 EV 05:38 Assists: Marody & Warren

Penn State again has trouble breaking the puck out of their own zone. The pass hits a skate here and skitters ahead.

psu fri 3-1

Warren comes screaming in and, though he can’t gain possession of the puck, he’s able to smother it. Now the puck’s just sitting there, waiting for someone to gain possession.

psu fri 3-2

That someone is Marody, who picks it up and wastes no time throwing the puck across the a very open Calderone. [Note: I know I usually use blue arrows for Michigan but Penn State’s other color is white, and if I used that you wouldn’t know whether I bothered to draw on the screen caps.]

psu fri 3-3

It looks to me like McAdam’s got too much weight on his left side and is too far that direction. It could just be the angle, but Calderone’s clearly cutting across the front of the crease to McAdam’s right, yet he’s leaving room to that side.

psu fri 3-4

Calderone puts the puck on his backhand and McAdam tries to push to cover that side, but in the process he leaves a five-hole that’s too inviting to pass up. I mean, that thing’s like a Michigan pothole in spring.

psu fri 3-5

3rd period


UM 3 PSU 1 PPG 00:30 Assists: Compher & Werenski

Few things are as dangerous as Connor on the power play. He fakes like he’s going to carrying down the boards, which freezes the defender on him. He then turns back and takes a stride toward the blue line.

psu fri 4-1

You can see in the screen cap above that Kile’s being bodied up by a defender. That guy let’s Kile skate past and head for the front of the net and decides to pressure Connor’s pass to Werenski at the point. The problem for him is that he doesn’t get a piece of the puck, and now he’s high enough in the zone that he has to loop back to get in position. Also, Kile has now become the low responsibility of the defender who was previous on Connor.

psu fri 4-2

Werenski passes to Compher, and Connor realizes that he needs to skate into the area between the two defenders and wait for a pass that’s very likely coming with one defender on Kile and the other momentarily out of the play.

psu fri 4-3

Aaaaand there it is. The defender circled below can’t cheat toward Connor because Kile’s just as viable an option to receive Compher’s pass. The defender who rolled the dice and attacked the pass to the point is still out of the play, and that’s going to burn Penn State. Connor’s ready for the one-timer, and McAdam…is not.

psu fri 4-4

As I was saying…

psu fri 4-5


UM 4 PSU 1 PPG 03:18 Assists: Marody & Downing

Downing fires a nice pass from his own zone under duress to get the rush started. Marody carries in and hesitates. It looks like he’s waiting for Calderone to split the defense and hopefully carry them lower in the zone; one of them takes Calderone and the other waits for Marody, but the plan still works when that defender thinks he’s going to carry in himself and switches his stick to the outside lane. With the circled defender now staring him down, Marody sees his opportunity to get the puck to Selman.

psu fri 5-1

Selman skates in and McAdam sees him the whole way. Selman shoots from here, and gets a ton on the wrist shot.

psu fri 5-2

Look at the flex on that thing. He just straight up beats McAdam to the glove side.

psu fri 5-3


UM 5 PSU 1 EV 06:16 Assists: Kile & Selman

Selman passes from the halfboards in the defensive zone, and though it bounces over Nieves’ stick to begin he’s able to gain control and carry through the neutral zone. He dishes to Kile and skates through the middle, momentarily setting a screen on two defenders that allows Kile to cut across the zone.

psu fri 6-1

Kile does a really nice job protecting the puck here, keeping it outside his body and away from the swinging stick of the defender on him. The two defenders have each taken one of the Michigan skaters, which is all fine and well except that is leaves a lane for Kile to pass through.

psu fri 6-2

The pass is about as clean as it can be, but combine that angle and Nieves having to catch it on his backhand and it takes a second for him to settle it. That doesn’t end up making a difference, though, as McAdam reads the pass as a shot and hits the ice. Nieves has the time he needs to snap it under the crossbar. McAdam decides not to even try and push across, instead offering up his glove; it’s too little too late.

psu fri 6-3


UM 6 PSU 1 SH 07:09 Assists: Werenski

Werenski turns the puck over and immediately makes up for it, picking off the PSU outlet pass from the boards in the middle of the offensive zone. He sees Selman to his left without a defender remotely close and ready to catch a pass on his forehand and the decision really makes itself.

psu fri 7-1

Selman puts the puck on a string and pulls it around the charging defenseman, parlaying that into a backhander that Funkey stops. (PSU had lifted McAdam a minute or two before this.)

psu fri 7-2

“Stopped” doesn’t mean “controlled the rebound,” though, and the puck pops up in the air.

psu fri 7-3

Selman swats it in while managing to keep his stick below the crossbar, and the goal stands.

psu fri 7-4


UM 7 PSU 1 PPG 15:53 Assists: Boka & Dancs

Dancs carries up the boards and passes to Boka, who has a lot of space thanks to the direction Penn State’s box has shifted.

psu fri 8-1

The Penn State defender boxed in below is attempting to take away the passing lane to the point, but Boka’s options to the front of the net are wide open. I’ve seen defenders do this often and don’t understand, so if you can explain to me in the comments why they do this when it seems anything to the front of the net would be a lot more dangerous I’d appreciate it.

psu fri 8-2

Boka sees this and takes what he’s given, skating down the wing and looking for a passing opportunity. He decides to take the open cross-ice route, passing it over for Shuart.

psu fri 8-3

Shuart skates in and the defender behind him can’t catch up, while the defender in front of the net is busy trying to clear the crease and turns about the time the shot’s away. Shuart perfectly places it near-side top corner.

psu fri 8-4



March 14th, 2016 at 7:54 PM ^

The defender on the puck is supposed to take away space and the d to d pass, in an attempt to make them go down low to the corner where you are more able to take away space/get a turnover. Like the person above mentioned, some coaches want you to hedge more aggressively as this PSU player does so if the player does make the d to d pass you have a decent chance of deflecting it for a breakaway. *If the above poster is right, I'm guessing PSU has a few guys who are good at this and are coached to do this. I know Red has coached this in the past as well, as do many coaches.

As for the problem here, it is 100% on the right winger. Regardless of where the left winger puts his stick, a pass can always go through your body/stick combo, and this means that the right winger must be down lower to cut off the cross ice pass. If he is 1-2 ft lower (which you can see from the video he easily could have been), then Boka would have no choice but to go down low and we have to reset to try to get another play.

One other note, I am picking a very large not here, but as a coach, I wouldn't love how the right D for PSU played this either. He was hung out to dry, but 20 had the passing lane to the front blocked out, and I hate it when you try to square up a guy who already is on the weak side when you're on a penalty kill. If he isn't engaged with him, then he might be able to rotate over faster to save a goal. With that said, he had a chance to save a goal, he was not who I'd fault. If this was Brian's PPR, the right winger gets a -3, and the left D gets a -.5 from me.

Just my two cents.

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March 14th, 2016 at 10:50 PM ^

I'm not a hockey guy. I've been to Yost exactly one time (and I may have been intoxicated). Nonetheless, I read and re-read this article with great interest. You guys may turn me into a real hockey fan some day.

Nice work.


March 15th, 2016 at 8:52 AM ^

These posts (and the gifs) have been a great read all year.  I'm reduced to listening to many of the games on the radio, and while I love Al's enthusiasm, he leaves quite a bit to the imagination.  

I really hope that Brian is paying you extra for these posts this year, given the sheer number of goals to analyze.  Excellent work again, and thank you sincerely for your dedication to hockey coverage on here! It fills a little the hole left in my heart after the blogging retirement of yostbuilt