Friday, March 11, 2016
#9 Michigan 7, #14 Penn State 1
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.
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.
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.
Goodwin releases a really strong shot without anyone close enough to alter it, and Sturntz, who’s still unchecked, tips it in.
CONNOR GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
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.
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.
McAdam essentially falls over himself trying to do the aforementioned get-up-lateral-push-butterfly-again move.
[If you don’t hit THE JUMP you’ll miss more Connor insanity and you’re smart, you wouldn’t do that]
CALDERONE GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
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.
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.]
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.
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.
CONNOR GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
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.
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.
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.
As I was saying…
SELMAN GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
Selman skates in and McAdam sees him the whole way. Selman shoots from here, and gets a ton on the wrist shot.
Look at the flex on that thing. He just straight up beats McAdam to the glove side.
NIEVES GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
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.
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.
SELMAN GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
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.)
“Stopped” doesn’t mean “controlled the rebound,” though, and the puck pops up in the air.
Selman swats it in while managing to keep his stick below the crossbar, and the goal stands.
SHUART GOAL, MICHIGAN
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.
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.
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.
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.