All you have to do to eke a smile out of him is pitch a 46-shot shutout and stay four years it’s really not that hard [James Coller]
Friday, March 10, 2017
Michigan 3, #11 Penn State 2
UM 0 PSU 1 EV 19:59 Assists: Sucese & Biro
Lockwood carries the puck into the offensive zone with 15 seconds to go in the period and I distinctly remember looking at the clock and thinking that the period was as good as done. Something in the darker, loathing, confrontational part of my brain perked up at this sunny optimism and immediately reminded me that you’d think so but, like, this season…
Stupid accurate darker, loathing, confrontational part of my brain.
Sucese gets the puck deep and shoots from a bad angle, and with no one in front of the net to deflect it the puck goes through the slot and hits the boards on the opposite side of the rink.
Myllari sees the puck bounce off the boards, does a nice job reading the angle of the bounce, and gets himself all wound up for a one-timer. It’s worth noting that Lavigne sees where the puck is headed and gets across the crease in time to do something; at this point he’s still standing.
Sanchez gets in position to block the shot, sliding out of the way just as the puck passes him. Proof positive that luck plays a bigger part in hockey than most of us would like to admit. It seems like Lavigne had a hard time tracking the flight of the puck as Sanchez passed in front of him. Otherwise he would have eschewed the butterfly in favor of standing, as you don’t have to worry about a rebound off the chest protector when the puck’s released with one second left.
[After THE JUMP: more weird goals, Nagelvoort’s unreal, bork bork bork]
UM 1 PSU 1 EV 03:06 Assists: Marody & De Jong
De Jong gets the puck near center ice and wheels back to survey what’s open in front of him. That’s a good idea on its own made all the more impressive because guys haven’t done that this year. It would have been a bad idea, but De Jong could have tried to carry the puck through closing pressure (and likely turned it over). Instead he loops back and gives his forwards a chance to work back toward him in then neutral zone, firing an excellent breakout pass that hits Marody in stride and delivers him back to the offensive zone. Take a moment to appreciate that, as it’s something that Michigan’s really struggled with this season.
Marody gains the zone with two defenders in front of him and one backchecker who he gained a step on thanks to De Jong’s excellent pass. Calderone is wide open to his right because Goodwin, who’s at the blue line in the screenshot below, got twisted around in the neutral zone; he stayed in De Jong’s passing lane through the middle for a second and as De Jong held the puck then flew back to the wing, losing track of Calderone in the process.
Calderone’s a sniper; he picks the top near-side corner and hits it over Jones’s glove.
UM 1 PSU 2 EV 15:09 Assists: Sturtz & Berger
Berger wins the draw and Sturtz skates hard inside to get the loose puck. He throws a shot toward the net with a Michigan defender about a foot away from taking him out. The shot misses the net and rims around the boards.
Thompson moves to the wall to get the loose puck as Michigan’s defense shifts to the opposite side of the ice. Kile sees the loose puck heading up the boards and tries to get over to close on it; he’s far enough away that he’s forced to stop and hope he’s able to block the shot. Lavigne’s got Kile and Luce in front of him and is craning his neck around them to get a better view of the puck as it’s lobbed on net.
Lavigne stands this time but the result is the same: a quick-rising shot that finds the top corner off of what looks like a heave in from the wall. I do think Lavigne had a tough time tracking both shots because of well-intentioned teammates going for the block.
UM 2 PSU 2 EV 02:23 Assists: Marody
Goodwin drops a pass carelessly and Marody picks it off. Should have just kept skating instead of trying to pull off a drop pass to a guy who’s a left-handed shot and is stuck to the boards.
Marody sees one PSU defender in front of him and Calderone moving through the neutral zone, so he banks the puck off the boards, creating a foot race for the puck in which Calderone has no opposition.
The lone defender back sells out to take away the pass. Calderone doesn’t so much as dip a shoulder here; he picks the glove-side top corner and roofs a perfect shot over Jones. That’s a pure, unadulterated snipe.
UM 3 PSU 2 EV 05:25 Assists: Sanchez
Martin seals the puck along the boards and sends it up to Cutler Martin, who passes ahead in hopes that one of the three guys near the blue line will get it. They don’t; the PSU skater seals the boards and holds the puck in the zone before making an ill-fated decision to try and pass toward the faceoff circle at the moment where three Michigan skaters are in his passing lane. Let’s be honest: he panicked. Look at the wide open guy on the blue line.
Sanchez’s deflection sends the puck way ahead; he and Warren don’t catch up to it until a moment before the screenshot below. Warren gets the puck and, judging by the angle of his blade, looks to pass. I think the puck rolled ahead off of his blade and slipped under Jones’s pads.
The aforementioned under-the-pad slide appears to happen when Jones instinctively sticks out his right leg pad, working off the assumption that Warren intended to pass to Sanchez for a tap-in. That kick-save attempt lifts the pad off the ice for a moment, and that’s long enough for the puck to get through.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Michigan 4, #11 Penn State 0
UM 1 PSU 0 EV 12:06 Assists: Lockwood & Cecconi
Jones rims the puck to no one in particular; Cecconi sees the puck about to leave the zone, closes hard, and keeps the puck from escaping the offensive zone.
Cecconi has a defender gaining on him but keeps Lockwood in his sights. He banks the puck hard off the boards as Lockwood cuts to the middle; this avoids the defender, who hops to seal the boards and take away a potential flip deep into the zone, and puts the puck in a position where Lockwood can get it below the higher defenders and above the three guys clustered around the net.
The wing who comes over to the high slot to cover for the vacated center takes a looping path that sees him turn to face Lockwood (and attempt to block his shot) as Lockwood’s releasing the puck. All three PSU defenders are watching Lockwood as he shoots, which allows Winborg to get to the front of the net unchecked.
Jones makes the first stop and allows a short rebound. Winborg’s in position to slam it home, and slam it home he has by the time the defender who let him slip by realizes there’s a guy who just scored on him. This chef cooks a different kind of bork, but it’s a bork on the rise that’s quickly becoming a local favorite.
UM 2 PSU 0 PPG 01:37 Assists: Lockwood & Winborg
De Jong pulls a defender to the point before swinging the puck to Slaker on the wall. This pulls a defender who was collapsed on net out and leaves Penn State’s PK in a diamond. The defender chooses to play it safe, putting on the brakes at the dot and effectively taking away Slaker’s shooting lane. He forces the pass; Winborg has left the front of the net and gotten himself into perfect position to catch said pass and continue moving the puck.
Winborg has room to operate thanks to Slaker drawing the defender off of him. This also allows Lockwood to operate with more space, as the low defender is now tasked with covering both Winborg and Lockwood. He lunges at the pass, allowing Lockwood to shoot freely. Jones stops the shot.
The defender on the left edge of the 1-2-1 (that’d be the leftmost skater of the “2”) sees the puck going to Lockwood and tries to get a stick in his shooting lane, though he’s way too far to actually do so. This draw on his attention lets Calderone skate to the goalmouth and jam in the loose puck. Michigan’s puck movement couldn’t have been better on this particular power play.
UM 3 PSU 0 EV 16:47 Assists: Cecconi & Lockwood
Winborg wins the draw. Lockwood moves in for the puck as De Jong backs up. As Lockwood gets the puck, he sees a passing lane and a play a couple of beats before it develops. There is a defender charging hard up the middle of the ice and two still in the faceoff circle, as well as Cecconi heading down the right wing. Lockwood sees the lane above the two in the faceoff circle and below the hard-charger and gets the puck to Cecconi.
Cecconi shoots, but not directly at the goaltender; with two Michigan skaters making their way to the front of the net and three PSU skaters in the area, he’s looking for a deflection.
Boxed in on the screenshot above is Winborg, who has dumped his man in the faceoff circle and bulled his way to the net. Cecconi’s shot hits him and goes in. It’s an effort play made by a guy who’s starting to make a name for himself as an agitating, intelligent center.
UM 4 PSU 0 EN 18:27 Assists: Unassisted
Shoot your shot, man. Shoot. Your. Shot. (But also, excellent stickwork from Sanchez to create that turnover.)
Nagelvoort was excellent. His night is best summed up in one save: defender gets walked, Nagelvoort sticks with the puckcarrier, manages to push across the crease, and gets his left leg pad out to make a bogglingly difficult save. His career trajectory must have been difficult for him to handle; he’s come through it to lead the other goalies off the ice while finally delivering on the promise he showed as a freshman en route to forming one-third of the unit that’s collectively team MVP.
Winborg is my Lindsay Sparks Memorial Do-You-All-See-How-Good-This-Guy-Is Player of the Year. Seriously, you guys see how good he could be? Just
being a center knowing what a center is was enough to get a human who could skate into the lineup at the beginning of the season. Winborg’s developed well defensively and has taken to bullrushing the front of the net, which is aided tremendously by his excellent awareness. He knows when to get to the front of the net and this past weekend that paid handsomely.
This team could make a run in the B1G tournament. The most important thing in one-and-done hockey is great goaltending, something that this team has from three dudes. (Or Dudes in Don Brown’s parlance.) Michigan’s won four of their last five; all came in the part of the season that was supposed to be murderer’s row—@ #12 OSU, then home against #5 Minnesota and #11 PSU. Nagelvoort stole a game from OSU in a 1-0 shutout, then Michigan split with Minnesota in an inconsistent series before sweeping Penn State thanks to stellar goaltending from Lavigne and Nagelvoort.
Not allowing 138 shot attempts per series would greatly aid the cause, though. The numbers are so high in large part because Michigan can’t break the puck out after digging it out of the corner to save their lives and also because their offense is putting up 68 shot attempts over two games. It’s not getting fixed at this point, so the goal is to not take penalties.