Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on February 6th, 2018 at 3:03 PM



Friday, February 2, 2018

#20 Michigan 5, #18 Wisconsin 3

1st period

Frederic goal

UM 0 UW 1 EV 3:33 Assists: Weissbach & Hughes

A shot gets through Luke Martin and Lavigne makes the toe save, but the byproduct is a puck kicked out to his left. Warren has a chance to snag the rebound and clear, but he overskates it. Hughes picks up the puck, spins, and fires. Lavigne stops it and steers the rebound to the corner, which is ideal if you’re allowing a rebound. Hughes is behind the net with no Michigan defender in position to get there before him.

m wisc fri 1-1

Piazza was closest to getting to the puck, but he’s starting from a flat-footed position in front of the net and coming out to cover Weissbach. As Piazza chases, a huge passing lane opens. Norris, who’s currently patrolling the slot, does quickly turn his head to check for unmarked skaters. That head turn, though, doesn’t pick up anything that isn’t at least in line with Norris’ shoulder (see blue line below). Frederic is off the radar, Wiessbach notices this, and naturally he passes through the highway-sized gap.

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Norris isn’t gapped up and he isn’t going to even able to take a step forward because of the speed of the pass and Frederic’s lack of hesitancy. I don’t want to guess at what Lavigne can see here, as he seems to have a fairly good chance to track the shot but there are two teammates in front of him that might have been screening him; the speed of the snap shot is also a consideration in casting blame (or lack thereof) for this goal.

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[After THE JUMP: an up-and-down weekend when they could least afford it]


UM 1 UW 1 PPG 11:49 Assists: Hughes

Hughes carries the puck out of the defensive zone under relatively little duress. The one forechecker back loops in front of Hughes, turns, and gets his stick out. Hughes reacts with aplomb, casually saucering a pass to Cecconi.

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Cecconi enters the zone and more or less has a pick set for him by Marody; he’ll only have two defenders in front of him to deal with. Cecconi cuts hard to the middle of the ice. Both defenders come together to take away the slot, so Cecconi decides on the fly to just shoot. He fires an absolutely perfect wrister top corner on Berry’s blocker side.

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UM 2 UW 1 EV 14:10 Assists: Unassisted

Marody drops a pass for Calderone that’s off the mark and results in a turnover. Calderone follows Greenway to the corner, pestering him into a tight turn up the boards. Michael Pastujov pinches and helps knock the puck free.

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Marody, meanwhile, skates through the crease and is in perfect position to retrieve the loose puck; he doesn’t even need Calderone to shovel it his way, though Calderone obliges.

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Marody loops to the top of the faceoff circle and sees the shot he wants. Davison has skated back into the frame (about time one of the two Wisconsin skaters who went right on the turnover did) but is way away from Marody. He starts to drop into a shot-blocking position as soon as Marody finishes turning; Marody will be able to lift a shot over him.

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The screen cap below is useful for two reasons. First, Marody’s hands are actually on their way back down. He’s reached the apex of his swing path, which is indicative of bar-downness. Second, Berry has gone into his butterfly, thereby opening up the top of the net. Marody’s shot path, benefitted by a defender and goaltender hitting the ice quickly, is undettered and finds the top corner.

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UM 3 UW 1 PPG 17:07 Assists: Becker & Piazza

Michigan’s regrouping on the power play, so there should be ample opportunity for Piazza to start the break. He waits for Slaker to cut inside a defender near the blue line, eventually connecting near center ice.

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Slaker has possession for only a few strides before he sees Becker almost offside. He throws a pass ahead that Becker corrals with about three inches to spare.

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The pass pulls Inamoto to Becker, which opens a lot of space for Slaker to skate. Becker sees that Inamoto is gaining ground laterally but not gaining depth and sauces a pass to Slaker.

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Slaker receives the pass on his forehand and quickly switches to his backhand…

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…knocking the puck in as he rotates his blade to go forehand again. Slaker knocked the puck in as Berry shuffled, as the shuffling opened up his five hole.

mich wiscy fri 4-3


2nd period


UM 4 UW 1 EV 14:43 Assists: Winborg & Porikos

Winborg tries to poke a loose puck behind the net but is beat to it by Davison, who swings at the puck and knocks it behind Winborg. Becker, who pulled up instead of charging Davison, is able to get to the puck and turn it up-ice. He then executes a beautiful fake pass, which freezes Freytag and creates space for Becker to get to the blue line.

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Freytag is able to skate in a straight line, though, and as such comes really, really close to getting the puck away from Becker.

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Becker turns and heads into the teeth of the defense, going forehand-backhand-forehand before shooting. He catches a break, too, as Davison starts to drop to block the shot as soon as Becker finishes turning. This prevents his stick from being active until Becker has skated in on him and already gone back to the forehand to shoot.

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Becker’s shot is wobbly, but that’s the least of his concerns with Winborg Holmstroming it up in front of the net. There’s no chance Berry sees this with Winborg’s ass parked right in front of his crease. Winborg deserves some credit for getting back to the front of the net after missing the loose puck in the corner, and Inamoto gets credit for not really caring whether Winborg set up shop in front of his net minder.

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3rd period

Wagner goal

UM 4 UW 2 EV 8:07 Assists: Frederic

Slaker’s stick-checked a couple of times, and just as he decides to turn the puck toward the middle he sees Frederic in his path. Slaker turns back outside, but Frederic is able to sweep the puck away. He picks up the turnover and is suddenly out on a 2-on-1 break. Luce is back and hasn’t even crossed over once when Frederic passes.

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Luce does take the pass away, though. Lavigne steps out to challenge Wagner.

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A bit of foreshadowing, I guess. Lavigne can see this the whole way but I guess the toe drag was enough to throw him off. Otherwise this looks like it gets in through him.

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Wagner goal

UM 4 UW 3 EX 15:44 Assists: Weissbach & Frederic

Norris plays Frederic along the wall and forces the puck back to Weissbach. He skates on a diagonal toward the slot before turning hard to the top of the faceoff circle. Slaker gets his stick around, but it’s not enough to stop the pass across to Wagner.

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Piazza decides to bump the first guy in, which I guess is fine in that it takes the pass nearest the net away. That leaves Wagner wide open, though, which becomes a really big problem considering Lavigne’s still peering around a Wiscosin skater as the puck arrives on Wagner’s blade.

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Lavigne doesn’t make it across in time, and Piazza’s too deep to step out on Wagner. (To be fair, that’s a fact of positioning and not really a criticism of his coverage on this play.)

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UM 5 UW 3 EN 19:00 Assists: Becker

Becker gains possession of a loose puck, but he’s got Kalynuk on him within a few strides. Not a huge surprise given that Wisconsin’s pulled the goalie for an extra skater. Feeling the pressure, Becker puts everything he’s got into a hard pass for a yet-to-arrive Raabe.

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The pass is actually too hard, and it rockets forward off of Raabe’s blade.

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Raabe has the advantage of skating forward against a defender who was retreating and had to come to a full stop and push off before he could pursue the puck. Raabe legs it out, swiping at the puck to keep it away from the lone Wisconsin player back. He knocks it into the offensive zone.

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Raabe has all the space he needs, because the defender coming forward to lunge at the puck leaves him dusted once Raabe swipes it ahead. He gathers the puck a few feet into the offensive zone and holds it until he’s comfortable flipping it in.

m wisc fri 8-4


Saturday, February 3, 2018

#20 Michigan 2, #18 Wisconsin 4

1st period

Frederic goal

UM 0 UW 1 EV 8:08 Assists: Inamoto & Weissbach

Poor damn Luke Martin. He does just about everything possible to tie up his guy behind the net and somehow said guy still moves the puck ahead to Weissbach.

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Becker makes the smart play and cuts off the pass to the slot, so Weissbach moves it to Inamoto at the point.

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Inamoto has a clear bead on Lavigne but instead throws the puck into the crowd of guys in front of the net, so he’s either hoping for a deflection or he’s just really inaccurate.

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Lavigne moves to his right to try to blocker the shot away, but the shot gets stuck in the mass of humanity in front of him. It looks like he expects it to fall straight down, in which case he’s in position to cover and wait for the whistle.

That’s not where the puck lands, though. No, no, it has to magically pop out the side of the guy Luke Martin is covering. I’ve watched the replay over and over and it’s just gifted to Frederic. Martin’s a step too far inside to tangle him up or block the shot, and Lavigne (boxed in blue below) isn’t even going to be close to getting across on a drop-and-pop like this.

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Wagner goal

UM 0 UW 2 PPG 13:00 Assists: Frederic & Hughes

Wagner and Warren get tied up; Wagner can’t sweep the puck away, and Warren can’t clear it. Frederic descends from his perch at the point to pick up the loose puck and walk it down the boards. Warren falls asleep on Wagner, Cutler Martin decides to take away the pass behind the net, and Frederic has a wide open passing lane.

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Wagner’s attempt on net is less a shot and more a poorly handled pass. The puck skitters forward, and Lavigne’s clearly able to track it.

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He just does a poor job of it, tbh. This is a flat-out miss. Warren could certainly have done his part to help, but the last line of defense didn’t exactly function as a line of defense here.

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Hurley goal

UM 0 UW 3 EV 13:56 Assists: Linhart & Kalynuk

The puck’s moved up the boards and passed back to the point before Becker or Michael Pastujov can converge on it. Linhart shoots, but Nick Pastujov has done an excellent job skating in from near the boards to get in the shooting lane. He blocks it, and the puck hops up and over him.

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Luke Martin and Hurley are bunched up in front of the net, and as they untangle Martin effectively sets a momentary screen on Lavigne. Hurley then gets to the loose puck and turns on it.

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At this point Lavigne’s trying to find his post. He kicks his left leg out, but he’s a little too far in front of the post to use it as an anchor. He’s effectively playing Marco Polo now. He shuffles back to his right, but that opens up a portion of the net on his left side. He doesn’t know that, though, inability to find the post and subsequent overcompensation. Hurley turns on it and takes what Lavigne gives him, scoring his second career goal in the process.

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2nd period

Kalynuk goal

UM 0 UW 4 PPG 3:27 Assists: Frederic

Frederic wins the faceoff to Kalynuk, who walks the blue line.

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Kalynuk shoots, Lavigne reads it, and the puck goes in glove-side. Lavigne just misread it. This was understandably the goal that got him pulled; Wisconsin’s on the power play and it took two screen caps and three sentences to break everything down.

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UM 1 UW 4 EV 12:48 Assists: Piazza & Norris

Piazza takes a pass at the point, turns on it, and wrong-foots a quick shot…right into a Wisconsin defender.

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Piazza does a great job staying engaged, though. He charges the miss and ends up knocking the puck to himself as it falls to the ice.

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Piazza once again has a Wisconsin defender in his shooting lane, but he somehow sees the backdoor passing lane to Slaker is open.

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Slaker one-times it from his knee, and there’s not a snowball’s chance in you-know-what that Hayton’s going to be able to stop that shot from that angle with a pass that goes from his right sharply to his left.

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3rd period


UM 2 UW 4 PPG 8:42 Assists: Norris & Slaker

Please watch this GIF. It’s very much worth clicking the play button. I’ll wait.

See, worth it, yeah? The puck movement here is something to behold. Piazza swings the puck to Slaker on the wing, which keeps the high defender moving.

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Slaker quickly moves the puck to Norris, which pulls one of the netfront defenders away from the front of the net. An aside: this goal is a treatise on the benefits of having two guys near the net (one on each post) on the power play.

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Norris then displays some pretty incredible passing skills, finding the passing lane through the crease between the goaltender and defender.

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The passing here is so quick that Becker actually has time to settle the puck before wristing it into the open net.

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So, Michigan split a series they badly needed to sweep. They rose to 14th after Friday’s win, fell to 16th after Saturday’s loss, and now sit at 15th with all of the weekend’s results in. They are firmly on the bubble, and in fact only in 15th because their RPI is, at most, hundred-thousandths of a point better than Penn State’s, and they won the season series with PSU.

This weekend’s series is against 34th-place MSU, with one game being played on the road and the other at a neutral site (LCA). They aren’t in danger of losing a comparison point to State, but Michigan’s RPI obviously has no wiggle room; a sweep is once again necessary. We’ll dig into Pairwise and RPI again next week with the biggest series of the year on the horizon: a home-and-home with #1 Notre Dame.

Assorted thoughts:

  • If you want a feel for how each game played out, I highly recommend reading David’s recaps from Friday and Saturday. They’ve also got Corsi charts that are worth a look.
  • Lavigne obviously didn’t have it Saturday, which opens the “when do you pull him” debate. I think Brian tweeted that they pulled him two goals too late. I could see that. Personally, I would have pulled him after the third goal. There have been times this season where Lavigne gives up a baffling goal and then stymies the opposition the rest of the game. Once he’s out there flailing in an effort to find his post, though? That’s when I think it’s time to take him out.
  • How did Michigan host a ‘90s night and not break out the throwback maize jerseys? Those are the greatest college hockey sweaters known to man and should replace the blue road uniform, anyway.



February 6th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

The amount of work to comments ratio here is insane.   I cant even begin to imagine how much time Adam puts into this analysis and it seldom gets many comments from the great unwashed (who are now busy debating who has bigger Crystal Balls).

Thank you Adam.

Pepto Bismol

February 6th, 2018 at 8:35 PM ^

I'm not trying to bag on this front page hockey series, but I've found myself just skipping them altogether.  It's more than apparent that Adam does a ton of work on these.  Unfortunately, I don't get anything out of it.  

I'm a hockey fan.  I played at a competitive, but not brag-worthy level.  I understand what we're watching in the .gifs and often disagree with a lot of the breakdown.  I feel like these didn't used to have the .gif in there.  When that was the case (if that was the case?), the written breakdown and helpful arrows explaining the play was useful.  With the .gif included, it's excessive and unnecessary.  I feel like you could just post the goal vids and use the time and effort to fill in the gaps.  Like:

Here's Marody's goal:  [.gif]

After that, Michigan carried the play. Between that goal and the 5 minute mark, Michigan outshot Wisconsin whatever-to-whatever.  Then a bad line change gave the Badgers an opening...

Wisconsin tying goal:  [.gif]


I dunno.  Something like that.  Hockey is a free-flowing game, obviously. Goals are usually the culmination of game trends. 

Michigan was extra heavy on the forecheck to start the period and Wisconsin didn't deal with it well.  Their breakout passes were sloppy and often resorted to clears off the glass to relieve pressure.  It was a matter of time until it caught up and 3 minutes in, the Wisconsin D got caught with a lazy reach and picked up a hooking penalty sending Michigan to yet another power play.  This time, it paid off...

Michigan Power Play goal:  [.gif]


These posts are relatively long as they usually recap two games and they spend the entire length explaining mundane details.  Imagine baseball: 

Cabrera gets a low pitch on the outer part of the plate and extends his arms and drives it to right field.  The right fielder doesn't seem to get a good jump and can't cut it off until it gets to the wall.  /screenshot

Kinsler, running from first on contact, rounds second, takes a big turn into 3rd base and is waved home.  The throw from the warning track is a little short and cut off by the 1st baseman on an in-between hop giving Kinsler just a fraction of a second more time.  His relay throw is a little bit up-the-line.  Kinsler sees this and takes a wide angle into the plate sweeping past the catcher with his left arm to swipe the plate.  Meanwhile, Cabrera coasts into 2nd as the action concludes.  /screenshot

It's just an RBI double, man.  Nobody needs all of that.


I don't mean to sound ungrateful, because I know what you mean.  I almost feel bad ignoring these because I know it's a ton of work trying to cater to college hockey fans that are largely ignored in the vast sporting world. *raises hands emphatically*

Just trying to help.  I think there's a more useful way to spend this time, energy and resources.  One that may be more entertaining.

Sorry for the length.  Adam's effort deserved mine in return.

JWG Wolverine

February 6th, 2018 at 9:17 PM ^

Great comment, as a Michigan fan who considers hockey my second sport and probably my favorite sport on both the college and pro level (love college football more than anything in sports but I love the NHL a million times more than NFL), I couldn't agree more with this well constructed criticism.

Hockey is more of a free flowing game than as portrayed here, I think you can use the gifs as evidence of common trends of the team in strategy, etc. But breaking down scoring plays in the tedious way it is done here doesn't properly analyze the sport IMO.

I also find myself skimming these for this reason. I love Michigan Hockey and am willing to consume all of the few content that it is given, but I feel like it can be done in a better way.

Adam, I appreciate the obviously hard work, but I think you should take a look at some of this advice from Pepto Bismol, it would be helpful to make your content make your audience more content.


I Bleed Maize N Blue

February 6th, 2018 at 3:40 PM ^

There was a time when U-M had dropped to 17th.

I'm dreading a split with MSU. No matter how crappy they are, they always seem to play us tough. We split earlier this season, though beat them in the GLI consolation game.


February 7th, 2018 at 12:25 AM ^

Although I do not comment very often (I had to reset my password to sign in tonight), I always read thISfeature and find it helpful in understanding what the players are trying to do.


So even though I am generally silent, I heartfelt:

Thank you Adam.