Friday, February 2, 2018
#20 Michigan 5, #18 Wisconsin 3
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Slaker receives the pass on his forehand and quickly switches to his backhand…
…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.
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.
Freytag is able to skate in a straight line, though, and as such comes really, really close to getting the puck away from Becker.
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.
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.
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.
Luce does take the pass away, though. Lavigne steps out to challenge Wagner.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
The pass is actually too hard, and it rockets forward off of Raabe’s blade.
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.
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.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
#20 Michigan 2, #18 Wisconsin 4
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.
Becker makes the smart play and cuts off the pass to the slot, so Weissbach moves it to Inamoto at the point.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UM 0 UW 4 PPG 3:27 Assists: Frederic
Frederic wins the faceoff to Kalynuk, who walks the blue line.
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.
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.
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.
Piazza once again has a Wisconsin defender in his shooting lane, but he somehow sees the backdoor passing lane to Slaker is open.
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.
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.
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.
Norris then displays some pretty incredible passing skills, finding the passing lane through the crease between the goaltender and defender.
The passing here is so quick that Becker actually has time to settle the puck before wristing it into the open net.
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.
- 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.