PLAYOFF TIME IS HOCKEY BEAR TIME
|WHAT||Bowling Green @ Michigan|
|WHERE||Yost Ice Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||7:35 PM Fri/Sat
7:35 PM Sun if necessary
|THE LINE||College hockey lines, junkie?|
|TELEVISION||Friday: Comcast Local
Saturday: Comcast Local
Record. 10-25-4, 3-21-4 CCHA. That CCHA record does not include last weekend's shocking upset of Northern Michigan. Despite getting outscored 41-87 over the course of the conference season the Falcons managed to squeeze out a 2-0 and 2-1 wins—the second in double OT—to pull out a series win after getting smacked 6-3 in the opener. Those wins were Bowling Green's first since January 29th.
So… yeah, Bowling Green is not good. Their –46 conference goal differential is almost two goals a game to the bad. They had better luck in the nonconference thanks to three games against Alabama-Huntsville—they're actually +4 against teams outside of the conference.
Previous meetings. Michigan swept 4-1 and 4-2 in early October. Shots were 33-18 in the first but 20-18 in the second.
Dangermen. BGSU is dead last in goals per game at 1.85. So as you can imagine, there aren't a whole lot of names that jump off the stat sheet for BGSU. Jordan Samuels-Thomas is their leading scorer with 9-12-21; he's also their only draft pick. IIRC, he's a black guy with dreads so if you find yourself inexplicably fond of him people will understand. Chances at a "Denard's better" chant are pegged at 50-50.
Freshman Brett Mohler has 7-10-17 and then there's a few more guys with 15 or so. BGSU gets nothing from its defense; top scorer has nine points and one goal.
Defense and goalie and whatnot. BGSU has split the season between senior Nick Eno and sophomore Andrew Hammond. Hammond has more games and a vastly better save percentage (.885 vs .918). He started all three games last weekend despite getting pulled midway through the Friday game, so it's safe to say he'll be the guy in net this weekend.
BGSU is considerably better at keeping the puck out of their own net than they are at putting into their opponents', but they're still not that good. They're 34th, giving up 2.92 goals per game. BGSU is, like, you, now, the kind of team you would expect to have three conference wins.
Special teams. Power plays per game:
|PP For / G||4.5||4.1|
|PP Ag / G||4.9||4.4|
Whatever, as per usual. I should probably stop tracking this fairly useless stat. One point to emphasize how unusual this edition of Michigan hockey is: they're 36th(!) nationally in penalty minutes after years of hanging out in the top ten, punching people.
As far as results when on special teams, Michigan maintains its persistent mediocrity (33rd) and BGSU is no better at scoring with an extra guy than they are at even strength (56th). Both teams are meh at killing penalties (25th and 29th).
Michigan Vs Those Guys
Be vaguely interested. Score three and this Bowling Green team is done. Michigan should dominate this game, but you could say that about a dozen games this season that they didn't, including the second game against the Falcons way back in October. You'd think they'd be on for the playoffs, last place opponent or no.
Clear rebounds. BGSU isn't going to have a ton of grade A chances. They'll throw pucks at the net and hope to get bounces. They might. Shawn Hunwick's so small he can't kick pucks out to the corner regularly, resulting in a wide array of pucks in that sit in the slot to terrify/tantalize. Last year's playoff run featured Michigan zooming into their own slot to bat these away; if they're going to replicate their performance that's going to be a bellwether.
Don't lose. Very very bad things happen if they do.
The Big Picture
Michigan has locked up a tourney spot with their strong finish and is playing for seeding. If they somehow manage to lose this series their RPI will implode, falling into the 10-12 range, and they'll be facing an uphill trudge as a three seed. Losing one will probably be enough to chuck Michigan out of the last one-seed, at least temporarily. Paradoxically, since BGSU is not a TUC losing to them is actually not as bad as losing to a team that's totally mediocre.
If they can make up the RPI damage at the Joe they could withstand a loss, but I'm pretty sure that's unrealistic given how RPIs can implode even when you're losing to good teams. So… Michigan can't do anything but tread water this weekend. Root against Denver, Denver, and Denver. Also UNO.