Puck Preview: Miami

Submitted by Brian on February 4th, 2011 at 12:04 PM

enrico-blasi The Essentials 

WHAT Michigan @ Miami
WHERE Goggin Ice Arena, 
Miami, OH
WHEN 7:35 PM Fri/ 5:05 Sat
THE LINE College hockey lines, junkie?
TELEVISION Friday: CBS College
Saturday: FSD

Miami

Record. 14-9-5, 11-7-4 CCHA. Miami's taken a significant step back despite returning big chunks of their explosive lineup from last year. They're third in the league, four points back of Michigan and five back of Notre Dame. Michigan has two games in hand on both those teams.

The wonky record extends to their nonconference schedule, where they're just 3-2-1. They currently sit 18th in the Pairwise, four or five slots short of the area where they'd be secure. That's also where they sit in RPI. The good news for the Redhawks: the RPI gap between them and a likely tourney berth is narrow.

Despite the wonky record, Miami's goal differential is impressive. They're tied with Michigan at +28 in the league—though Michigan does have small advantage on a per game basis—and are one goal better than Michigan overall with a +33.

Previous meetings. None this year.

Dangermen. Easy to pick these guys out since they're 1-2 in scoring nationwide: seniors Andy Miele and Carter Camper anchor Miami's top line and pour it in. Miele has a 15-34-49 line, Camper 14-32-46. Linemate Reilly Smith isn't far off with a 19-16-35. That's bar-none the best line in college hockey.

Where Miami's fallen off from last year's blistering pace is the rest of it. They've got a couple guys with 11 goals after the big three and then it falls into a big pile of meh. Michigan's keeping pace with Miami in goal differential because no Redhawk defenseman has scored more than twice—if you can shut down that top line you've got a chance. If.

Defense and goalie and whatnot. Miami is still rotating juniors Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp, but this year they've collectively taken a major step back. That's if they're actually different people. It's unclear. Both have a Hunwick-before-groin-injury-power-mushroom .901 save percentage. Last year both turned in a .921. It's not like they're getting peppered—both see an average of 21 or 22 shots per game—and Miami lost only one defenseman from last year's team. It seems like the regression there is mostly on the goalies.

Speaking of that defense, they don't score even a little bit save Chris Wideman, who has a 2-15-17 line I assume is the result of being the lone D on Miami's power play. However, the top four guys are all juniors and sophomores and seniors scatter down the roster so they're a veteran group that's contributing to that severe lack of shots opponents are managing.

Special teams. Your power plays per game:

  Miami Michigan
PP For / G 4.6 4.2
PP Ag / G 5.3 4.5

Miami's taken a lot of minors this year and Michigan should expect to have a slight advantage in power plays—if they can force any.

When Miami gets on the power play they're deadly, converting nearly a quarter of their opportunities. That's third nationally. Michigan lags at 22nd. Miami's also much better on the PK, killing 86.5 percent to Michigan's 81.1. That's eight and 35th, respectively. Michigan would prefer a game played five-on-five.

Michigan Vs Those Guys

Stay out the box yo. This is the nation's third best power play against the 35th-best penalty kill. Frequent trips to the box is just asking for it. Michigan's taken a lot fewer penalties this year than they usually do and Tristin Llewellyn is taking his penalties in the ECHL now so this is not necessarily doom. But it probably is.

Line match like a mother and win the second line. It's going to be somewhat tough to pull off since both of these games are on the road but if Miele and Camper are on the ice Hagelin should be two seconds from following. If that can be a neutral matchup then it's down to Michigan's second and third lines (and defensemen) outscoring their Miami counterparts. Wohlberg and Caporusso need to show up this weekend.

Grit heart gritty heart heart. Miami is going to be breathing fire. They are 18th right now and have six games before the playoffs to play themselves into the tournament. They're essentially as good as anyone in the league but a combination of unfortunate/unlucky/plain weird results (losing 4-7 to Michigan State?) sees their tourney streak threatened as Most Hated Enemy comes to town.

If Michigan is off or lackadaisical or thinks Miami is not dangerous or hasn't gotten it into their heads that the only way for them to win is to play like their 5'8" walk-on goalie doesn't have a .923 save percentage but is in fact armless they could get blown out of the building and come back to Ann Arbor fighting for their tournament lives.

The Big Picture

One crappy loss to Michigan State has sent me from figuring out how Michigan can wrangle a one-seed to figuring out how much breathing room they have for an at large bid. Who loves the Pairwise? Everybody Nobody. That single crappy loss sent their RPI from sixth to tenth and leaves 3 or 4 teams right on their heels. If Michigan gets swept this weekend it's likely they fall into the range where they're depending on playoff results to see if they're actually in the tournament.

On the upside, there are now four teams just ahead of them in RPI who could be passed if Michigan bounces back and takes four or more points from Miami. Anything from sixth to out of the tournament is in play depending on the results of the weekend.

A split will be fine here. That will put Michigan four points clear of Miami with two games in hand and two clear of Notre Dame with a manageable schedule left in the race for the title. A sweep is unlikely but would be killer.

Elsewhere

Yost Built has ten things for you. The Daily's Florek in CHN. I linked this in the sidebar but it deserves a bit more attention: this is a really long, really interesting article about what makes Steve Kampfer an 18-minute-a-night defenseman at 22 and how the Bruins identified and acquired him. The Conboy/Tropp incident is remembered—misremembered, but remembered—as evidence he was an NHL player!

Comments

Emarcy

February 4th, 2011 at 1:20 PM ^

Remember Fort Wayne!

I'm hoping for a total ass whoopin on friday so I can scalp a ticket for saturday.  I want to break in my virgin Michigan sweater, but both ticket offices sold out their puny arena.  Any parents have spare ticket?

BlueDragon

February 4th, 2011 at 10:11 PM ^

 

"Stay out the box yo. This is the nation's third best power play against the 35th-best penalty kill. Frequent trips to the box is just asking for it. Michigan's taken a lot fewer penalties this year than they usually do and Tristin Llewellyn is taking his penalties in the ECHL now so this is not necessarily doom. But it probably is."

Seven (count 'em) 2-minute penalties on M.  Two result in NTM goals.  Solid prediction backed up by evidence.  Now we'll see how the team adjusts on Saturday.

streaker

February 5th, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

 

Only Union and Yale have a better PP than Miami in the country, and those two teams play in the weakest conference of the "big four". 

Playing against the two top scorers in college hockey, too- just think Tambellini/Hensick/Porter/Kolarik good. 

Combine that with the lowest PK a Michigan team has had in years, and gah!

Can't say the officiating was tainted- it was bad for both teams, but when your PP can't muster a SOG on some of those chances, this is the medicine you are handed. Then to have most of our experienced players taking lazy penalties... disastrous. The Wohlberg penalty late in the game was.. Llewellyn-esque. 

So much for Caporusso's "gut check" quote, too. He could have iced the game on a breakaway. Give Miami credit, they didn't play well, but 'their" seniors found a way to win with less than 9 minutes to go. 

This only adds to Michigan's pattern of coughing up third period leads this season: UNH, Wisconsin, Mercyhurst, Ohio State... to which they went 0-2-3 now.

Today is must win or scratch just to make the NCAA again. Basically this is pretty much how they have played all season on friday, though. 

 

tom

February 5th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

Camper and Miele do not play on the same line. They are easily Miami's best players, but they don't play on the same line. They put Camper on the "4th line" (which means you can't even call it their fourth line) and Miele is on the top line.

Also, the numbers on the side of the helmet are retarded.

That is all.