Puck Preview: Nebraska-Omaha

Submitted by Brian on February 12th, 2010 at 1:16 PM

uno alternate logoThe Essentials

WHAT Michigan @ UNO
WHERE Omaha, Nebraska
January 22/23rd, 2010
THE LINE College hockey lines, junkie?
TELEVISION CBS College Sports both nights(!)


Record. 14-12-6, 10-11-3-2 CCHA. Not a team under consideration right this second. They're #26 in RPI. Currently fifth place with 35 points. Michigan is fourth with two points and two games in hand on the Mavs.

UNO has their usual team of pluggers mixed in with one or two really talented guys and they're in their usual spot in the middle of the CCHA and the cusp of the top 25 in RPI. They've been on a roll of late, going 4-1-1 in their last six. (They swept Northern, split with ND, and got an old-fashioned three-point weekend from Ohio State.)

UNO's always fancied Michigan as its main rival in the CCHA and this is the last time UNO will host Michigan as a conference foe. The Mavs are off to the WCHA next year. As a result, you get articles like so

Big Blue. Evil Empire. Michigan. Michigoon. Say it any way you want, but say it for the last time this weekend.

…that can't deny the truth behind the "rivalry"…

UNO is 4-24-3 all-time against Michigan and 2-9-3 at home.

…is that there really isn't one. I've seen most of those games and even I'm shocked at how ugly UNO's record is.

Their schedule down the stretch here is brutal: Michigan, Miami, and national shocker Bemidji State, currently in the CHA but 18-6-2 and pushing for a #1 seed.

Dangermen. This is the polar opposite of top-heavy Ferris State: UNO's top scorer, defenseman Eddie Del Grosso, has a meh 22 points but the Mav's #9 scorer has seventeen, with two more guys cracking double digits. UNO has seven players with at least seven goals. They get scoring from all over.

If there's a guy to watch out for it's Jeric Agosta, who has 14-7-21 and just one power play goal. Linemate John Kemp has 4-17-21 and will be his setup guy. Kemp missed five games earlier this season, so his boxcar numbers are more impressive than they appear.

During UNO's recent hot streak they've found their offense, pouring in over 4.5 goals per game. This has gotten them to 2.84 per game for the year, 34th nationally. Before the hot streak, then, it was dire. Michigan is currently 24th in scoring.

Defense and goalie and whatnot. This number will look familiar: UNO is allowing 2.84 goals per game (32nd nationally). They are dead even on goal differential this year. (Michigan is currently fifth nationally at 2.23 per.)

Here Michigan finally meets a decent opponent with goalie issues equal to or worse than their own. Hogan's up to 48th in save percentage while the Mav platoon sits 52nd and 72nd (of 74!). Sophomore John Faulkner—#52—has gotten most of the work and will probably see both starts against Michigan.

Special teams. Your power plays per game stat:

  UNO   Michigan
PP For / G 4.9 5.8
PP Ag / G 5.0 5.5

UNO takes and draws considerably fewer power plays than Michigan and is a bit short on PP opportunities this year; Michigan can expect maybe one extra power play over the weekend.

UNO sits in the middle of the pack here, too: 18.5% on the power play is 28th nationally and a bit worse than that when you account for the five shorties. Michigan is slightly better at 19.4. On the penalty kill, UNO is 21st at 83.2; Michigan is still in the top five despite the disaster in the dying minutes against Wisconsin.

Michigan Vs Those Guys

Maybe Caporusso? Caporusso scored a softie against Bowling Green and then added a close-in roof job when left totally unmolested in the slot. When left wide open he has soft hands, and when he's going up against weak defensemen his less than dirty dangles work fairly well. Against a mediocre defensive team with an iffy goalie, he could continue his return to the scoresheet.

Get it out. Michigan really struggled with a simple Bowling Green forecheck on Tuesday and they'll get hammered by a deep forward corps if they don't do better.

See what happens. Goalie is bad, throw rubber at him and watch it sail by or for fat rebounds to pop out. Reduced fancy stuff for most.

The Big Picture

The blown opportunities against Ferris State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State—though that last was not their fault—mean Michigan is on its eighth life. Michigan's 0.5253 RPI is 19th nationally and has to climb into the high .53s if they're going to get a shot. If they win five of six left they'll be at .5360 and probably on the right side of the bubble. If they win four, they might have a shot if they make the CCHA final and lose. Any worse than that and it's conference tourney or bust.

There is some good news. A quick glance at Michigan's PWR comparisons shows that Yale, Union, North Dakota, New Hampshire, UMD, Ferris State, Cornell, Bemidji State, Colorado College, Denver, and even Michigan State(!) can all be caught if Michigan passes them in RPI. There is zero chance that happens with some of them but if Michigan finishes on a tear the COP and TUC categories aren't going to submarine them.

Still: a sweep is imperative. The margin for error is gone, and splitting with UNO could put them and Michigan's hypothetically meh record against them into consideration.



February 12th, 2010 at 1:18 PM ^

Sometimes I dream of their existence. (Outside of the tournament.)


JamieMac would be disgusted with / proud of my substantial last minute bet on bball to win straight up last night.


February 12th, 2010 at 2:22 PM ^

So we know what Michigan needs to do to ensure they get into the tourney. Question is, are there any teams out there that can really help us out by losing a lot these past few weeks?