Michigan Hockey Rooting Guide: Week 23

Submitted by NastyIsland on March 1st, 2018 at 8:00 AM

WHAT? [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Corsi Table

 

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Michigan

58(24)

69(23)

38(14)

52(30)

Wisconsin

45(15)

53(22)

56(18)

34(15)

Michigan has a 1-2-1 record against Wisconsin this year. They’ve dominated a couple of games that they lost due to trailing on the scoreboard and Wisconsin sitting back (Games 1 and 4). They also gave away a point in Game 2 with a goal in the final minute of regulation. Michigan won Game 3 thanks to great (!!) special teams play. So, what does that mean? Well…

Wisconsin Preview

 

PWR

Corsi

PP%

PK%

Players Drafted

Skaters >.75 PPG

GAA

Save%

Michigan

10th

18th

15%

76%

7

2: Marody, Calderone

2.61 (Lavigne)

.912 (Lavigne)

Wisconsin

24th

12th

18%

81%

7

2: Wagner, Frederic

2.89 (Berry); 2.97 (Hayton)

.903 (Berry); .894 (Hayton)

During their first series, Michigan was in the midst of their defensive crisis. They also were rotating goalies. Both of those issues seem to have mostly been sorted out. In their last meeting, Hayden Lavigne had his worst game of 2018, though.

Everything about these teams seems to be relatively even. Michigan's overall offense and defense are statistically slightly better than Wisconsin's. Wisconsin’s Corsi and special teams play are slightly better than Michigan’s. I would give Michigan an edge in net, though, especially since there seems to have been a sharp uptick in quality of play in the second half of the season for Hayden Lavigne; he has a .915 save % since January 5th.

[After THE JUMP: how to beat Wisconsin, a look at the rest of the conference tourney, and ways Michigan can stay in (or get bumped from) the big tourament]

Things Michigan Needs to Do Against Wisconsin:

1. Stay Out of the Box. That is Michigan’s best penalty kill, and it's not close.

2. Win the Goaltending Battle. Neither of Wisconsin’s goalies have been very good. However, in the last meeting, Kyle Hayton had one of his best games of the season (30 saves on 32 shots). Michigan created tons of chances but could not get many behind Hayton. On the other end, Lavigne had his worst game and was pulled in the 2nd after his third soft goal. Wisconsin’s best chance to win this game is to have a game-saving performance in net.

3. Control Trent Frederic. The first-round pick is Wisconsin’s best overall player and leading goal-scorer. He’s also sustained a shooting percentage slightly above 15% this year. I would expect to see Michigan have Cecconi and Hughes on the ice whenever the Frederic line is skating. If Michigan can contain Wisconsin’s top scoring line, they should be able to get a couple of wins this weekend.

Final Thoughts: I don’t know, man. I went back and forth, debating between whom I’d rather see M play: Wisconsin or Penn State. Penn State is very all-or-nothing, whereas Wisconsin is good, not great at most things. I guess expect Michigan to win this series, but mostly because it is in Ann Arbor. This is why it was important to lock up that top-four seed. Both teams are relatively equal statistically, but Michigan has been better lately. The Badgers only win in February came on Hayden Lavigne Meltdown Night. We’ll see who can do a better job of exploiting their opponent’s biggest weakness: Michigan’s special teams or Wisconsin’s goaltending.

Big Ten Tournament Bracket

BTT

[www.bigten.org]

(Note: the home teams host each series and the teams are re-seeded after every round)

(7) Michigan State at (2) Ohio State(BTN+): Definitely rooting for Michigan State. The Spartans actually got a win in Columbus in early February. While passing the Buckeyes in PWR is probably not going to happen, Michigan could host a semi-final if Ohio State lays a couple of eggs this weekend. I think that OSU is the best team Michigan has played this year and is probably the worst matchup Michigan could receive.

(5) Minnesota at (4) Penn State (BTN2GO): I think it's best to root for the Nittany Lions, though if everything turns up Michigan, it might be more desirable to play Minnesota in the semis. Michigan can pass the Gophers in PWR if Michigan and Penn State win their respective series. Odds are Michigan won’t see either of these teams until a hypothetical tournament final, though. Minnesota losing ends their non-NCAA-Tournament season and guarantees that Michigan will finish above them. The only caveat is if Michigan loses their series, it might be better for Minnesota to win theirs…but then Michigan is probably 14th or 15th…and now we’re getting into the next section.

Ah, We’re Finally in the Tournament Now, Right? Welllllllll…Not Quite.

PWR

[www.collegehockeynews.com]

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about what is safe.

List of PWR Teams Relevant to Michigan:

7. Clarkson: Conference Tournament Bye. Michigan isn’t passing them, regardless of outcomes.

8. Minn-Duluth (nchc.tv): The Bulldogs host Omaha. If Michigan wins their series, they could pass Duluth if they lose theirs. However, if Michigan loses theirs, Omaha could pass them with a sweep of Duluth.

9. Minnesota: We covered the Gophers above. We want them to have the opposite results of Michigan.

10. Michigan: Kinda like last week. Go to Yost. Cheer for Michigan.

11. Northeastern: Conference Tournament Bye. They could pass Michigan if the Wolverines lose their series.

12. Providence: Conference Tournament Bye. Same as Northeastern.

13. Penn State: Also covered above. We want them to have the same result as Michigan.

14. North Dakota (nchc.tv): The Fighting Sioux Fighting Hawks host the top-ranked Huskies of St Cloud State. Michigan won’t get anywhere near St Cloud, so there’s no harm in them sweeping North Dakota. Plus, that would push NoDak to the brink of their NCAA lives. That’s always enjoyable.

15. Nebraska-Omaha: Once again, this series has already been covered, since it is Play Someone Really Close to You in PWR Weekend. They can pass Michigan if they get a positive result at all and Michigan loses their series.

*Most outcomes are going to be dependent upon Michigan winning their series. Passing teams is probably only relevant if they sweep.

**Since Team Near Michigan is playing against Different Team Near Michigan or is on a Bye, everything is very muddled and must be re-assessed after Friday’s results. Follow me on Twitter (@NastyIsland) and I will tweet out preferred results for Saturday late Friday night.

***If Michigan wins their series but loses a game, they’ll be right around where they are now, give or take a spot.

****If things go perfectly, they’ll be 8th. If things go the way of ennui, they’ll be 15th.

Comments

drjaws

March 1st, 2018 at 8:40 AM ^

tomorrow night thanks to a dear friend.

 

Go Blue.  Beat Wiscy.

 

Also, a point M needs to focus on (besides the three you listed) is to put a body on a body.  Far too many times this year I have seen poor back checking from forwards at times this year (getting back but not marking your man and staying with him) as well as the defensemen losing their man in and around the net (puck watching instead of person watching).

They have been better lately (this + better goaltending = wins) but this is a big series for this young team.  Win, get confidence, make the tourney, and see if we can sneak up on anyone and get to the Frozen Four a la Bemidji St in 2009.

casmooth

March 1st, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

This week is Spring Break so tickets are still available for the game.  I'm hoping we still have some students (Children of Yost) who will make Yost an intimidating place to play. 

 

Go Blue! 

stephenrjking

March 1st, 2018 at 12:52 PM ^

A strange new world where a three-game playoff series is a genuine tossup and not just a glorified exhibition. 

Michigan has struggled, often flukily, with Wisconsin this year (the first game, a blowout loss, was bizarre, Michigan outplaying Wisconsin for big stretches and Wisconsin scoring in response multiple times), so this really is a complete tossup. Game one is huge--win and Michigan probably stays in the tournament regardless of future results, and they're not thrown into a must-win-two situation on Saturday.