Michigan Hockey Rooting Guide: Week 24

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

Cutler Martin has never shied away from crushing Buckeyes [Bill Rapai]

Corsi Table

 

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Michigan

57(17)

53(19)

43

55

Ohio State

69(25)

57(21)

23

31

Hmmmm. What can we extract from all of this? Michigan is 0-4 against the Buckeyes this season. During the first couple of games, Michigan was in the midst of its defensive crater. As you can see, in the second series in Columbus, Michigan had a much better possession rate. In Game 3, they gave up two power play goals (surprise!) and at least one odd-man-rush goal. The final game was pretty even, but Lavigne had a woofer or two. Also, Michigan has scored on Sean Romeo six times in four games. Eeeeeeck. So, where are we now?

Ohio State Preview

 

PWR

Corsi

PP%

PK%

Players Drafted

Skaters >.75 PPG

GAA

Save%

Michigan

7th

23rd

18%

76%

8

3: Marody, Calderone, Hughes

2.78 (Lavigne)

.910 (Lavigne)

Ohio State

4th

16th

24%

91%

3

4: Jobst, Laczynski, Weis, Joshua

2.08 (Romeo)

.925 (Romeo)

Ohio State is really good. They do not give up goals; they’re 4th overall in goals/game. To pair with that, they’re 11th in scoring goals (Michigan is 7th!). So, they put pucks into the net, they keep pucks out of the net, they convert on the power play, and they do not surrender goals on the penalty kill. Also, Sean Romeo is Cale Morris Lite. What is this, football?

So, what is there to do? I don’t know, man. It’s encouraging that Michigan was able to control play in the last couple of games down there. They’re going to need to play their best, most well-rounded game of the year. Also, as much as I disagree with the single-game semi-final format, hooray that Michigan doesn’t have to beat them twice!

[After THE JUMP: qualifying Michigan's most well-rounded game of the year and a look at PWR and relevant teams around the country]

Things Michigan Needs to Do Against Ohio State:

1. Stay Out of the Box. I mean, this is a given at this point, right? OSU has a top-8 power play and the number one penalty kill in the country…because of course they do.

2. Don’t Get Caught. Oh hey, another surprise! If Michigan wins on Saturday night, it’s most likely going to be a low-scoring affair. One of the best ways to give away goals is to get OMR’d to death. Michigan gave away a couple of these in Columbus last time, and it cost them dearly. Aside from Quinn Hughes, Michigan’s defensemen should be more cautious than aggressive.

3. Pack the Crease. Michigan got skaters and pucks near the crease against Cale Morris a few weeks ago, and he let a few get behind him. The Wolverines probably aren’t going to beat Romeo from distance unless he cannot see the puck. Dancs, Becker, and Winborg need post up right in front of the crease and hope to get lucky on deflections or rebounds.

Final Thoughts: You want to win in the NCAA Tournament? Saturday night will give you a good taste of the kind of games that Michigan will need to win in order to do that. The Buckeyes are as good as any team in the country, but Michigan is peaking at the right time. Hopefully, Hayden Lavigne channels his inner Zach Nagelvoort and hangs a donut like the fourth game of the series in Columbus last season. Ohio State is not good but great at almost every aspect of the game. The Wolverines will need their best performance of the year in order to overcome the Buckeyes in Columbus. It has to happen some time in some thing…right?

Big Ten Tournament Bracket

B1G

[www.bigten.org]

(4) Penn State at (1) Notre Dame (ESPNU): Michigan is in the NCAA Tournament barring the absolute, hyper-specific perfect storm. While Michigan showed what they can do in South Bend, I prefer Yost! However, if Penn State beats the Irish and Michigan loses to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions will slide by the Wolverines in PWR. It’s a good thing that Michigan plays befo…oh. They play the late game. Well, then. If you have confidence in Michigan knocking off Ohio State, cheer for those Nittany Lions. If you’re the play-it-safe type, you’re for the Irish. Ideally, Michigan and Penn State have the same outcome…with Michigan winning, of course.

YES, We’re Finally in the Tournament (Except for the Miniscule One-Quintillionth)

PWR

 [www.collegehockeynews.com]

I wrote a few weeks ago about what is safe.

Michigan is at their ceiling. The gap between Michigan (7) and Denver (6) is the same as it is between Michigan and Boston College (17). If Michigan wins in Columbus AND South Bend next weekend AND Denver or Minnesota State bombs out of their tournament this weekend, could the Wolverines move up a spot? I…guess? Maybe? Probably not. I don’t think so. So, it’s win to stay where you are and not let a bunch of teams potentially steal your #2 Seed! The good news is that if Michigan keeps winning, they probably hold it. If not…let’s look at who we should cheer against!

 

List of PWR Teams Relevant to Michigan:

7. Michigan: Carpool with me to Columbus and cheer for Michigan!

8. Clarkson (here?): The Golden Knights host the Fighting Toothpastes! Colgate2 lost to Clarkson at home but did manage a tie in Potsdam, NY. One positive tooth-cleaning will keep the Golden Knights behind Michigan even if they win the series.

9. Minnesota-Duluth (nchc.tv): The Bulldogs host the Broncos of Western Michigan. Last time these teams met a couple of weeks ago, Duluth won by an aggregate of 14-1. And that was in Kalamazoo. Western needs to win some games if they’re going to crash the NCAAs. Knocking off the Bulldogs would help them and would give Michigan a softer cushion to fall upon.

10. Northeastern (hockeyeastonline.tv): The Huskies host the Minutemen. If they drop a game but win two, they cannot pass Michigan, regardless of a Wolverine loss. UMass did go 1-1 against Northeastern, this year, but that win was at home. Guess where this series will be played? Sad smile

11. Penn State (ESPNU): Covered above. At Notre Dame. Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya, Punk?

12. Providence (hockeyeastonline.tv): The Friars welcome the Maine Black Bears to Rhode Island for the weekend. They’ll need to sweep Maine in order to pass Michigan in PWR.

13. Minnesota: Probably in the Tournament? Their say is over, though.

14. Nebraska-Omaha (nchc.tv): Skip-Bo UNO visits The Ralph, home of the Fighting Sioux Fighting Hawks. The Mavericks aren’t passing Michigan this weekend, regardless of outcomes. A series win would knock the Fighting Sioux Fighting Hawks out of contention for the Tournament, though. Devil Take your #4 Seed hosting and shove it!

15. North Dakota: You literally just read about this game. You’ll have to wait until next week for more jokes.

*If Michigan wins, no one is passing them this weekend. So all other concerns are based upon a Michigan loss.

**What is safe? Northern Michigan has dropped out and Penn State has entered the Top 15, making it only one WCHA team that would not be a bid-stealer. So, 2 HE, 2 ECAC, 1 WCHA, 0 Atlantic.

Comments

Hold This L

March 8th, 2018 at 10:22 AM ^

remind me of the Bruins. They don't have the talent to match their record or performance, but they all buy in. They all play hard every second they're on the ice. They want to win more than you do. When you match their intensity, you win. Easier said than done. Nebraska basketball was the same way this year.

S5R48S10

March 8th, 2018 at 10:27 AM ^

Well dammit, I wanted to go to the game.  But now this whole "we're playing our best hockey of the year, but its probably still not good enough" evaluation is really pumping the brakes on my enthusiasm.  

 

I'll probably still attend because, as any UM fan in Columbus, I am a glutton for punishment.  

NastyIsland

March 8th, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

Haha, its sports. Michigan can still win this game because things happen and pucks will or won't go into the net. Unfortunately, though, I do think that Ohio State is a very, very good team and checks a ton of boxes in the numbers department. Hopefully, Michigan is able to finish their chances and make it to next weekend! I should be in the press box...hopefully

Cville Blue

March 8th, 2018 at 10:27 AM ^

The game is at Nationwide which is home to the Blue Jackets.  From what I can tell they are only selling tickets for 14 or 15 of the lower bowl sections.  Of those, 1/2 to 2/3s of the tickets are sold.  This is a great opportunity to make a big maize and blue showing in Columbus.

We'll be in section 102 row 3.

kevin holt

March 8th, 2018 at 2:59 PM ^

I realize it's good for us in this particular scenario, but it's ludicrous that they're not 3-game series through the tournament. If the semis and finals are one game, then it should be the same weekend. There's no real reason they can't do 3 games for at LEAST the semis, and if we were in OSU's shoes and lost I would be pretty mad. I mean why even do 3 games for the first weekend?

stephenrjking

March 8th, 2018 at 4:16 PM ^

I'm a banner-watcher, and North Dakota missing the tournament is always good. No reason to give them nearly home-ice in the tourney and an easy shot at the Frozen Four. 

We'll have to have someone else take care of Denver in the meantime. 

UMD is red-hot and they are a team that Michigan doesn't want to face in the tournament. There's usually not a huge difference between a 2 and a 3 seed, but in this case the 2 seeds include Denver and UMD, both of which are extremely dangerous. Michigan staying at 8 or above (and facing someone like Northeastern or Clarkson) would be gigantic.