A Crucial 6 points is on the line tomorrow for Michigan in the CCHA

Submitted by WingsNWolverines on November 14th, 2012 at 3:08 PM
After a slightly disappointing weekend last week against MSU the Wolverines will face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish tomorrow night who come into Yost with a 3-1-0 record in conference play and are currently ranked 8th in the USCHO polls. Overall the Irish are 6-3-0. They are lead by a strong offensive scoring line of mainly juniors along with their junior goaltender Steven Summerhayes. The Wolverines must have their goalie situation figured out if we are to sweep ND at Yost which to be honest after seeing how many goals were let in last Saturday I'm very worried about. I say Red should play Janecyk if he's good to go. Im not found of the idea of two freshman goaltenders rotating in and out vs a team like ND. These are 6 points we need. I understand we are not the same team as we were last year as we have lost some big names. But if we don't start getting back to back wins starting this weekend we could be in for a very ugly season. We have too many weapons to have a losing season.

Comments

Trauber19

November 14th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

I think Rutledge got completely left out to dry on at least 5 of the 7 goals he let in on Saturday.

Both Racine and Rutledge are solid goaltenders, but IMO neither one has the capability to steal a game if the whole team doesn't show up...at least not yet. The days of Hunwick standing on his head and bailing out the team are gone...time to get this squad clicking and firing on all cylinders at the same time.

rosedani

November 14th, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

Shawn Hunwick isnt walking through that door but I think we will be fine going forward. Our offense is talented enough to keep us in any game and if Red can rededicate this team to defense we will be well on our way to a 23rd straight NCAA apperance.

 

Also remember our D corps has been very thin between injuries (Merrill and Serville) and suspensions (Trouba) causing us to resort to Mike Szuma and Jeff Rohrkemper as fifth and sixth defensemen. 

justingoblue

November 14th, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

With Merrill coming back (what is it, another four weeks?), Serville coming back soon and Trouba improving his decision making even a bit and these goalies are going to look a lot better by virtue of having a very, very good defense.

This is an important series, but I don't think it spells doom no matter what the outcome is; there is still a ton of hockey left to be played.

lhglrkwg

November 14th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

but it wouldn't be Michigan hockey without fretting about making the tournament for part of the year. Ever since we went #1 pretty much the whole way, there's been points where we needed to pull something out of our butts to win and we did.

Being bombed by State certainly puts a wet blanket on that though. We need to play in front of Rutledge and Racine like we played in front of Hunwick when he lead us to the 08 CCHA title

JustGoBlue

November 14th, 2012 at 5:24 PM ^

Everybody except Merrill was back for the 7-2 loss to Michigan State.  7-2.  Michigan State had 21 goals in 9 games before that, averaging 2.33 goals/game.  Michigan's defense gives up an average of 3.56 goals/game.  Merrill's very, very good, but I don't think he's THAT good.  It's also not all on the goalies (anymore), they've started settling in and while neither of them are Hunwick, they're both decent. One of them will start, if Janecyk was better, he would have started at least once by now.  The D on this team (as a team, not just the defensemen) is not good right now.  Sure, they're scoring 4.22 goals/game, which is great.  Except for when they give up 4, 5, 6, 7 goals each game, which is becoming the norm. 

On the good news side of the spectrum, the 7-2 clunker was Michigan's only loss by more than one goal this season.

But Notre Dame has the best team defense in the league by a pretty fair amount (1.78 GAA).  They gave up 3 goals to BC in Boston on Saturday and that's their high on the season, matched by WMU 2 weeks ago.  They're scoring 2.67 goals/game, which is OK, better than State's 2.33 before Saturday, worse than State's 2.8 now.  Michigan's scored less than 4 goals 3 times (all losses), to Miami, NMU and State all on Saturday, as well as scoring 4 in an OT loss to RPI and 4 in the tie with NMU.  In all of Michigan's wins, the opponents have been held to 3 goals or less.

  I don't expect those trends to continue this weekend.  Michigan's going to need to play some D to get points this weekend, not just rely on scoring at will, because it's probably not going to happen against the Irish. 

For what it's worth, I think the problems on D are exacerbated by the goalie struggles early in the year. The team has/had no confidence in the goalies and ran around trying to do too much, leaving the opponents too many open shots and taking too many penalties.  With more confidence and Merrill back, I could see Michigan dropping to about a 2.5ish GAA, but that needs to happen sooner rather than later.  This team comes out way too flat, way too often, when theyr'e on, they're incredible, but they've also given up 4 goals in a period.  Multiple times.  9 games into the season. 

I think (yet another) ream-out by Red will carry the team to a win on Thursday, but I think they come out flat again enroute to a Friday loss. 3-2 3-5 

HipsterCat

November 14th, 2012 at 9:27 PM ^

getting merril back adds an excellent defender back to the defense, along with a pretty good offensive threat not that we really need more offense, but it allows others guys to shift back down to lower pairings which raises the overall quality depth of the defense.  

JustGoBlue

November 14th, 2012 at 10:52 PM ^

the impact Merrill will likely have.  But I doubt his return is going to decrease the 3.56 GAA by the 1+ it needs to approach respectability.  He'll help, but that's far from the only problem; it's not like he's a miracle fix that's going to all of a sudden make Michigan's defense impregnable.  Did I mention that Michigan is allowing 3.56 goals/game?

Sac Fly

November 14th, 2012 at 9:36 PM ^

Last season Notre Dame didn't get much scoring unless it was from a center, on the rush. This season it's much more balanced. The scary part about Notre Dame is that Summerhays is tearing it up. Johnson was streaky last season, Summerhays is 8th in GAA and 13th in SV%.

Canadian

November 15th, 2012 at 12:55 AM ^

i am from the wundsir area but had to move so whrn i was checking my hometwon paper i found this articke and thought id pas it along... i personally love the college game more and if ever someone i knew was being recruited by michigan or hell any team in the ncaa id push for them to go that route ahead of the chl. even though i didnt take school seriously it should be and if its free because you are good at a sport why not go?

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/11/08/westgarth-ncaa-chl-piece-from-d…

 

pullin4blue

November 15th, 2012 at 9:58 AM ^

Thatcher, the USA U-18 goalie played ND to an overtime tie and although he eventually lost in a shootout, held ND scoreless through 2 1/2 periods. Outstanding young goalie and should be on Red's radar. He also beat University of MInnesota and was named the outstanding player for the four nations tournament that just won against the U-18's from Sweden, Switzerland and Finland.