Sunday, January 08, 2006

UAF 4, Michigan 2

First off, anything good that was said about Cook or Pochmara last night should be taken away tonight.

Tim Cook should not be playing hockey at Michigan. It's that simple. The kid is just terrible, and if Montville or Dunlap isn't good enough to get on the ice then we should be rotating 5 defensemen out there. I wrote last night that he was directly responsible for the first two goals. Having seen the replay today I'll back off a little bit from that, but he still played a role in both of them. On the first, he chased his man all the way out to the point (why, when you have forwards out there???). That left the front of the net wide open for the goal. Without knowing the system we run, it's possible that Cogliano should have rotated down, but it's hard to say. I still highly doubt it was the plan for our left dman to be out by the right point. On the second goal, Dest whiffs on a clearing attempt and takes himself out of position. Cook gets caught in no-man's land between picking up Dest's man (though Fardig was kind of there) and covering his own man in the slot. Instead he does neither, the pass gets across and it's in the net. I've always been told that in a 2 on 1, the defenseman should take away the pass, and leave the shooter to the goalie. Cook screwed up by letting the pass get across, but Dest needs to not whiff like that. They can share blame for that one.

And Pochmara just doesn't have a clue. I thought he called a good game last night, but he was brutal tonight. Everytime someone fell down, it's a penalty. To be fair, a lot of the calls went in our favor, but I can't believe how many times he fell for that diving crap that UAF pulls. I thought Gordon Bombay was coaching that team: "Take the fall! Act hurt!" The best was when Michigan was breaking out on a 2 on 1, the UAF player laid down like he was dead, Pochmara blew the play and the kid got up and skated off. That's just embarrasing. And he fell for it every time.

That being said, the guy only gave us about 6 power plays in the third period that we couldn't convert on. When they were just passing it around and not taking shots, they were shooting it right into the defensemen. UAF's PK was awesome tonight. They put a lot of pressure on the points, the backdoor play was open, but Cogliano whiffed at least 3 times and Kolarik missed a couple as well.

Once again, Bill Sauer couldn't be faulted on any of those 4 goals. I don't think I'm being overly biased since I like the kid. The defense just let him down once again. The first goal, for whatever reason Cook decided to go out past the circle on the PK leaving the front of the net wide open for a guy to walk in. The second goal he left his man open again. The third goal was a cross that was a slam dunk and the 4th he got bowled over. Can't fault the kid. Hunwick got beat to the outside a couple more times tonight...ugh. He was pretty brutal. As were our faceoffs. The stat was that we got beat 60%-40% which is an extremely large difference, but I thought it was worse than that.

That's about all for tonight. That was just 2 1/2 hours of not having fun. Blech. Cogliano was the only one that really cared last night it seemed. Everyone else (HENSICK!) was at half-speed.

And Cook sucks.


Colin said...

Wow. Yeah, basically. Our face-offs have been a problem the entire year and it's really hard to maintain pressure if their goalie covers and then they win the face-off. Everyone was half-assing it. Red tried using Ebbett Kal and Bailey (?) against their top line after the first period I think and that was more effective. I think Ebbett and Miller went out and played hard and Fardig despite his injury did as well. Aside from that...ew. Definitely reminded me of the Northern Michigan game last year.

Packer487 said...

The sad thing is that it's not just this season our faceoffs have been bad. That was (IMO) the main reason we lost to BC in the tourney a couple years back...Faceoffs were the reason why I was so bummed when Bryan Lerg decommitted. Kid's a pretty darn good faceoff guy. Would've really come in handy. That's one area Cogliano really needs to improve. He's been bad this year. Swystun was 0-6 last night. Ugh.

Check out the blocked shots last night. 28 for UAF, 10 for Michigan. Pretty obvious why we lost that game....

Colin said...

Face-offs are seriously important. They determine possession immediately after the break in play. They usually take place past the respective blue lines, so a won face off in the offensive zone is worth shots. So every face-off won is probably worth a fraction of a goal. Obviously they are contingent on everything else that happens, but they obviously represent an opportunity gained in the offensive zone and an opportunity taken from the opposition in the defensive.

I'd like to see stats between the relation of shots taken to face-offs won. Usually, we out-shoot teams (we did last night, miraculously...but after the first period it was too late anyway), but I wonder to what degree we could improve if we improved our face-offs.

Oh and Cook. I don't usually see what happens in terms of the overall play, but whenever he's near the puck and has to make a play, it's almost horrifying. It doesn't seem like he cares. Or perhaps he's just lost. Whatever the case, you're right that he is a serious liability.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Cook not caring is really accurate. Spath said about a month ago on Rivals that Cook knows he's not up to the others and is trying to improve. I think in the end it's just confidence and he really lacks it. Just before the GLI Cook said in an article how it would be different playing with one of the walk-ons instead of Dest because Dest "usually saves my butt a few times a game." Yeah, I was REAL excited about hearing that one. While it's good to see him face up to the fact, it would be nice to lose that mindset and do something about it rather than just continuing to let it happen. I also think he needs to go on the Matt Hunwick offseason training program and put on about 30 pounds of muscle.

Colin said...

When you play physical games, I think you have to get physical to get into it. He always shies away. If he would get an aggressive hitting penalty (charging, boarding, etc.) I could deal with it, but he just won't use his frame. He needs to try to bring something to the table rather than try not to fuck up. He has mindset issues.

As for the weight, yeah. He's huge but you can see why he isn't a strong skater. His legs comparatively aren't even close in terms of bigitude. That's right. Bigitude. But even still, he needs to take a first step and change his mental approach.

Anonymous said...

Saturday night UAF was the best shot-blocking team I've seen this year, including Wisconsin. Just unreal how many times they timed it perfectly. You could tell it was getting in UM's heads, since they started trying to shoot high everytime and ended up missing the net high. I think we thought that game was going to be easy after Friday night, which is always a hazard with a young team.

Colin said...

I dn, I think we always have problems with getting our shots blocked (and not blocking enough of our own). I haven't seen any stats. Hell, I didn't even know they had those stats, but it's seemed to me that we take an awful lot of ill-timed shots.

Packer487 said...

I actually think that U of M has been pretty darn good blocking shots this year. They were a little off this weekend (I think they only had 10 Saturday night) but they've been very good overall IMO, particularly Mitera.

UAF did remind me of that playoff series against UNO a couple years back when we almost lost. They blocked EVERYTHING.

As for Cook...I guess it doesn't really matter. If Johnson and Hunwick do come back as Spath and tbarr were indicating is sounding more likely, he ain't playing next year--even if they do move Rohlfs back to forward. There's no way that kid sees the ice if we're 7-8 deep on the blueline.

Colin, the best example I can think of of Cook shying away from physical contact came in the Minnesota game, and I wish I had a video of it. This kid on the Gophers is skating through the middle of the ice at the top of the circle with his head down. Cook has him absolutely lined up. Could have put him into next week. And he lightly shoved him. Didn't even fully extend his arms. It was pathetic.

I miss Reilly Olson.