Sunday, January 21, 2007

Michigan/Alaska Weekend Wrapup

What a huge sweep for the Wolverines! I don't know how many of us would've predicted that one. A team that's got a ton of problems with putting together a weekend going all the way across the country and then some to take on a team that's good at home and coming out with 2 wins--on the big ice to boot? Didn't expect it but man is that a nice treat.

I'm still trying really hard not to get too excited. After all, we're in the stretch of games that we should be winning, and to this point we've thrown away a few points. But I would've been happy with a sweep of Northern and a split at Alaska, so we're coming out the same in terms of points.

Billy Sauer had another good weekend, and while I'm happy to ride the wave while it lasts, I'm still going into each game with the same look of trepidation that Bears fans have going into games with Rex Grossman at QB. It's great that he's playing well against the weak sisters of the poor in the CCHA, but I need to see it against a good team before I'm willing to believe this team has a shot at winning more than 1 game in the NCAA Tournament.

The TJ Hensick For Hobey train needs to be picking up steam. His first career hat trick and he's now just 4 points out of the nation's lead (but realistically, nobody from Air Force is winning the Hobey). Not to mention his excellent play in his own zone and outstanding 56% faceoff percentage (not that those will get looked at).

Andrew Cogliano is also showing that last year's Post-WJC hangover won't be repeated. He now has points in 15 of his last 16 games. He could be gearing up for a HUGE junior season if he doesn't make the leap to pro hockey.

Also, one stat that has been completely overlooked--only because it goes completely against everything the media has told us--is that Jack Johnson has only committed 11 penalties this year. 10 minors, 1 major (and 1 ten minute misconduct and 1 game misconduct in there). That's 45 PIMs total, with 20 of those coming from misconducts. Last year at this time he had 38 penalties for 106 minutes. He deserves a lot of credit for toning it down, staying on the ice, and still playing with the edge that makes him a great player. Who would've believed that he'd have an average of 1 penalty per weekend.

We now sit 1 point behind MSU for 3rd place in the CCHA with one game in hand, and 4 points behind Miami for 2nd place with 2 games in hand. Miami takes on Notre Dame this weekend in what will be a HUGE series to decide the CCHA. A Miami sweep along with a Michigan sweep of Ferris would make things really interesting!

It's nice that Sauer is playing well against the teams he should play well against. Build up some confidence before the stretch run. The next 5 games should be more confidence builders. There's absolutely NO excuse to take less than 8 points over these next 5 games, and if we're going to make a run at the CCHA title, they really need to get 10. Can't throw away more points against the Westerns of the world.

Something to keep in mind next week against Ferris that Western College Hockey pointed out, Dan Riedel--second on the team in points per game--is no longer with the team. He was a solid player for them and that's a big loss. Ferris's offensive stats really are ugly. Their leading goal scorer has 7. Their leading point man has 20 and the next highest has 13. To contrast, we've got 7 players with at least 7 goals, and 5 guys with more than 20 points. No excuse to lose to this team boys. Especially at home.

One stat that'll make you go hmm--Derek McIntyre, FSU's backup goalie, has a 4.38 GAA and a .862 save percentage...but he's 3-0-0. Mitch O'Keefe, the starter, has a 2.95 GAA and a .888 save percentage--much more respectable numbers--but he's only got 1 more win, posting a 4-15-3 record. release their mid-term prospect rankings, and Kevin Quick was listed as the #14 prospect in the organization, and the 5th best defenseman. Here's what they had to say about him:
Chad- "The future Michigan Wolverine remains a source of excitement for the Lightning organization because of his skating and all-around game. Perhaps because of this, Quick's modest 0-3-3 numbers at the high school level are viewed as somewhat underachieving thus far."

Pete- "Made an excellent decision choosing Michigan as his destination for when he makes the jump to the NCAA next year."

I like the love for U of M!


Anonymous said...

Sauer's been good against a good team (MSU) this year. Remember the 2-1 win at Yost. Also despite the score he was quite good in the GLI championship loss. He has the ability, it's just a matter of becoming consistant and he might be getting there. We just got too spoiled by fantastic freshman goaltenders, when it's normally a position that takes a lot of time to develop.

Packer487 said...

True, true.

He definitely does have the athleticism. And I hope like hell that kid proves me wrong.

I'm just not going to be fooled again. I've gotten my hopes up too many times. He made me look stupid enough times last year, so he might as well do it by standing on his head and playing great hockey, eh?