The Michigan Side:
The much-improved-over-when-I-was-in-school Daily hockey coverage has a nice article about Billy Sauer. The praise has been well-deserved thusfar. The Friday night game against BU might have been his best game in a Michigan uniform. It could've gotten pretty out of hand early on, but he held us in the game until we were finally able to get the offense going.
The weekend in review from the Daily, and the game wrapups (printer friendly version, since their website is having issues) from the Ann Arbor News.
Matt Rust had some problems with the foggy conditions inside the rink. Porter is confident that we'll win a lot of hockey games if we start playing 60 minutes rather than 40.
Evidently Michigan will be heading out to Boston to play single games against BU in 2008 and 2010. Obviously there will be another game each of those weekends--probably one against BC to repay them for coming out a couple years ago--and they'll have plenty of schools to pick from in the Boston area. I love seeing us schedule teams like that. They're always fun games when we square off against the Boston schools.
Red wasn't thrilled about being ranked #3, I'm sure he feels the same way now that we're #2 in one poll.
Mark Mitera won CCHA Defenseman of the Week. I'm kind of surprised that it's the first time that he's been honored in that way. I guess I shouldn't be, given the other defensemen we've had, but it's a well-deserved honor.
Red Berenson's press conference ($ link) revealed that Bryan Hogan is ready to come back to practice after a bout with mono. He's still going to be awhile, as he hasn't really been on the ice with this team, and I expect he's lost some weight and his stamina isn't nearly what it was. But it's nice to hear that he's allowed to practice again. Thankfully Sauer has been solid thusfar and we haven't desperately needed Hogan.
Maize n Brew chimed in with some comments on the game (#8 on his list). He pretty much hits the nail on the head when he writes, "Michigan's never been short on stars, but over the last few years has been a bit short on depth. This year it's the opposite. Personally, I like the make up of the team. I saw a team that's willing to outwork its opponents, and that will translate into a lot of wins."
Stat Hunting: In looking at the stats through 6 games, there are a few things that are interesting:
-All of our freshmen forwards have now tallied their first goal, with Pacioretty and Palushaj scoring last weekend.
-Four of our top six point getters are freshmen--Pacioretty is absent from that list, but he'll be there soon.
-Brian Lebler, Tristin Llewellyn and Chris Summers (!) are the only players on the team who have played and not yet tallied a point.
-The rotation of players at the bottom-end of the roster has been pretty equal. Naurato and Lebler have each gotten into three games, while Llewellyn, Vaughan, and Quick have all played four games. Red Berenson has said that this rotation will continue, but I'd expect Quick to earn a permanent spot in the lineup at some point in the near future. He's going to be the best of the freshmen defenders.
-Our top line is firing away. Porter, Pacioretty, and Kolarik have combined for 70 of our 188 shots on goal through six games, and they rank 1-2-3 (in that order) in shots.
-Five different players have our five game-winning goals. Strangely enough, they're the top five players on our roster in points.
-The special teams are looking very solid. After taking a couple games to get going, the power play is converting at a 20.6% clip, while the PK is killing off 86.7% of opponent power plays.
-Billy Sauer has a very nice 2.49 goals against average.
-We've scored 24 goals. Half have come in the third period. We've allowed 15 goals, nine have come in the third period. Pretty obvious which period you don't want to miss!
-As expected, Rust and Caporusso are our best main faceoff guys. Kolarik and Pacioretty have also been excellent. Porter is fine at just under 50% and Fardig's percentage has gone up ten points from last year, thusfar.
The Opponent's View:
This quote comes from the Daily, but BU Coach Jack Parker said that Saturday's game should've been 8-1 or 10-1.
CSTV's blog from the game has a great quote from Coach Parker about what an impact Billy Sauer had in Friday Night's win:
"We had 51 attempts and hit 27 [on goal] in the first two periods, and we were down 2-0" BU head coach Jack Parker said. "That was tough. When we don't get the 5-on-3 goal [late in the second period], it jacked them up, too at the end of the third period."
Jack Parker was very complimentary of the Michigan freshmen in the BU student newspaper.
"I didn't know how good their freshmen were," Parker said of the Michigan defense. "When you play four freshmen defensemen, usually you can forecheck a team like that. We forechecked them pretty good [Friday] and got chances and got shots and looked like a pretty good hockey team and exposed their defense a little bit.
"[Saturday] we didn't have a chance because they were in our zone all night," he added. "They were storming us. They got the puck so fast and got out, we never even got near them. It was like two different speeds, they were fast and we were dead slow."
But as much I would like it if the Wolverines were undefeated as the writer indicated twice in that article, we're not. Even though that loss felt like a win.
CSTV had a writer roundtable, which included Antoine Pitts. The first question is about Michigan and their chances this year. Consensus: Too early to tell. I agree.
Time to put another great weekend behind us and start looking ahead to Nebraska-Omaha. MavRick from the MavPuck website was kind enough to answer some questions about the UNO team, and I'll have that for you guys on Thursday. Let's keep this freight train rolling.